Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mind Travels*

I mentioned in my previous post, that I had a lot of stolen moments to think, really think, while I was in Puerto Rico. I thought about my career path (grateful for a j-o-b, but I need to find a new gig – something more creative, and definitely more social). I thought about my thoughts on moving out of New York (still just a notion – but its growing more comfortable in my head; most importantly I’ve accepted that I’m fearful of taking the leap). Whenever I had a moment to myself, my thoughts took off on their own adventures, turning over new leafs, and discovering new possibilities that I hadn’t given myself the time or the energy to find.

My first night in Puerto Rico, I was exhausted. A party that I LOVE in New York was ending its run at its current location. Having so many fond memories there (including meeting Hustle), I had to party there one last time and say goodbye to the venue. Despite having a 6 am flight, I hatched a plan. I called the promoter (a friend of mine) and asked him if I could just bring my suitcase to the party. I figured I could leave the party around 3:30 ish, and take a taxi to the airport. Which would leave me time to check in and chill (read: sleep) at the gate until I could board the plane (and sleep some more). With an almost 4 hour flight, I figured I would get about a good 5 hours of sleep time. What my theory did not take into account was the exhaustion I started the night with and how 5 hours of sleep just wasn’t enough. I arrived in San Juan cranky from sleep deprivation. But its funny how feeling the sun shining down on me made me forget all about that sleep deprivation. Until later that night.

After a day of touring the island and shopping (leave it to me to find an outlet mall in Puerto Rico with a BCBG; lawwwwd have mercy), we immediately came back to the hotel to change clothes and go out to dinner in Old San Juan. With its cobblestone streets, tightly packed stone buildings, and fountains, I was immediately smitten. Especially when I saw a Starbucks. I figured that jolt of java would sustain me through the evening of dinner and club hopping. Wrong. My body wasn’t having it. After a rather craptastic dinner, I was in no mood to shake what my momma gave me – no matter what language I was instructed to do it in. (SIDEBAR: whoever came up with asian-latin fusion cuisine is the devil; I went all the way to beautiful Puerto Rico to eat chicken lo-mein) I ditched my sisters and their friends and decided to head back to the hotel. On my walk back to the taxi stand (I didn’t care how much it cost me at that point), I couldn’t help but admire the charm of Old San Juan. As tired as I felt, I was captivated by the blend of old and new. I dipped back into Starbucks to order another round and took a brief walk to explore my surroundings. Don’t worry, I used the street smarts my momma gave me (besides the booty) and stayed on main well lit streets, never venturing too far from my landmarks – the fountain, the taxi stand, and Starbucks.

During my brief walk, I had to sit and change my shoes. Stilettos and cobblestone streets are a recipe for twisted ankle disaster. Luckily, I stashed my flip flops in my clutch. While sitting there, I encountered an older couple. They were walking hand in hand at a snail’s pace indicative of their age. What struck me about the couple is that seemingly out of nowhere, he turned to her and kissed her. A brief but intense peck on the lips and she giggled like she was 15 which in turn made me giggle. They caught me watching them and I blushed and apologized. They waved off my apology and told me they were celebrating their 58th wedding anniversary. All I could say was “Wowwwwwww. Congratulations!!!”. Damn 58 years with the SAME PERSON (not philosophically speaking of course; most of us aren’t the same people from one year to another but you know what I mean)!!! As I tried to wrap my brain around the concept of that particular length of time (approximately 21,184 days give or take) and all that it encompasses, the older gentleman interrupted my thoughts.

“What is a pretty young lady like yourself doing out here by yourself?” (Thankfully their English was perfect)

“Adios mios! She’s not out here by herself. She’s waiting on her husband.” the wife stated as a matter-of-fact.

I looked up from my seat and blinked a few times. I didn’t know how to respond. My thoughts had already taken off on their own adventure.

*there's a possibility that there is a part 2 to this story. Maybe.

Friday, May 22, 2009

What I would not do......

