Friday, August 21, 2009

Hey Mr. DJ......

It was Freshman Year. Ogden Hall. The Alphas were having their Ms. A-Phi pageant for Homecoming. Since some of my big brothers* were Alphas I had to show my face in the place. Roomie and I sat on the lower level of Ogden - she interested in the pageant, me interested in the pageantry of it all. Was this gonna be like School Daze, complete with a Supreme-esque performance?

Eh, not so much. But there was a DJ. In between performances and any other break, he was jammin', playing all the songs I longed to hear from home. It was like a Kid Capri mixtape, all the way down in Virginia. I hadn't heard current "home" music in almost 6 weeks (Virginia was like 2 months behind in music at the time and I had just sent a letter to my best friend asking her to please make a tape from the radio and send it to me...hahahahaha). Hearing this DJ spin made me miss home just a lil bit. And like a fiend I wanted more. So during one of the countless intermissions, I walked down the aisle and up to the DJ booth - which was really just a table set up in front of the stage.

"So you selling mix tapes in the back?" I asked with a hand on hip. Real talk, I wasn't this "sassy" in NY (and least not at the time...hahaha). However, there was this expectation of who I was supposed to be because everyone knew I was from New York City. So sometimes, when addressing strangers I became this "New York Chick".

"Uh, in the back of what?" he chuckled.

"Oh, umm in the back of Ogden or something like that?" Okay so the chuckle made me lose a bit of that bravado.

"No, not today. "

"Well, you need to make me a tape because you are playing allll the songs I miss from home."

"Hold that thought."

He returned to spinning and I stood there to the side like a dumb ass. If I walked away, I wasn't going to walk all the way back down to the front to resume the conversation, thus never getting my damn tape. And so I waited. But promised myself, I wasn't going to stand up there more than 5 minutes or else I'll look like a groupie.

"Where are you from?"

"New York. Harlem." with hand back on hip like "Duh, you can't tell?"

Okay, here's the deal. I'll make you a tape if you make me a birthday cake."

"Ummm, I stay in Winona [freshwomen honor's dorm and yes I had to throw in the honor's part....hahahaha]. How about I buy you an apple pie from Burger King and stick a candle in it??"

"Ha! Give me your number, I'll call you this week to drop off the tape."

He dropped of the tape that Friday. It was his birthday and we went to see Jason's Lyric, and had dinner at Applebee's. Okay, I fell for the okie doke. Don't judge me, I was 18. hahahahahaa
But this is how I started dating a DJ. I was 18, a freshman. He was in his 20s, a Hampton grad.

It was cool dating a DJ. I would get into parties for free. I wouldn't have to ride the cheese bus to the parties or I at least didn't have to ride the cheese bus back to campus. ;) I had mix tapes galore, and Roomie basically had a single on weekends. It was cool dating someone older. He had a car (something that NAYVER was a factor in New York. A dude with 4 tokens in his pocket - 2 for you, 2 for him- was alright with me..hahahaa). He also had a been there done that perspective on my inexperienced life that I was fascinated by. I just couldn't get enough.

I remember when I finally had to tell my mother about DJ. It was around Christmas time and he kept asking me what did I want for Christmas. Wow, really?? Well crap, that meant I needed to buy him a gift, and it needed to go on my credit card since I was a college student (aka "broke as a joke"). So I called my mom one day at work (it was toll-free to call her at work and she wouldn't flip out about her daughter dating a grown ass man at work in front of her secretary). I told her I needed to buy a Christmas gift for a "boy" (lie) and that I needed to use the credit card so she could just deduct whatever I spent on him from whatever she was going to spend on me (lie). She was cool about it. Wow, really?? To say I was shocked was an understatement. Okay, so I did fib a lil and shaved about 3 years off his age enough to make him a recent graduate. For the life of me I can't remember what I gave him for Christmas. But I remember I got a pair of Timberlands (because I refused to purchase or wear snow boots), a few pairs of jeans from the Gap, and a teddy from Victoria's Secret. (damn, I'm blushing now as I typed that...just like I did when I opened the box all those years ago).

Ah, but everyone loves the DJ. He is in fact the life of the party. The same charm and humor I fell for, and the opportunity to not eat the goobety goo served in the Cafeteria was intriguing to many other fellow female Pirates. After a chick tried to run me over as I crossed the main street on campus, I was done. (never confirmed but damn if I didn't see her smirk as I ran out of her way). Honestly, it was never meant to last. I was 19, and had no clue what I wanted in life or in love. Shit, I'm just figuring that out now. He and I remained friendly for years to come. Thanks to social networking, we reconnected a few years ago - caught up on each other's lives. Those hand delivered mixtapes turned into mix cds shipped to my mailbox. I haven't spoken to him in a while but every time I hear Mary Jane by Rick James I think of him. It was the nickname he gave me. Don't judge me. I was 18. hahahahahahaa

*big brothers/sisters - not actually siblings related to you. a Hampton tradition where upperclassmen adopt freshman, take you under their wing and take you to the mall and Wal-mart when you needed to go. I had one big sister (wish I could find her now) and a ton of big brothers....hahahahaa

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Rock the Blue and White....

