Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Call My Name

Perhaps the most powerful motivator in the world, next to the trappings of survival, is love. It may be love for love's sake, love of cake, love of power, love of torture, love of G.I. Joe, or anything else- but it makes people do things that they would never in their right mind do. Love drives people to madness. It turns otherwise normal people into veritable the veritable puddle jumpers of life. Sometimes, you will land in clear and calm water...other times, you're shit outta luck and it's every person for theirself.
I think I've well navigated every single one of the puddles that needed a warning label. I don't think I've left one unexplored. I've haphazardly jumped from one to another since before I had any business doing so, and I feel it's all just added up to a calamity. What happened? I can't really say...I'm still fuzzy on the details. I'm not sure that you can say, though, that I can boast so good a thing as to proclaim "it was all for love". I've haphazardly fallen into the majority of things that have happened to me. By making no choice, I still made a choice, and thus whatever befell me was just as much my own fault as it was no one's. Am I still mired in shit? Absolutely. But I've decided to make a decision about it instead of calmly taking it all in.

Friday, October 15, 2010

You're Pissed about WHAT?

The French people are apparently hoppin' mad and have taken to the streets. Why? Because their government wants to change the retirement age to 62 (still three years before the average American, and something like 7 years before most people actually attempt retirement), and (gasp!) they want to change full-time work 32 hours a week. Now, in America, once again, we aren't considered full-time or eligible for ANY benefits unless we're working 35 or more. But, worse still, we work even more than that if at all possible because we can't live otherwise. I'm not entirely sure what they're pissed about. That equals out to be only 4 days a week for an average 8 hour shift. And working two more years isn't going to kill you. From the American perspective- and especially from an American of the working poor socioeconomic class- this sounds like an absolute DREAM. The average British citizen thinks Americans are nuts because they don't take or are not allowed "holiday"- they get, on average, at least 6 a year, including a long term vacation. In Italy, they shut everything down in the afternoon, and every one gets a nap before they get up and go to eat their evening meal- mind you, they also got an hour for lunch, and the day doesn't start until 8 or so for the average city dweller. Europeans have faaaaaaaar more luxury time than any American that isn't filthy rich. I'm thinking they get a pretty sweet deal, but this is obviously not a shared viewpoint. I'd love it if life could work any of those ways. I mean, the only "holiday" most Americans get in a year is when they have a family emergency. We don't get to flit all over the place and have lots of fun. We're nose-to-the-grindstone. We are a 24 hour, 7 day a week nation, and we're tired. The French shouldn't bitch. They've got a really good deal. I wish Americans cared enough to get out and protest the ludicrous amounts of bullshit that happen on Capitol Hill every day.
A senator from Nevada had some shit to say about Dearborn, Michigan, and it's largely Muslim population. She speculated that, because of its large demographic of Muslims, that Sharia law is practiced there. First of all, why is she worried about Dearborn, Michigan? They're not her constituents. Second of all, Sharia law is most definitely NOT practiced in ANY part of Michigan. But- "she read some articles that made her think that it was happening, and she felt it necessary to address it because no law should be practiced other than American law". Really, lady, really? How about we protest stupid people being allowed to run for Congress? I mean, the only rules regarding running for a senator or representative position are that you are an American citizen and own a home in the area that you are trying to represent. Why don't we demand IQ tests, or even better, that they are rigorously tested to make sure they have a highly functional knowledge about economics? Why don't we demand that the electoral college, an archaic institution that has little to no value to a public that is so accessible such as ours become, be abolished and that the popular vote be the ruling voice? Why don't we protest that WE, the people, have no voice at all anymore?
Then there's places like Africa, when there are problems such as inaccessability to clean water, rampant epidemics of non-curable disease, female genital mutilation, and in fact, genocide. There's still race wars there- thousands of women in the Congo have been raped and killed just because they lived in the wrong village at the wrong time. The problems in Africa are so enormous that one can't possibly list them all.
I'm happy that the French believe they are entitled to things and are willing to take steps to get what they want. But, seriously, in light of everything else in the world, I'm not sure why this made the news. And I'm not sure why it is that they feel they're being cheated. Two more hours a week, and working two extra years seem like a drop in the bucket. Only if everyone else were so lucky that this was the worst that happened to them.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Cool things happened, or will happen soon:
1. I got into my new house and started cleaning and painting it this week.
2. A customer of mine paid for lunch for my friend and me yesterday without me knowing it. He's a nice man anyway, but I just thought it was the sweetest thing ever.
3. I made some new friends.
4. I bought cheap gerbera daisies and violas. I'm intending to have an Alice-in-Wonderland garden so that I can justify singing "Oh the flowers....we could sit and talk with them for a world all my own" while I garden. (You know, from the Disney film!)
5. My oldest brother and my nephews are coming down this weekend to help me with cleaning up my house and laying the new floor.
6. My friend Nicole bought me a candle as a housewarming present, and according to her its so awesome she wishes it were hers. Can't wait to see it.
7. My landlord is going to PAY ME to paint the outside of the house. I'm excited for this.
8. I saw Kindal last week, whom I haven't seen in a few months. That was a happy moment.