I guess you’ve wondered where I’ve been
I’ve gone to find the love within……..*

Well, kinda. I know I’ve been MIA lately but with good reason (I swear). First, work. I think there is a culture in corporate America these days where your gratefulness for having a job in these tough times translates to you taking whatever BS that come your way. I can count on one hand how many days in the past 3 weeks or so where I’ve left the office before 6:30. And I get here at 9. Okay 9-ish but you get the point. Long hours at the J-O-B equals no time for M-O-I. My work/life balance has been wayyyy off kilter lately so I decided to something about it, which leads me to my second M.I.A. reason.

Two months ago one of my sisters asked me to join her on a trip for her 30th birthday. Between work and a commitment to another trip 2 weeks after hers, I declined. I thought about how great it would be to be with my sisters on vacay – something we’ve never done before. But work was beginning to get extremely stressful and I rationalized that I was being a responsible adult by saying no. Two trips in two weeks? Who does that?? No, no, no. I’m not going.

A couple of weeks ago, I cried myself to sleep on a Friday night. Work was getting the best of me. I was too tired to go out. I damn near burned my kitchen down because I fell asleep while cooking – something I never ever do (thank the Lord for good pots). As the tears dried into my pillow and I drifted off to sleep, I lamented that this is not the life I wanted or envisioned for myself. The next morning, I awoke to the double chirp emanating from my phone, notifying me that I have a text message. It was a message from my sister, asking me if I could reconsider coming on the trip because someone backed out. I sat up in bed and thought of the night before. I responded: “Lemme see if I can find a cheap ticket. I’ll be there.” I hopped out of bed and grabbed Carrie B. from her perch and fired my baby up. After about 15 minutes of searching the web, and comparison shopping I found a great deal. I dug in my purse looking for my credit card, and just as I was about to enter those 16 digits I damn near know by heart, I hesitated. Is this too frivolous? I just paid for my June trip. Is this being fiscally responsible in these economic times? Can I really afford to do this?? All of these thoughts crept into my mind, and I couldn’t bring myself to give Carrie B. my info to transmit to JetBlue. I sat all day thinking, weighing the pros and cons, actually afraid to do it (that’s what she said). Finally, around midnight, I took a dose of Fuk-itall, and purchased my ticket. Puerto Rico, here I come!

Now if I’m going to be honest (and if I can’t be honest on my blog what’s the point?), I’ve never had a strong desire to go back to Puerto Rico. I went once over 10 years ago. I took a cruise with my family and that’s where the ship began our 7 day sea adventure. Coming from VA, I got to Puerto Rico before my family. I did the responsible (read: broke college student) thing, and went directly to the cruise ship, checked in, and wandered a street fair by the pier. While that couple of hours were fun, I didn’t think I needed to see anymore of Puerto Rico. Let’s face it. I’m from New York City. I used to teach in the Bronx. Misguided people think I’m half Puerto Rican. I’ve encountered more Puerto Ricans in my lifetime that the average American. Why should I go to Puerto Rico when it seems to be in my back yard, so to speak? Yeah, I know that’s slightly ignorant but it’s the truth.

This is one experience where I’m glad my ignorance and fears didn’t win over. TE AMO PUERTO RICO!!!! The people, the beaches, the food, the beaches – I had a really good time. So much so, I’m trying to go again – within the next year (I'm counting on you guys to hold me to that...hahaha). Three days just wasn’t enough. In the midst of being there with 15 people (including my 3 sisters), I found the time to be very introspective. There is something quite magical about clear blue waters crashing on smooth sandy beaches that makes you (well, me) honestly examine my journey in life. I came back rejuvenated, refreshed, renewed. And slightly tanned. Only slightly, because I was cough cough sick on Monday and couldn’t justify coming into work on Tuesday looking like a browner sun kissed version of myself. This week found me back on the work grind with pressing deadlines, paperwork, meetings, and more damn paperwork. But I haven’t slept on tear stained pillows since I’ve returned.

