Tuesday, December 12, 2006

How can I concentrate on writing meaningful, thought provoking blogs when I have all this damn Christmas shopping to do??? Not only do I have to do my own shopping, but I have been sucked into doing my mother's Christmas shopping for her (meaning I tend to buy my own gift and put her name on the gift tag!). Maybe I put too much thought into this gift giving. But I always want the "WOW" factor when someone opens my gifts. I agonize over just the right gift for everyone on my list. Gift giving to me is not just about spending money. It's an extension of how I feel about a person. I spend weeks listening to my loved ones, trying to figure out something they want. When I used to buy gifts for my students I would start planning right after Halloween. I wanted everything to be special for them. My Santa complex is driving me crazy but deep down inside I love it!
Yes I have received some crappy gifts over the years (if you read this and know my grandmother, please tell her I am too old for neon green underwear with Tweety Bird all over them. Seriously) but nothing will ever top the gift I got in high school. My elitist high school forced us to participate in Secret Santa. We had to give a gift to the name we drew out of the hat every day for a week and each gift had to fall into the chosen theme of the day (food, something pink, etc.). The final gift could be anything under $25. All week I got nothing from my Secret Santa. There was a girl in my class who had to fly home to Brazil earlier than expected so I figured she was my Secret Santa. The last day of the gift exchange arrived and as I gave my Secret Santa a silver frame with a picture of her favorite teacher in it, my homeroom teacher is giving a girl across the room a FedEx package from Brazil. At this point I am thoroughly confused. Someone tosses a Christmas bag on my seat. I open the bag and inside there is a package of Ding Dongs from the vending machine downstairs in the bag. Yeah you read that right. DING DONGS. For the record I don't even eat Ding Dongs - never had, probably never will. My Secret Santa was a girl in my class who had been in school everyday that week. She thought the whole thing was funny. I wanted nothing more than to smush those damn Ding Dongs in her face. And I almost did it too, but I was already in trouble with the Headmistress for getting caught making fun of her outside of her office, skirt up to my chest, glasses sitting on my head and everything. To say that I was hurt by this girl's actions is an understatement. It wasn't the actual gift; it was her lack of consideration that bothered me. I kept asking myself "why would you do that to someone?" I did toss her back the Ding Dongs and told her she looks like she would like them more than me. While on the outside I didn't let it show, it cut me down deep inside.
I guess I've never wanted to give a "ding dong" gift. Even writing this blog stirs up something in me. I know what receiving a "ding dong" gift feels like. Even my grandmother giving me neon green underwear doesn't feel like how I felt that day in high school. As least my grandmother thinks I need underwear (why neon green I will never know!!! LOL) She thought about who she thinks I am (probably 10 years old) and bought accordingly. So while the "wow" I said when I opened my grandmother's gift was not the same "WOW" I said when I opened the digital camera I got from my mother (yeah I went to the store and bought it but it was her money, okay?! LOL), I knew both gifts game from the heart. The same place I give my gifts from.
Okay I gotta go. Making a list and checking it twice is hard work, mannnnn!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I was just wondering. Since when did men become immature bitches?? Wait, let me back up. I am not talking about most of my male friends; they are intelligent, mature, professional men. I'm glad I'm not the one dating them but they are good friends to me. Notice I said "most" of my male friends. I have a person in my life that I often have to ask myself, "when did men become immature bitches?" When I say bitch, I am referring to someone who talks behind your back, makes snide remarks, thinks everything is a joke, and can't take a dose of his own medicine when you call him to the mat on it. Our friendship has spiraled to somewhere below acquaintance. If it weren't for mutual friends I wouldn't even bother interacting with this person. It's funny. I look back and a year ago I considered this person to be one of my closest friends. We hung out often, spoke almost daily, and he sought my advice on his many conquests (which now that I look back, he never followed any of it). No, there was no hint of romantic or lustful notions from either of us. We were friends. Or so I thought. As I began to examine our "friendship", I realized how selfish he was. He would call me - day or night - to update me on some aspect of his life. The second I would make a comment on something going on in my life??? "Call you back." Click. We often went out for drinks. If he would pick up the tab, I usually had one or 2 drinks. Once when I picked up the tab, he ordered a drink for a woman that he met at the bar and put it on my tab!!!!! There are far worse egregious things that I could say happened over the course of our "friendship" but wouldn't I be just continuing the cycle? Oh no wait, my accounts of events are actually factual, not fiction.The final straw came when the immature bitch began to rear his ugly head. He began to tell people lies abut me that he "knew for a fact." How the hell do you know for a fact? Where you there? Did you see me? Did you ask me BEFORE you spoke of me as if it were "fact"? Or are you so blinded by the high regard you hold your informant that you can't see the cracks in their stories and acknowledge that this person has blatantly lied to you before? Beyond the fact that this person was telling untruths about me, I couldn't get over the fact that this is a MAN, a member of the male species. I had grown accustomed to this behavior from females. Sorry ladies, but I went to an elitist, all girls high school; backstabbing gossip was on the curriculum. But since when did men gossip? Yeah, yeah, some men brag about their conquests and may gossip about women they are involved with. But since when do men gossip about a woman to other women as well as to men? What's next? Sipping on mimosas while getting a mani-pedi? Well of course by now at this point, we are no longer friends and recently I had the opportunity to call him out on it. I told him why we had "differences". "I don't know what you're talking about" was his response to my list. Dude, are you sure you didn't wear a plaid skirt with coordinating blazer and loafers in high school? You are looking like a real bitch right now. Man up! Admit to what you said. Even if I don't like what you said, I would have to respect you for standing by your words. What's the worse I could do??? Meet you afterschool and slap the crap out of you? (Did I mention that I went to a predominately white, elitist, all girls high school?? LOL) Get over yourself. I 've already gotten over you and our fake ass friendship.

