Thursday, June 23, 2005

family drama...

it's 9 p.m. eastern standard time and i'm thoroughly engrossed in one of the books i had just picked up from the used book store earlier in the day. $1.35 had brought me a one way ticket to 19th century texas where i was now sitting quietly in the corner of a smoky saloon, watching a dashing dark-haired saloon owner nurse a glass of whiskey as he tried to convince himself he wasn't in love with the pretty and prim hat-maker next door. right when he was about to experience the epiphanic moment all heroes experience in romance novels, his thoughts and my observation are interrupted by a 21st century phone ring.

i glance up from the book, reluctant to answer it. damnit. it always happens right before the good parts. i'm either interrupted right as the heroine is about to become ravaged by her arduous lover, or when the hero realizes with a start that he's in love with the heroine. sighing, i glance to see what page i'm on before dropping the book to the floor.

the phone rings one more time before i get to it. caller id tells me it's my brother aswad. i glance at the clock again to make sure it's actually a decent time of the evening for him to be calling me, as the three hour time difference means i'm usually getting a phone call from him a little after midnight. him calling me this early means a new mobile phone billing cycle or something's up and he's willing to pay .50 cents a minute.

i pick up the phone and answer it.

"hello?" i rarely acknowledge i know the person who's calling me in the initial greeting, as i've never been comfortable with the idea of letting someone know i know who's calling me. whenever i've done it in the past, i always end up feeling like i've just revealed the identity of batman to all of gotham city.

"wassup big sis," he says. now that he's in san diego, his voice always sounds like there's a sigh waiting to burst at the end of his sentences, like an exploding period. it's so obvious he doesn't want to be there and a part of me wishes i could be there with him.

"yo, wassup 'swad," i say, gladness in my voice at the sound of his in my ear. "what's goin' on witchu?"

"nothin'. what's goin' on witchu?"


the conversation always starts out with the same inquiry said in the same way. it's like a ritual. if it doesn't go down just like that, that's the cue that something's not right. knowing that the ritual is complete leaves me feeling relieved and i make a quick silent prayer thanking god my brother isn't calling me with bad news.

with the receiver up to my ear, i walk over to the couch and plop down on it. i can hear the wood beneath the fabric and cushion creak a little. almost time for some new furniture. "so you must have new minutes or else you wouldn't be calling me during prime time on your coast," i said.

"and you know this, man." he's still using this line despite the fact that even chris tucker abandoned it years ago.

"so how's san diego?" i ask as if i don't already know what he's gonna tell me.

"san diego has beautiful weather, beautiful scenery, and no black folk."

i roll my eyes.

"dude, did you really think you'd see black folk out in san diego?" atlanta and new york are rarities in that you can find not just one black community, but many. living in both cities had spoiled both of us as kids. we didn't think we could ever go to a place and not see a bunch of folks who looked just like us. then aswad moved to san diego and experienced a culture shock that still left him dazed and confused.

"it's not like i expected san diego to be a black mecca or anything, but i thought it at least had a 'black folk section' of town." even after being there for months, aswad was still frustrated by this bit of reality.

"go to oakland. i'm sure you'll find plenty of black folk there."

"i'm not traveling all the way to oakland just to find a black person," he replied sardonically.

"well then, either get over it or move back new york," i replied just as sardonically.

"damn, nik! cut a brotha some slack, will you?" he usually caught me in a more sympathetic mood, but i was still a little perturbed at being pulled away from my reading. i stretched out further on the sofa, my feet on top of some cushions i had pushed down with my left heel. now that i knew aswad didn't call for anything specific, i figured we were in for at least an hour of conversation about everything and nothing.

"so, how's dex?"

"dex is fine. working as usual. his quills see him more than i do. if he could fuck his quills, he'd probably never have married me."


aswad is a confirmed bachelor, so he gets a special kick out of hearing my complaints regarding my marriage. i think he's trying to justify his reasoning for remaining a bachelor.

"so what else is going on?"

"um..." he hesitated. he NEVER hesitates. what da hell is going on here?