*This is one of my favorite songs of all time. I can listen to it daily and never tire of it. But his ponytail mullet is killing me in this video. Hahahahahahahahaa

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sooo how much is that life insurance policy worth??

That’s what I want to ask a relative. They must have a huge policy out on my life for the foolywag shenanigans I’ve had to put up with.

This particular relative has a dog. (I won’t name relations but to my family who reads this blog they will know who I’m talking about and they better not tell that I’m on to this relative’s plot…hahahaha). To say that this relative owns the dog is not quite accurate. This designer mutt has a last name, goes to spas, and has racked up quite an impressive amount of frequent flyer miles in its young lifetime. The dog has gone to college graduations and almost to a wedding (opted for a spa day instead). The lil bitch is living the good life (insert Kanye’s synthesized voice here and throw your hands up to the skyyyy). Apparently, the dog even barks shotgun because it always sits in the passenger seat, and humans must sit in the back or not ride in this relative’s car at all. If the dog ain’t comfy, WALK (insert Bill Bellamy as Hollywood in Love Jones here)!

So what’s my problem with this canine addition to my family tree? I’m allergic to dogs. Red itchy eyes, red blotchy skin, a sneeze symphony, the works. And to make matters worse, I’m severely allergic to this dog. I’ve gone to this relative’s house and had to leave because this dog takes my breath away. Literally. And not in a good way either.

On Sunday, I had Mother’s Day dinner at my apartment. Everyone knows that I am allergic to the designer mutt, so I didn’t think I actually had to call this relative to inform them not to bring the dog to my house. Common sense, right? Common sense must have had the day off to celebrate with his momma because he damn sure didn’t make an appearance with this relative. I answered the door and lo and behold, there’s my lovely relative carrying their mangy mutt. (sidebar: why do people carry dogs? don't they have more legs than people?? I'm just sayin')

Me: “You really brought the dog? Over here? To my place?”
Relative: “I sure did. Get me an old plastic container to give [dog’s name] some water.”
Me: “Ummmmmm, are we forgetting I’m allergic?!”
Relative: “You have medicine. You’ll be alright.”
Me: Shaking my head in disbelief.

Now I could have gotten all indignant with this relative, Larry David style, and told this relative to WALK (again, insert about Love Jones reference here). But I didn’t. First, my mother would have killed me (but then later told me I was right to refuse canine entry into my humble abode). And second, while my family royally gets on my nerves, I don’t see them often so I popped a Claritin and hoped for the best.

Initially, everything worked out. Whenever I got a chance to sit, I sat in my dining room, while the relative and the 4-legged family member sat in the living room watching movies. From time to time my throat felt scratchy, but either I was too busy or too tired to cater to the allergy symptom.

Finally, it was time to leave. Everyone had packed their doggy bags (no scraps for fido) and goodbye kisses (again, no love for fido). Once the house was empty, I went about tackling the Mt. Kilimanjaro of dishes stacked in my kitchen. (Next time these fools are using paper plates, cups and forks or my next spot must come with a dishwasher. Or better yet, how about we just order pizza for the next holiday meal????!!)

Exhausted, I collapse on my new sofa and sink into the firm comfy-ness of its cushions. Oh, I am going to fall asleep right here I think to myself as my eyelids hide the glow of the TV from my eyes. Ooooh sleep feels so good when you are exhausted as I am. I snuggle my accent pillow likes it’s the softest hypo-allergenic bed pillow money could buy. This is going to be a good sleep.

Cough. Gasp. Cough. Cough. Gasp. Gasp.