Monday, December 04, 2006

I've never played war games. I think the only "war" movie I've ever seen in its entirety is Glory. I didn't even play Battleship as a kid. So it is safe to say that I am pretty much clueless about wars and battles. However, I can safely say that when troops go into battle, morale and support needs to be high. The attitude of victory needs to be apparent before the battle begins. This is the way I felt entering The Garden on Saturday. I attended the First Annual Big Apple Basketball Classic, a tournament of HBCUs showcasing their talent and school pride in the famed Madison Square Garden. The first game was Virginia Union versus Bowie State. The energy was high even though the stands were empty. The bands played; the cheerleaders shook their asses as only we do at black colleges. To say that Bowie state was slaughtered in the end would be a gross understatement. They lost by 41 points. Looking around the stands, each school's cheering section was pumped up almost without regard for what was happening on the court. The whole time I was thinking, "Oh mann! I can't wait for the second game!!" I was psyched. Hampton versus Howard. The Better HU versus The First HU. Rivals among rivals. I wasn't so excited about the game itself. Let's face it - when I was a student at Hampton, our basketball team wasn't known for their skills on the court; more for their antics off the court. However, I was ready to yell my school pride into the rafters of Madison Square Garden. I was teaching my non-Hampton, non-HBCU attending friends all of the cheers. I was ready. About ten minutes after the first game cleared the court, The Marching Pirates filed into the arena. They tuned up, ran their scales. We were ready for battle. Five minutes later, Howard's band filed in, horns announcing their entrance. Okay, we see you coming. About 2 minutes into the game, Howard's cheerleaders were up and cheering. After they were done, I looked over to Hampton's side to hear our cheerleaders respond. Ummmmmmmm, where are the cheerleaders???? No! You've got to be kidding me! No cheerleaders! No "pump it up, go 'head go 'head! Pump it up go 'head!"? No "shake it, shake it, SHAKE DEESE!"??? "Rock the blue and white!"????? Wait a minute! You've come into one of the largest regions of alumni, and large percentage of current students' home states and you leave the cheerleaders home??? Okay, okay, but that's alright because the band is gonna have me dancing in my seat, waving my blue and white pom poms, shaking my Hampton alum bootay! No such luck. I was almost embarrassed to claim my Home by the Sea. Not only were the cheerleaders absent, the band might as well not have been there. They played one song in the first half. Yesssss, ONE FREAKING SONG. It was so pathetic because Howard's band had just played the same damn song. Then at half-time, the announcer announces a halftime show. Howard's drum section comes out in the middle of the court comes out and gives an impressive but dry presentation. "And that ladies and gentlemen, concludes the half-time performance." WHATTT??? ARE YOU KIDDING ME????!!!!! The band basically didn't play at all during the first half and then they had no half-time performance? I was disgusted to say the least. So now I had nothing to believe in but the team, who actually did very well in the first half. The score was tied at 41 with Hampton taking a slim lead throughout most of the game; Howard tied with a 3 point shot close to the end of the 1st half. So here is where my point of morale and support comes into play. Since it was non-existent, thanks to the absent cheerleaders and the should have been absent band, the players clearly didn't have the same drive they had during the first half. And the band did nothing to improve their spirits. They sat there holding their instruments, blending into the chairs. I was so tempted to get up from my seat, go over to the band section and slap some sense into somebody. Maybe that would have awaken them. But since I'm too pretty for jail, and I certainly would have been arrested in Madison Square Garden, I just simmered in my seat. My friends wondered where was all this school spirit I talked about throughout the first game. Which, by the way, just pissed me off even more. Needless to say, Hampton lost that night. Yeah they lost the game by 10. I also feel like they lost a lot of alum that night. We were all starved for that nostalgia - dancing with the band, cheering with the cheerleaders, yelling our school pride into the rafters - even if the team sucked (which I have to say, this was one of the best Hampton basketball teams I've seen). Reliving those days before family, bills, careers (not jobs) and responsibility. The team needed you as much as we did. Without your rhythmic guidance, the spirit died when you sat on your asses and no one waved a pom pom in a short skirt on the sideline. We got punked in the biggest, most famous arena you will ever play in. Thanks a lot Marching Pirates!