Saturday, April 25, 2009

was he "the one that got away" or was i?

back story: about 8 years ago while i was a student at georgia perimeter college, i developed a huge crush on a guy. his name was marinotti. apparently many other women thought he was a cutie too because everytime i saw him, he was surrounded by women that were laughing and fawning over him. but somehow, no matter how many women were nearby, i always managed he lock eyes with him as i'd walk across campus. i asked around and i eventually learned who he was and we worked our ways into eachother's casual circles. i remember how one day we sat in the student center talking and i actually had him laughing until he was nearly crying. it was that day that i learned that he was actually a bit of a nerd. i was smitten. i eventually worked up the nerve to ask him if we could hang and he broke the news to me- he had signed up for the military and he was shipping out shortly. heartbroken, i somehow managed to move on.

i never forgot about marinotti. every now and again i would look around myspace, facebook and google to see if i could find him, but i never did.

today, while in the farmers market with deen and caleb, i walked away to grab a few items. i remember seeing some big ghetto chick in an ugly dress with ugly tats. i glanced at her and walked away. but then, i looked over and i saw a guy eyeballing me, which i really didn't sweat because let's be honest, i am a bit of a hottie and guys eyeballing me happens daily (not that i'm arrogant lol). but then i looked at him again. it was marinotti. and he had a baby carriage with him. his eyes were bloodshot and he looked high. he didn't have that same fresh babyface i remembered. he looked like he'd had a long life. and its only been 8 years.

walking through the farmer's market a bit longer and i realized that the tattooed chick in the ugly dress was there with marinotti. what. the. hell? was this seriously the same dude that had the fliest chicks at gpc hanging on his every word? i try not to think like this because even in all of my arrogance, i know that there are many women that look at me and feel the same way about deen. "he ended up with her?" damn right he did! as i walked through the farmer's market looking for deen and caleb, i thought back on marinotti. what if i'd had worked up the nerve to talk to him sooner? what if i'd made an attempt to stay in touch with him while he was in the military? those were good times a gpc. but times are different now. for all of the couldas, shouldas, and wouldas, i wouldn't change my situation for anything.

i finally found deen bouncing through an aisle as the baby sat up on his shoulders laughing at his silly father. "did you find what you were looking for?" deen asked. i hugged him, smiled, and said "i sure did."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

living in a white neighborhood

in my last post i talked a little about the behemoth playground that i took my son to the other day. i took him back today and since he had a nap he was much better behaved. as i turned into the playground i realized that i had to tinkle so i decided to just hold it until i got home. but as walked to the toddler section, i actually saw a RESTROOM. that's right. and i'm not talking about a port-a-potty, i'm talking about an actual brick building. the restroom had a unisex bathroom, a men's bathroom and a women's bathroom. and get this- the bathroom was CLEAN. and it was fully stocked with TOILET TISSUE. none of the tissue was even on the ground. and they had automatic hand driers. GTFOH!!! i don't want to sound and act like i was raised in a cave (although some parts of college park, georgia could be compared to a cave) but when was the last time you saw a huge playground that had its own well maintained brick restroom, with working faucets, a water fountain that works, and a park ranger on duty? this free park had better amenities than half of the apartments i've lived in. there was even an area to skateboard and i didn't go all the way into the park, but i'm sure there's even a neighborhood pool. and needless to say there was no litter on the ground because they had TWO trash cans that appeared to be emptied on a regular basis. this got me to thinking about the what its like living in a white neighborhood. my observations:

* don't even THINK about looking for a jamaican restaurant
* not a wing shack in sight (sigh)
* the police are friendly and wave to you (unless you drive a hoopty, that's when they tail you until you leave or until your tag comes up dirty)
* the gas stations actually have gas and you don't have some dude trying to pump your gas for you despite you telling him no 12 times
* there are no good chinese restaurants. sure there are some chinese restaurants, but no good and greasy ones. i mean the stuff that's so greasy that it slides around on your little white plastic fork. did you know that panda express doesn't even do shrimp friend rice? WTF!
* beauty supply stores (except for sally's) run by asians that are nice and mean as hell at the same time are no where to be found so getting loc butter can be a mission
* people don't barbecue until 4 o'clock in the morning
* the automatic car washes at the gas stations work
* hardly any junk cars because they WILL tow those damned things
* grocery stores have fresh produce and they have a really cool ethnic sections for spices and whatnot
* the grocery stores sell sushi
* you don't have to worry about the police driving through your apartment complex all times of day or night
* there are no soul food restaurants, and if you do find one, the food is so bad its not worth mentioning
*the mcdonald's always puts too little salt on your fries, but the soda always has the right amount of syrup
* no need to be embarrassed by truly ghetto people because they don't live here. HA!!!
* people wave to you for no reason at all
* no ice cream man
* no one walks up to you and asks you if you know who sells weed just because your hair is in locs
* no tacky signs offering to buy foreclosed homes or advertising dna tests on every corner
* there are people that stand on the corner and sell the sunday newspaper so you don't even have to run to the store
* its okay to go to a grocery store and not look your best because the people there aren't trying to date or impress anyone, they just want to buy food and go home
* buses don't run through the neighborhoods, only the main roads (a gift and a curse)
* if your political ideas are a tad radical you can't just start talking to the guy next to you about issues because he's more than likely a tad more conservative than you are
* neighbors and people driving by aren't playing music at all times of day and night
* people don't just hang on the corner until 4 am
* you get tired of running to mcdonald's, taco bell, wendy's or burger king because that's the only thing open at midnight
* i have yet to hear about thefts, violence and break ins at my apartment complex (fingers crossed)
* they hire police officers to direct traffic after church rather than just letting traffic be a mess
* no pan handlers or crackheads to step over as you exit your car
* creepy looking people stand out, rather than blending in
* when i go to the grocery store i don't see one woman with 7 kids yelling at them telling them to put stuff back (instead its a middle aged woman begging her child, timmy, to behave instead of beating his deserving ass)
* no kids on the corner begging for money for football and/or basketball (its sad that its necessary to beg for that money in black neighborhoods)
* if you're a vegetarian there are plenty of restaurants to pick from and the grocery store is very accommodating
* i saw sidewalks on BOTH sides of the street and its even a ways back from the road so you don't have to worry about cars side swiping you if you're on it
* bike trails
* the farmer's market isn't a 2 hour trip away
* they keep their grass maintained
* a play land for kids just opened up the street and i'm actually seeing families go in and come out of there, not just bored teenagers
* no liquor stores, pawn shops, and tattoo parlors on every corner

i also want to add that i live in a predominately black apartment complex, but he area surrounding it is majority white. my complex is surprisingly quiet, not that i'm complaining. we black folks need to get it together so ALL of our neighborhoods are clean, safe and organized.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

the best kind of repetition

today i took my son to the playground up the street for the first time since we've lived over here. i'm going to take this time to say that white people have been holding out- this playground had 5 different play areas and even one for small toddlers my son's age. i never saw any nice playgrounds like that when i lived in college park or decatur. to add to the beauty of this mecca of a playground, i saw soccer moms and dads standing by gleefully by as their little cherubs bounced around the playground. and my little negro son showed his ass. in his defense, i knew it was past his naptime, but when we first moved over here it was too cold to go to the playground and its been cold and rainy most days this spring so i wanted to check out this playground since it was finally warm today.

my son happily climbed the playground for the toddlers. he's so big (he's 18-months-old but he's as big as many 2 and 3-year-olds) so i'm always chasing him when he's near kids his own age to make sure he doesn't knock them down. my son can be a bit of a bully when he tries. as a matter of fact the boy headbutted me in the face and as a result of it i've got a huge red knot on my lip. the boy actually chris browns me on the regular.

my son refused to stay in the section for kids his age and i got tired of chasing him down and apologzing to the other parents and their kids for the kids he kept running down. i wanted so badly to reach out and talk to the other parents but everytime i started a conversation with the other moms i had to chase after my child. i left dejected and embarrassed after about 10 minutes.

i called a homegirl and let out my frustrations to her. is it that i haven't worked hard enough to socialize him? will he learn to get along more with kids as he grows older or is there something i'm not doing? and finally, it would all be good if he could just communicate with me. as much as i love my child, i get so irritated feeling that he either doesn't understand what i'm saying or he just doesn't give a damned. is it me? is it him? is this normal? my son is a very happy child and ever since he was a newborn, he's never met a person he didn't like. i love and admire how he's so outgoing and social, but why the hell can't he snap back into the moment when i need him to? my friend said something to me that caught me offgaurd. she said to me- "malika, he's a free spirit. he's just being him. its okay to get him socialized, but he's just one of those kids that's hard to keep down."
wow. i haven't heard the words "free spirit" since middle school. i remember being dubbed a "free spirit" while i was in elementary school. my friend's words reminded me that my son is simply a little me. and i remember how it affected my mother. she always seemed embarassed by me. she, in conjunction with my teachers, always wanted to nail me down and give me more focus. i used to daydream a lot in class and it really didn't stop until middle school. mom didn't really like taking me out. she was proud of my writing ability, but other than that i always felt like she thought i could have and should have been someone or something else. but all i could be was me. people loved me. i've always had the ability to make people laugh and not to toot my own horn, but even as a kid i was able to hold stimulating conversations with adults. i know she loved me. i just don't think she liked what i was. i was a "free spirit." i still wrangle with being a "free spirit" today. i'm graduating from college soon and honestly after 10 years of higher education, i still have no idea what i want to do or be in life. but i like being me. i never really knew how much i've positively affected so many people until i realized that i often walk into clubs, bars, and stores in this city and constantly seeing people i know. sometimes i think to myself that perhaps my sisters will realize what a good person i am when i'm at my funeral and they see how many people came to love me throughout my travels. i guess being a "free spirit" isn't such a bad thing when you can be the sunshine to brighten someone's day. my son is a "free spirit." and that's why i love him as much as i do.