"what's up, 'swad? you need some money or something?" i was hoping it was as simple as that. aswad never asks for money cuz i usually just send him any extra i've got.

"um..." he started again. "i'm gonna be a father."



i waited for him to continue cuz i could tell he had something else to say. aswad sighed deeply before continuing.

"and she's white."

to be continued...

this day has started off pretty damn awfully...

it started with me oversleeping. this after i actually got to bed last night before 11 p.m. i heard the alarm go off this morning, but i shut it up knowing that i always wake up about ten minutes later. well, that didn't happen today. i woke up fifteen minutes before i was supposed to be at work. so i get to work about ten minutes late.

i get in to the office and my boss tells me he wants to talk to me after i get settled. by the time we meet up, i'm tense because i know he's gonna address the late issue. well, the meeting sucked. not only does he get on my ass about being late today (when the last time i was late was over a month ago. OVER A MONTH AGO), he proceeds to talk about the fact that i didn't have some documents ready for a seminar that took place yesterday. meanwhile, i was forced to take yesterday off because i had worked on a saturday a couple of weeks ago, so i couldn't be there. the documents were still ready, nobody even bothered to look in my office next to my desk. i told him this. then he says i was supposed to be at the seminar to help out. i reminded him i COULDN'T be at the fucking seminar because HE TOLD ME i had to take off yesterday.

do you see where this is going? it was like no matter what i told him to explain the situation, he found something else to bitch about. it was like he HAD to find some way to justify the meeting and him getting in my ass. i told him he needed to sit back and rationally think about what he's mad about regarding my performance because it appeared he was pissed off more than he should have been, given what i've brought to the fucking group. he didn't say anything to that.

it's times like this when i hate my job. REALLY hate it. i have routinely gone above and beyond what's expected of me and nobody ever says shit about that. meanwhile, as soon as one miscommunication occurs, i've got to meet with my boss.

i have to keep reminding myself that they're paying for my education and that in the end, this will all be worth it. they're gonna pay for my education until i get my fucking ph.d. then i'm gonna cuss every last one of those bastards out.


Tuesday, June 21, 2005

damn. i can't drop the class after all...

turns out if i drop the class, i'm ineligible for tuition assistance next semester. DAMN DAMN DAMN DAMN.

i'm gonna have to suffer through the class for the next seven weeks. someone kill me now. PLEASE.

i've thought long and hard like a penis about this...

and i've decided to drop the american lit class. i'd rather add another class in the fall than to suffer through that woman's lecture for one more minute. hell, i'd rather gnaw on my own toe after it's been stuck up a hippo's ass than to sit in her class for another second.

although i've no doubt she would have been great material for the blog.

Friday, June 17, 2005

summer school = torture.

i'm taking both american history and american literature for the summer semester. i figure it made sense because then i could basically use the knowledge attained from american history to better understand the social aspects of the stuff in american literature.

the first day in the american history class, i'm pleasantly taken aback by the instructor. she's a petite blond, young and enthusiastic. and she told us immediately that if we were in her class to learn about the history of only dead white men, we should drop her class. i couldn't stop grinning! she hasn't disappointed, either. while school only started this week, she has already put a decidedly world view to the way in which she teaches her course. she's basically teaching it with an emphasis on how history unfolded and how it shaped the sexual, racial, and cultural drama of today. i'm friggin diggin this class.

on the other side of the coin is the fucking yawner from my american literature class. she's also a petite blond who's young. turns out she's also someone who is already addicted to the sound of her own voice. all she does is talk, talk, talk. rarely does she engage the class participants or ask us how we interpret stuff. she spends half the damn class explaining the definition of terms everyone in the class already know. this isn't a class of freshman fillies, scratching our heads trying to figure out what a metaphor is, but that didn't stop her from spending ten minutes of a three hour lecture defining the word.