I can’t breathe. That’s the first thought that pops into my mind. What the fuck?! My choking wakes me up from my sleep induced coma with a force that scares me. I’ve never had this feeling before. I fight to inhale some good old fashion oxygen but continue to cough. I run to the bathroom and as I fill my cup with water from the bathroom sink, I look in the mirror. My entire chest is covered in red spots like a child had gotten a magic marker and decided to make me their canvas. That’s when it hit me. THAT DAMN DOG. I searched my medicine cabinet for some stronger allergy medicine (and contemplate going to the ER), and I'm thinking about how I could have come in contact with the dog and why did it hit me hours later. And like a flashback in a soap opera, it comes to me. My relative always sits with that dog in their lap and I recall seeing the relative sitting on my new sofa at some point. Putting two and two together, I surmise the dog must have been up on my sofa. (Sidebar: why is the saying two and two; why not 3 and 3 or 4 and 4, etc??? just sayin’).

No need to call Agatha Christie or Precious Ramotswe of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (love this show) because I have figured this out. There must be a hefty life insurance policy somewhere out there on my life and this relative is the beneficiary. I joke with my mom, “Your [relative’s relation to my momma] is tryin’ to kill me.” and we laugh but this time as I look at these blotches and slowly catch my breath as the stronger meds take effect, I’m not so sure I’m joking anymore. So if I die from an allergy attack, look for the furry mourner in the black dress. That’s my killer. And if any of my relatives start driving Bentleys with customized doggie front passenger seats after I'm gone, call the cops.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Auditory Assault

I step onto my iron chariot which has come forth to carry me home, away from a long day at the office. I lean against the door to play a game of relaxing mindless Bejeweled. Thankfully the train isn't too crowded. While I'm lost in the world of lining up jewels to score points the message carried on the voice ringing in my ears brings me right back and I'm forced to look up.

"Yo, I beat the shit outta that bitch yo. Them other bitches back the fuck up. She the only girl I had to go toe to toe with like that. Hahahahahaa. Word"


The 2 "men" sitting across from me in the 3 seater seem to be reminiscing quite gleefully about Friday night smackdowns with the women in their lives. I try to block their convo out but unfortunately its spring break, meaning no loud ass teenagers to amuse/embarass me and thus block this ignorant conversation from reaching my sponge absorbing cerebrum.

"Yo the last time son...hahaha....yo afterwards? Her face was so fucked up she had to stay in the house for like 2 weeks, yo. And you could still see cuts and shit on her light ass" he chuckled as his boy congratulated him with the universal brotherly pound. My eyes cut lethal daggers in their direction to no avail. For the duration of my ride Bejeweled provided no solace. The conversation continued, each trying to outdo the other with tales of choking chicks & decking dames. I was tempted to ask them to shut the hell up in the sweetest way possible. But then I rationalized that if they beat the crap out their "loved ones" with such boxing ring bravado no telling what they would do to me, a cute stranger. So I kept my mouth shut & my face unpummeled. Still seething, as they entertained each other with the blow by blow sportscaster-esque commentary.

Finally, my chariot pulled into my home station. I was itching like a fiend to get off this train and away from this auditory assault. As I waited for the doors to open, one of the guys called out to me "yo u kinda cute. U married ma?" Ummm so you can kick my ass too? And whatchu mean kinda?? I didn't even dignify his crude ass with a response. And people wonder why I'm not rushing a relaysheeship?! Hmph.

Note to self: Take I-Pod out of gym bag and place in purse. Apparently ears need peace on the train also.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Rain is for.....

....big round mugs with steaming hot tea, sweetened with a spoonful of honey and a pinch of brandy.

....cell phone off, TV on kinda days.

.....planning to go to the movies and popping in a DVD instead.

....old movie marathons.

.....comfy comforters and cozy high thread count sheets.

.....a pajama party with someone special. without the pajamas.

.....the spoon. of the human variety.

......falling asleep to the lull of the drops tapping your windowsill.

......waking up to the patter of different raindrops in the exact same spot.

.....not cooking a damn thing and ordering in for every meal.

.....baking cookies from scratch just for the warmth that escapes when you break them in two.

....sharing secrets face to face. and not going anywhere.

So why am I here at work????