Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Last weekend, I was assaulted. It left me paranoid and disgusted. And having a greater appreciation for baths.

I boarded a bus to DC very early Saturday morning. One of my Hampton gems is having a baby. So after over a decade since the seven of us were all in the same room (collective head hanging shame), we hopped on planes, buses (well technically just one bus since I'm the only one who arrived that way), trains (who knew Pentagon and Pentagon City were NOT the same stop in the DC Metro system?? lol), and automobiles to be there for her baby shower. I could have left Friday night but I waited until the last minute to make her gift - a personalized frame and gift basket. And early Saturday morning seemed like a less stressful trip than Friday afternoon. Have you seen NY/NJ/MD/DC traffic?? (yes I realize I left out Delaware but seriously, its like 3 seconds long - you blink and its "Welcome to Maryland"). Also, I figured the 7:30 am bus would be empty so I'd be able to stretch out and sleep. WRONNNNNNNNGGGGG!!!

When I first boarded the bus, my dreams of 2 seat slumber seemed to be a reality. Like Ms. Badu, I took the window seat and didn't want nobody next to meeeee. I placed my large gift bag in the seat next to me and everyone kept moving further back on the bus. Just as the bus driver was about to pull away from the midtown street, she surveyed the empty seats, opened the door, and asked if anyone waiting for the next bus to DC wanted to catch the earlier bus. Of course they obliged. And there went my 2 seat slumber dream. I stuffed my gift bag under my seat and almost immediately this young-ish African dude plops down next to me. And he smiles. And I....I roll my eyes. I was in no moody to be friendly. I wanted to sleep damnit!!! Once he settled in, he turned to me and asked "Do you have change of a twenty?" to which I responded with a curt "NO!" which had all the attitude of a "HAYELLLLLL NOOOO!!" And let me tell you why.

First of all, for this particular bus company, all tickets are prepurchased online with a credit or debit card so there is no need for cash for the next 4 hours. Secondly, I'm not reaching into my purse to retrieve money with a damn stranger sitting that close to me when I plan on falling asleep in the next 10 minutes. What kind of BooBoo the fool does this assclown take me for? Lastly, and most importantly, when he exhaled on the word 'twenty', I SWEAH my eyebrows and eyelashes were singed off. Seriously, I was stunned into a state of hot garbage shock. Not knowing what to do, I turned to Twitter:

"Great! This mofo sitting next to me not only wants to chat but his breath smells like garbage. I need to click my heels 3x and be in DC NOW"

Once I vented in 140 characters or less, I did reach in my purse. For my iPod. And let my music be the soundtrack for the scenery rolling by outside my window as I breathed the air straight from the air conditioning vent to clear my nostrils.

Then, it happened. My iPod slipped from my lap and fell between the seat. As he repositioned his body to retrieve it for me without uttering a word, that's when it hit me. It wasn't just his breath. Every pore, every fiber of his being smelled. BAD. Like weapon of mass destruction bad. Remember this scene from Beetlejuice (1:50 mark):

Yeah that bad. I immediately let out an "Oh damn!" and stood up in my seat. I looked around. The bus was packed. No empty seat - even the seat next to the bathroom was taken which would have been a first class upgrade compared to the seat I was currently sitting in. I was stuck next to this smelly mother fucker for the next 3 hours and 45 minutes. I had no choice but to turn my body completely towards the window, put my head down next to the air conditioning vent and go to sleep. Eventually the cold air, and the gentle bounce of the bus rocked my tired ass to sleep. And it was a good sleep too, dreaming of every lovely sweet smell I could imagine. At some point I must have turned my head in the direction of Stench because I was jolted out of my seat like my alarm clock went off.

This fool is sitting in his seat on his phone with his right arm up over his head like he is lounging in his living room, and just like that scene in Beetlejuice my head felt like it was gonna shrink. I let out a very disgruntled "Oh COME ON!!!" and repositioned myself to breath the processed air conditioning air. And couldn't go back to sleep. DAMNIT

I had time to analyze this nasal assault. I theorized that it was 2 parts hot shit, 1 part no soap, and 1/2 part locker room funk, 1/2 part public housing staircase with a background note of sanitation truck. Yeah it was THAT BAD!! Funny thing, if he was perfectly still I couldn't smell a thing. But the minute Stench moved a centimeter, I damn near threw up in my mouth. I don't even want to make the generalization that because he was African, he stank. This stench went waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyy beyond the lack of deodorant. which may or may not be a cultural thing (I'm not even touching that topic). And its not like he looked like he stank, just like most serial killers don't "look" like a serial killer. Seriously, does this look like someone who's funk is off the stink charts??