for goodness sakes, the creature actually read us an elementary-level book on colonial life, complete with kiddie illustrations. i kept closing my eyes and wishing a gunman would burst into the room and shoot me. i would have wished for her to be shot, but that would mean i'd have to deal with her incessant babbling in hell (cuz we all know i ain't goin to heaven and her fucking torture of a lecture guarantees her a place right next to satan himself). it got so bad that at one point i raised my hand just so another voice could break through the cloying air of the sounds coming from her mouth. it took everything in me not to yawn loudly before grabbing my shit and bouncing, right in the middle of her droning. afterwards, all i wanted to do was take a shower and wash myself of her lecture that had leeched itself to my skin and sucked out every last drop of enthusiasm i ever had for the written word.

pray for me. she's rather small and i really could strangle her with no problem.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

what da hell is his name, anyway???

i came home yesterday to find the fulton county marshall parked right in front of my parking space. after maneuvering my car around them, i backed up slowly into the space, fretful of what they could be there for. in my experience, marshals are around to either evict or arrest. i quickly scanned my brain for any evidence of recent transgressions before deciding i was innocent of anything they'd be there for.

getting out of the car, i walk towards the entrance to my apartment building. the driver of the marshall's car rolls down his window and says "we're not here for you."

"i figured that," i said hesitantly.

"we're here for your neighbor," he went on. i noticed then he was really attractive. i thought "they don't make the brothas anywhere else like they make them here in atlanta."

"i'm just glad i'm not the one getting tossed out this time," i said, my eyes glance up at the sky, which had been gray all day. then i looked at the ground, which had been wet all day. i glanced back up at the officer and said "this is a crappy time to get evicted. it's raining."

"we called the guy to let him know we were at his apartment about to evict him, but he said he couldn't leave because he was at work." the officer shook his head in disbelief, amazed the guy could remain at work knowing when he got back his stuff would be tossed out into a heap on the sidewalk.

"well, seeing as he's just lost his apartment, he probably thought it was a good idea to keep his job." the sarcasm was threaded through my voice, but luckily the marshall took no offense to it. by the time we said our good-byes, i was headed up the stairs to my apartment. on the way up, i notice the door to the guy's apartment open and some big sweaty white guy was tossing things unceremoniously into the stairwell. i instantly started to feel even more sorry for the guy at that point. funny, in the years i've been in the apartment, i never got his name. he was there when i moved in and that was five years ago, so he'd been living there at least that long. we'd always say hello if we saw each other in the stairwell or out by the cars, but the conversation never went further than that. my neighbor was a short and rotund man with pale white skin and a bushy beard. i figured he had to be between 40-50 years old.

what a fucked up thing to happen to a guy at that age.

i think this to myself as i step over his stuff, now partiallyl blocking my entry onto the next level of stairs. by the time i get to my apartment, i can still hear the guys in the apartment below, grunting as they shifted stuff around before tossing them out of the doorway. when i got into my apartment, i just dropped my things by the door and plopped down on the couch in the darkened living room, listening intently to the sounds of a person's home being torn apart and his future being torn into uncertainty. i felt helpless at that point.

the rain outside went from a light mist to the beginnings of a downpour. i sat there for what seemed like forever, trying to figure out what i could do to help this guy. i picked up the phone and called my mom.

"hello?" my mom's voice is like torn silk, smooth with a raspy edge because of her decades of smoking and drinking.

"wassup mom," i said, relieved to know she was home. i always get a little more paranoid when it rains and my folks are driving on the street. my dad was killed in a car accident on a rainy friday night, so i've never been able to shake the forboding that overcomes me on rainy days.

"what's going on?" she asks, concern in her voice because i usually don't call so early in the day.

"one of my neighbors is getting evicted and i've gotta do something, but i don't know what to do."

"is he there?"


"do you know a number where you can reach him?"

"no. i don't know him, mom."

"where are his things?"

"i'm not sure. i looked out back and i didn't see anything." as we're talking, i go into the bedroom and look out of the window. i can see his things piled up on both sides of the sidewalk leading to the apartment building. "oh, they're out front, mom."

"get his things and bring them inside. no telling who's already looking to take his things." at this point, mom's voice has gotten the authoritative tone to it, like she's about to start issuing orders. it's something i both love and hate about her.