I was reading this blog this afternoon and the memories of my experience raced to my fingertips. I guess that meant there's a blog in here somewhere. LOL

I went to a black college to meet my Dwayne Wayne - flip glasses and all. There I said it. LOL

Actually, that's only a smidgen of the story but I laugh because damn it all, if I didn't somehow think of Hampton as Hillman on some occasions. Come on, between School Daze and A Different World, how could you NOT want to attend an HBCU in the early 90's?

Despite no air conditioner in my freshman dorm (that should be illegal in the South, even the projects get central air...LOL), the horrible food in the Cafeteria (Gourmet Services is an oxymoron, right?), having a curfew for the first time in my life (only for the first 6 weeks), I wouldn't change a thing about those 5 or so years I spent there. Well, maybe changing my major earlier and maybe the outcomes of some friendships but overall, attending an HBCU was the best decision I've ever made in my life.

With all of these memories flooding back, I've decided to do a Walk Down Memory Lane Series - the Pirate Edition. I have soooooo many stories from college, and right now I'd rather write about that time in my life as opposed to what's going on now (UPDATE: still employed - the person who is making the decision about my office is having open heart surgery tomorrow. Yes, I'm serious. I couldn't make this up if I tried - well actually I could because it does have a dramatic flair to it but it's true nonetheless.) For those of you who read this blog and were there during those times, hopefully this will be a walk on the yard for you too. And don't worry, I will still change names to protect the innocent and the foolish.

Let the games begin.......

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Who's gonna clean up this mess??

How do you spell stress? J-O-B.

For the last couple of weeks, my job aka plantation assignment has pulled some low-brow, are you serious shit. I found out just last Wednesday, there is a chance this office will close, and allegedly I will find out “maybe” this week. But the information was passed on in such a cavalier manner, they might as well have asked me “Could you please pass the jelly?” That night, after I unchained myself from my desk, I walked the streets on Manhattan and I felt I couldn’t breathe. Well, I wasn’t taking full breaths, just quick sips of breath to keep me moving. And thinking. Then I asked myself Is this what a panic attack/anxiety attack feels like?? And without any medical degree behind my name, I replied back YES. I had to let this go.

And quite honestly, I’m okay with it. Either way, I’m fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, fine…WOOOOOO. If you believe that then you must believe this woman is 29 (sidebar: why doesn't Lou Dobbs and his crew ask her to produce her birth certificate??). There are moments when I do feel this way. That I'm gonna make it after all (cue throwing beret in the air). But other times, I get so overwhelmed by the maddening uncertainty of it all and give in to darker doubts in my mind. But even in those times, something tells me I'm going to be okay. I'm holding on to that belief. I hope its not a delusion of grandeur (or as I like to say sometimes "a delusion of grand marnier")

The worst part of it all is the waiting to find out. I've come to terms with either option for the most part. Its the sitting and waiting part that feels like someone is peeling me apart, layer by layer, piece by piece. I just want to know - one way or another. Dragging this out is like a prison sentence. Not that I know what prison feels like because like I always say "I'm too pretty for prison and too fine to do time." And then to know that there is a 50/50 chance of not even finding out this week?!!!! Ugh! That makes me want to pull somebody's wig (which will also happen this week to the above referenced chick on the "reality" show she is on - my ultimate reality show guilty pleasure by the way). Don't get me wrong. I'm grateful for the heads up. It could have come completely out of left field (sidebar: why does left field get the bad rap??). I could have been unceremoniously dumped and left to scramble for Option B, C, and/or D. SO yes, in some ways I'm grateful. But its been almost 2 weeks since the proverbial shit got acquainted with the fan and someone has a clean up on aisle "me". I'm ready to move forward. I'm just waiting on the light to change so I can turn right or turn left.

If I'm going to be honest, I might as well go into full disclosure. Truth be told, this isn't for me. The perks are nice, my boss is nice, Pinky is entertaining, the money is decent, but the work? There are days when I feel like I am getting dumber by the minute. Worse than when I had to "dumb down" my vocabulary when I taught elementary school. And the isolation kills me. I can go hours (HOURS) without uttering a word. Just me and my projects alone in my office. I'm the only woman, the only person of color, and the only one under the age of 50 in my office. This is the most anti-social job I've ever had in my life. From 9:30 (ish) to 5:30 (yeah right), I live an isolated corporate world existence. You do realize that this totally goes against my grain, right? Hello?? Social butterfly forced to be unsocial for pay. Sounds like a dark indy film with grainy shots and subtitles.

So for now, I’ve had to put a few plans on immediate HALT status but others I’m moving forward with, with or without this plantation. Nothing I’m ready to talk about…yet. But you guys know me. Eventually, I share (that’s what she said…hahahaha).