(Yes I took his picture while he was sleeping. This was one of those still moments when I could inhale without fear of an olfactory attack. Don't judge me! LOL And he woke up not too long after this picture was taken, he woke up and assaulted my nasal cavity yet again! )

With about 45 minutes left in this ride of smell hell, the unthinkable happened. When I didn't think this ride could get any worse, he turned to me, smiled and said:

How can I get to know you better?

To which I replied (louder than I thought):
You can't. Listen, you stink.

And everyone around me gasped. Like I was the bad person. Sure, that may not have been the most polite, ladylike way of handling things but I'd already endured a little over 3 hours of the stench of the belly of the beast. Manners went out the window somewhere along the Jersey Turnpike. By that point, I was angry that I had to endure this abuse, I was paranoid (I swear I kept smelling myself for hours after getting off the bus). It was so bad, I literally had tears in my eyes. And, I was trapped. So fuck common courtesy. I was in survival mode.

Stench was shocked that my response was so blunt. He grinned, looked the other way and didn't say another word to me for the rest of the ride. Thank God for small favors. I also kept my hand over my nose for the duration of the ride. Manners be damned.

Finally, FINALLY, the bus pulled into the lot in downtown DC. It took every pore, every fiber of my being to stop me from flipping that emergency exit switch on the ledge of my window. Doesn't this count as an emergency?? The assault needed to end sooner rather than later.

Once I gathered my bag from underneath the bus, I inhaled deeply. Like if I could have sucked in every ounce of air in a 2 block radius, trust me I would have. There's a Starbucks near the bus drop off site. I ducked in there and didn't buy a thing. I just smelled the bags of coffee on display. I know I probably looked like a mad woman but I read somewhere that some perfume counters keep fresh coffee beans on their counters to clear a customer's nasal memory so the perfume smells don't get muddled when they are smelling multiple fragrances. I needed to clear that smell out of my nose faster than a speeding bullet. And besides the line was too long and I had a baby shower to get to.

Luckily, God granted me a solo seat on the way home. I had a window seat with nobody next to meeeeeeeee. And it smelled like heaven.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Centennial Celebration

My great grandmother was born on July 21, 1910. It doesn't take a math genius to figure out that she would have been 100 years old today. However, she died in her sleep 7 years ago. Cause of death: natural causes. It was just her time to go. It didn't matter that I wasn't quite ready to see her go.

I could dwell on how much I miss her and how I would give anything just to hear her laugh or ask me to pour her "a little nip" or to be able to take one of our lonng slow walks just one more time. But reality tells me that's not going to happen. Instead I choose to celebrate.

I celebrate how lucky I was to have a great-grandmother. No one I grew up with had one.

I celebrate that she was my great- grandmother for 27 years, where to date that's way more than half of my life.

I celebrate her survival through the Depression. Even though I hated that because of said survival, she used to make me eat the ends of the bread loaf as she saw it as wasteful not to. I still hate the bread ends.

I celebrate her sage piece of advice as I left for college: "Keep your dress down and your panties up." Even though I didn't always follow said advice. I think I transposed dress and panties in her advice a few times.

I celebrate her unconditional love. She is the epitome of unconditional love. To me, the patron saint of unconditional love. I never ever felt like she didn't love anyone in my family, even when some of us were doing some idiotic crap (some waaaaaay more often than others but I digress). She was always there, with a kind word, a funny story, a pat on the hand, and a threat to whack you across your heiney with a wooden spoon (Now that I think about it, I never got that wooden spoon whack across my heiney. Well at least not from Granny. lol).One of my tattoos is an homage to her and her unconditional love.

I celebrate her laugh. Granny loved to laugh. As do I. Maybe its in the genes.

I celebrate her intelligence. Granny did the newspaper crossword puzzles. In Pen. And finished. Oh and did I mention this was the New York Times AND the Daily News crossword puzzles. And yes, this was daily. Ummm, yeah one day I'll attempt this feat.

I celebrate her broad spectrum views on life. In the later years, Granny only watched two television programs - Jeopardy in the evening and Maury in the morning. Jeopardy for obvious reasons and Maury because she found it quite entertaining that these fools had no idea who had the label of "my baby daddy".

I celebrate her warmth. She loved everybody. Her doorman, my best friends, her daughter's ex-husband (my grandfather), "the fellas" (her general word for her male senior citizen friends in her building. I think she just couldn't remember their names so her crew became "the fellas").

I celebrate her love of storytelling. She may not have had the delivery of Sophia but she loved to share stories - all funny. Only she could tell a story about the Depression and make it funny.

I celebrate all of this and so much more.If I can exude a tenth of her warmth, charm, humor, and giving heart, then I've succeeded in life.

My Granny. My Great-grandmother. My friend. Now my guardian angel.