"um, mom. my apartment is about as big as a gnat's ass. have you forgotten?"

"well, how much stuff does he have?" she inquired, the tone of her voice letting me know she didn't miss me cussing in front of her but deciding to let it slide this time.

"he's been living here longer than me, so i would think he's got a crapload of stuff."

"well grab what you can. i'm sure he'll appreciate it."

i instantly felt better.

i looked out of the window again after getting off the phone with mom and i saw some folks already perusing through the guy's stuff! damn, they don't waste any time the friggin vultures! my bedroom window was already open, so i just yelled really loudly "hey! those things don't belong to you and the owner will be here soon to get his things. i'm watching them until he gets here!"

the three men look up at the window, mouths agape at the surprise voice that appeared to boom down from the heavens. wait a sec, maybe that was a little melodramatic. they looked up in surprise at the voice of a woman shreiking for them to stop doing what they were doing.

they stood there for a minute, i guess at a standoff or something. were they trying to decide if they gonna heed what i said? i wasn't sure. either way, i wasn't about to let them go through and take my neighbor's stuff. i grabbed my keys and ran down the stairs to the front of the apartment building. bursting out of the door, i told them again to step away from his things. they continued to stare at me for another minute or so before deciding to walk away from the situation. i stood there a little frightened, cuz i didn't really know those cats and they could have just told me to go fuck myself and did what they wanted to do.

after expelling the breath i didn't realize i was holding, i looked at the disaster before me. my neighbor's stuff was everywhere. i didn't even know where to begin and it was starting to rain a little harder at this point. i just grabbed whatever i could carry and started heading upstairs to my apartment.

when i got down after the first load, my neighbor had pulled up and was walking around, surveying what had happened to his things. everything was soaked, as the rain had been a steady pour for a while at this point.

"i have some space in my apartment on the porch and you're more than welcome to use the space to store some of your things." i wasn't sure if he had even heard me cuz the look on his face was devastated and distant, like he couldn't believe it was actually happening. he looked at me for a moment.

"thank you so much for your kindness." i could tell he was fighting tears and i started to feel uncomfortable because i've never in my life witnessed an old white guy crying in front of me.

"it's aiight. let's get what we can so your stuff doesn't get ruined." we started grabbing things and taking them upstairs to my porch. after a couple of trips, one of our neighbors who stays across from me came down and started helping. next thing you know, three other neighbors pitched in. we ended up storing stuff on my porch and the porch of the neighbor across from me. despite that, there was still a shitload of stuff downstairs.

one of the people who was helping suggested we get tarp to cover what was left outside. my neighbor went to home depot while we started pushing stuff together so we could get as much stuff covered with tarp as possible. someone brought out some tarp they already had and covered his bed and mattress. i saw some tarp in a corner and covered some of his other things.

by the time it was all over, everything was covered in tarp and what wasn't covered was upstairs. the six of us were standing there, at last feeling a little better that we did what we could to alleviate the situation.

i gave my neighbor my phone numbers and he told me he would be back on friday to get his things. i told him i'll make sure i'm there so he can pick his stuff up.

then he walked away and i STILL didn't get his name.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

i feel a little better now...

had to rant for a sec but now that i've gotten the anger off of my chest, i'm better. i should never have let it simmer for that long, as anger has a way of blackening the soul with permanent soot.

anywho, it's dreary here in the atl, and it looks like it's gonna be this way for the rest of the week. i'm gonna be leaving work early today to go and rest my weary body. i ate a piece of year old wedding cake last night and now i realize i shouldn't have done it. evidently the sugar content was enough to sieze my body and stamp it with the kind of pain that can cripple a person. i'm not sure what it is, but i'm gonna go to the doctor (like that'll help it). i've learned from past experience that doctors are little more than highly-paid speculators, checking off a list of symptoms before guessing what's wrong and then sticking some pills from a lucrative partnership into the patient's hand.

maybe i won't go to the doctor. hell, i can guess it on my own with enough research. either way, i'll get down to the bottom of this as soon as possible.