All in all, not bad huh? I'm kinda glad. I needed an upswing in life. :) And a sign...and I'm getting them. :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Letter to Divinity

Dear God-Person,
I'm never quite sure how to address you. You've got so many faces- atoms, flowers, rocks, etc. So, forgive me if I got it wrong. We're cool, though, so I'm sure you got this.
I got a favor to ask. I'm floundering around again, trying to figure out what to do. This is very exhausting- kinda like treading water for long periods of time. I would like to do the right thing, even though I'm not entirely sure what the right thing is. I would like to be a better person, and once again, I'm not sure how to do that. I'm hyper aware of the dangers down here. Please, please, help me find some peace. I know that I'm being prepared for things down the road...but a respite from so much training would be lovely. Basically, my favor is to help me out here. I know signs are for the weak, and I'm okay with being weak and needing them. Just give me something to show me I'm doing the right thing. I'm never sure anymore.

Re-Sanctifying Sunday

Toward the end of the movie "Diary of a Mad Black Woman", there's a 10 second shot (more or less) of a table loaded with Sunday dinner. It's apparent that it's Sunday dinner only because the shots before it were in a church. There's fried chicken, greens, corn bread....all kinds of good food. And it made me think of Sundays, well weekends in general, at my house when I was younger.
My grandmother was very much alive and well then, and she lived with my parents and I. My mother had gone back to work when I was nine and we were in Iowa, and from that time until we moved to Michigan when I was fourteen, she lived with us. She cooked breakfast in the morning- eggs, sausage, bacon, biscuits from scratch, and gravy also from scratch. If we had left over mashed potatoes from the night before, she would make potato pancakes, and I swear that I could eat a baker's dozen of those even when I was nine. They were heavenly! For dinner, we'd have absolutely scrumptous soul food- fried chicken, black eyed peas, green beans, okra, squash, things of those nature, and always a pone of cornbread, and at least once a week a from-scratch peach cobbler.
When I was 11, we moved to north Alabama, the Motherland. My mother's entire family has lived there for generations untold, and my brothers and their families had chosen to live there as well (of all the places they had traveled, mind you). My house became a constant hustle and bustle of people- young nephews, sister-in-laws, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, my friends, long-time family friends, my paternal grandmother visited often...everyone. And the kitchen became even more important, and there was always something being cooked. As time went on, a number of these people actually came to live with us- my nephews became permanent fixtures. The oldest two and I shared a bed, the baby slept in a crib at the foot of that bed, and he was my responsibility mostly.
Saturday morning breakfast was my responsibility as well. As I had made sure my nephews were well-read at their young ages, they had a love of Dr. Seuss. So, green eggs and ham- which was usually bacon- was the menu for the kids (colored with food coloring of course), and then the adults got their requisite coffee, biscuits, gravy, and bacon. But Sundays...
That was always my mother and grandmother's doing. And it was a spread the likes of which I'm sure few families know. There was so much food that we'd still be eating it on Monday. There were so many people to feed, usually somewhere around 20 or 30! So, Mama and Granny made heaps of fried chicken, potatoes, okra, green beans, greens, and the corn bread was made in the biggest cast iron skillet we owned- coincidentally, it is also the biggest one made. Sometimes, there was fried fish, steaks, meatloafs...sometimes it was Cajun fair, the likes of which no one can explain because it's the best stuff you could ever put in your mouth.
I remember being so whole and complete then, and especially on Sunday nights. The weekends always brought so much work- this is when heavy duty cleaning was done, any repairs that weren't of an emergency nature, all the laundry and ironing was done, and there was entirely too many children to keep up with and to keep away from the stove. There was football in the backyard, or baseball, skateboards in the front, music blasting, so much laughter. Weekends were special- the time of total togetherness. But Sundays...they were special, sanctified.
I can't remember the last time I sat down to Sunday's been years. And it's been well over a decade since we had togetherness like that. Madea reminded me of them. And I've decided that, upon starting my new job this coming November, that I will jump start the tradition. I'll have everyone I can over for Sunday dinner, ever single Sunday. I miss it. It was well worth all the effort, and it'll be worth the effort to have it again. I will re-sanctify an almost archaic tradition, especially in American society. We live in a country where time equals money, and time spent not working is money lost instead of enjoyment gained. It's time I gain something that can't be spent, but is invaluable. I'm taking back Sundays.