Instead of missing her for the rest of my life, I celebrate all that she was to me for the rest of my life. I think she would prefer it that way.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Big Spenda

By the time you read this, I'll be on the road or maybe even at my destination for the weekend. This weekend is my BFF, TootieZilla's birthday and we're taking this celebration on the road. I won't reveal the location just yet(damn stalkers) but please believe the weekend is jam packed with parties, fun, laughter, and celebrating. I've been to this place before but never with my girls. I'm actually pretty excited.

So what's been going on with me lately?? I know someone has probably nominated me for the most absent negligent blogger. Please don't call child protective services on me though. I've been absent for good reason - there's been a lot going on lately that I'm not sure I want to publicize....at least not yet. I'm still writing, just not hitting publish. But I'm going to try to do better. I see my stats though. I really appreciate MOST of you for checking in to see if I'm writing. It gives me the guilt gut punch I need to sit down to write.

Last Friday, I was out window shopping (okay, I bought a dress..sue me) and was behind a young woman buying a shitload of men's suits from Banana Republic. I noticed her arsenal because I was kinda in a rush and there was only one person ringing up purchases ( which didn't discourage me from putting the dress down though. It was on sale!!!!! ). I had no choice but to eavesdrop on her phone conversation (she was talking louder than the musak). Apparently, her man was starting his new job on Tuesday and she wanted to surprise him with new suits for the week. She beamed on the phone as if she had just landed that dream job. She was sooo proud of her man. Standing there, I had to reflect. I ain't NAYVER done anything like that for a guy before. But I added the idea to my future boo bag of tricks. The man I settle down with is gonna be spoiled. I think. But I digress. As I watched the cashier ring up the abundance of suits, shirts, ties AND socks, I was actually in awe of her grand gesture. AND the grand total. Sheesh. Phone bill, student loan, rent, cable, electricity, grocery bill, and my entertainment budget for the month would have been covered. But I digress. She left with and armload of bags that she could barely carry but somehow managed to not only carry the bags but continue to carry on with her conversation as she exited the store.

About 5 minutes later, I was finally done with my itty bitty purchase and gleefully swung my itty bitty shopping bag out the door. And that's when all hell broke loose.

I emerged on the other side of the revolving door to find Ms. Big Spenda screaming into her phones at the top of her lungs and thrashing white Banana Republic shopping bags against the buildings facade. Apparently, in the time it took for the chatty cashier to recommend some accessories to compliment my find, ring up the dress and not the accessories he tried to push on me, and discover I was entitled to an additional discount on the garment, Ms. Big Spenda found out that her man had cheated on her the night before with one of her friends. Yep, her man smashed a homie.

In the span of 5 minutes, her world was just as disheveled as the suits now thrown on the pavement. And she let the world know exactly how she felt about it. Like everyone else I just stood there. Eyes blinking, astonished. Seriously, what the fuck was I supposed to do?? I mean my heart went out to the girl. While I would never throw just purchased expensive clothes out in the middle of the sidewalk, I too have had the rug pulled right from under my happy feet. So I did what any New Yorker would do - I stepped over the strewn clothes, put my sunglasses on and continued on my way to my mani-pedi appointment. However, I will say by the time I crossed the street, she'd gathered up the clothes and marched right back into Banana Republic with an armload of suits, shirts and ties. I said a silent prayer for her that a)she didn't loose her receipt during her emotional tantrum and b) none of the store's employees saw the clothes on the ground and refuse the return. Since I didn't see any reports that a girl went postal inside a Banana Republic, I'm gonna assume my prayers had been answered.

While I don't know the particular details of the story, I'm still quite intrigued about bits and pieces I discovered while eavesdropping. Her man slept with a friend. Oh. MY. GOD. I love my friends with every fiber, muscle, connective tissue, and nerve endings of my heart. However, I don't know what the hell I would do if I ever found out some shit like that. Would I have the ultimate 2 year old tantrum on a random street in midtown in front of about 8 million strangers? Would I try to beat both of their asses??? Would I get all soap opera-ish and sleep with said friend's boo and carry his love child that she will try to kidnap when the paternity is revealed on a Friday?? (okay, clearly I've been watching the soaps lately....hahahahhaha). Luckily for me, my friends and I may have the same taste in shoes, clothes, jewelry, etc, however, we absolutely do not have the same taste in men. NOT AT ALL. Well unless we're talking about Idris Elba. But he's a universal crush. So he doesn't count. However, if I ever date him (a girl can dream) or seriously date someone who looks like him, I'm getting a restraining order. My friends will not be allowed within 100 yards of Idris and I (or his look-a-like). hahahahahahaha

I could expound on the possibilities of the scenario for hours on end but I have a road trip to prepare for. I really do hope Ms. Big Spenda has found some peace and didn't become Ms. Smashed My Homie and My Man With A Bat.

Enjoy your weekend!!!


Oh and the dress is packed in the suitcase!!! They. Aint. Ready.