Thursday, September 25, 2008

Spare the rod, Spoil the child?

This weekend, I was pretty sick with asthma and allergies. Lemme tell you, people, nothing is scarier than not being able to breathe. It is really not a game. That's some frightening shit. Anyway, needless to say, I wasn't up for much stimulation this weekend, so I took it really easy. MBF and I decided to hang out with my mom. He met my mom and I at our church because the Usher Board was having a cookout and the food was off the chain! There were barbequed ribs, chicken, fried fish, baked beans, potato salad, cakes, cookies, pies & ice cream. Good gracious! This is why I LOVE being a Baptist! You will never go hungry at a Baptist church. Lol!

Then, we decided to go to Starbucks and drink coffee and people-watch. People-watching is one of my absolute favorite things to do, so I was pretty much in Seventh Heaven (why do people say Seventh Heaven? That means there has to be at least six other Heavens out there! Weird...) drinking iced tea, hanging with two of my favorite people, and providing a running commentary of everyone who walked by. So, after a while, this White man (I promise that the fact that he's White is relevant to this story) and his child start walking toward us. All of a sudden, the child drops to his knees and refuses to get up. His father, clearly confused about what to do next proceeds to drag the child along the sidewalk. When he gets to us, he stops, and asks the child why he won't get off the ground.
"I'm tired!" the child snaps. "How much longer do we have to go?!"

The father stops and tries to reason with the kid, but he is inconsolable and unreasonable, so the father resorts to dragging him down the remainder of the sidewalk. The father seemed embarrassed, but not embarrassed enough. Like, I think that maybe this wasn't an isolated incident of dragging the child through the street.

I looked at MBF and said, "If that was my child, there would be no reasoning. There would be a butt-beating (or at least the threat of a spanking... I'm a big softie & probably wouldn't go through with it) and that would be the end. But when a child is being unreasonable and is behaving like a heathen he/she will be treated as such.

MBF said, “There wouldn’t be any reasoning because my child would never DO something like that!”


Now, I fully understand that MBF and I can talk all day about the way people discipline because neither of us has any children. So, I’m sure that it’s much easier said than done, but it seems as though the answer is so simple. Put the fear into your kids and get the results you want.

My mother’s entire immediate family lives within 15 minutes of each other. I have five cousins – three boys and two girls – and we’re all around the same age. We were raised as more than cousins… we were like brothers and sisters. My two cousins D and E were closest to me in age and their mother and my mother are sisters. Because our moms are very close, we spent A LOT of time together when we were growing up. Our mothers used to take us shopping at the mall almost every weekend.

We had a routine. My mother would drive me to my aunt’s house. We’d get inside and I’d play with my cousins while our mothers talked. Then, they’d call us downstairs and make us use the bathroom in preparation for the “long trip” (in reality it was probably more like a 20 minute trip, but it seemed like a long-distance road trip). Then, just as we were about to step out of the door, they’d look at us and say in a very stern voice, “If you embarrass me in this mall, you are going to be in big trouble.” We’d get in the car and make our way to the mall and then they’d repeat the warning, “Don’t embarrass us in this mall… or else!” Well, the combination of the tone of voice and the menacing look was enough to keep me in line. I never once got in trouble while at the mall… or anywhere else for that matter.

Well, except for one incident.

For this story, I must go into the third-person. When Brown Girl was four, she was at her grandparents’ home with all of her cousins, aunts, uncles, and a few guests that her grandparents were entertaining. Brown Girl’s mama used to always pride herself on the fact that Brown Girl was not one of the grandchildren most likely to show-off in front of company. In fact, Brown Girl was generally shy and spent most of the time in her cousins’ shadow. On this particular evening, Brown Girl went downstairs to the basement, saw a can of Arrid deodorant on the couch, opened the can, and ate some of the deodorant. She is not sure why she did it, although she vaguely recalls that it had something to do with her newfound acquaintance with the concept of shock-value. And, boy, were the innocent bystanders shocked… and disgusted… to say the least. Brown Girl’s older brother, who was about 12 years old at the time, ran upstairs to snitch on Brown Girl to their mother. Brown Girl’s mama, stopped her grown up conversation, got out of her chair, came downstairs to the couch where Brown Girl stood eating deodorant, and – for the first and last time – tore Brown Girl’s legs up. Mama had always threatened Brown Girl with “do not to make me get up out of my chair… or else”. Brown Girl had never been sure of what the “or else” consisted of, but that evening, Brown Girl found out. Brown Girl’s brother, who had never seen their mother angry enough to lash out at anyone, began to cry hysterically (don’t tell him that I told you this) because he was so afraid.

[end third-person]

I never received another spanking in my life, although there were a handful of times when I probably deserved one. I don’t remember the details of that deodorant-eating day, but I vaguely recall a negative encounter with my mother that day. Honestly, I remember eating the deodorant, but not the spanking. I’m not sure what that means… maybe it means that I was more impressed by my own rebellion than the punishment that I received as a result of it, or maybe it means that I blocked out that negative experience, maybe it means that the spanking wasn’t as significant as my brother and mother like to recall, or maybe it just means that I’m getting old and don’t have the mental capacity to recall things that happened that long ago. Whatever the case, it’s more of a funny story than a traumatic event.

But I know one thing, whenever my mother looked at me sideways, I recalled the fact that she had spanked me before and she just might actually spank me again, and that was enough to keep me in line… So, maybe if that man had given his child one good lick, he would’ve been able to shoot the kid a look and make him think twice about crawling on the damn ground in front of hundreds of people.

(I know I’ll hear a bunch of objections and complaints regarding my idea of rearing a child, but I plenty of folks have been spanked and still turn out to be normal and functional human beings. So, if you happen to disagree with my methodology, then make some suggestions for better ways to handle out of control kids. Please… I welcome your suggestions.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sick and Tired of being Sick and Tired

So... A lot of people have been giving me grief about Junior since I last posted. Let me make this extremely clear to you people out there - no matter how "funny" or "amusing" you may find Junior, he is not now, nor will he EVER be a prospect for yours truly. I'm sure that he is a blessing... to SOMEbody, just not THIS body. I actually haven't seen him this week, so maybe he's decided to give up. Fingers crossed!!

But, in the continuing saga of men who want to date me and in whom I have no interest at all, this morning I was confronted by a man who literally made me laugh out loud (and not in a good way). Admittedly, I didn't handle the situation in the most tactful manner, but the shit was downright hilarious.

I am coming down with a cold, so this morning it was more difficult than ever for me to get out of bed. I got dressed and made my way to the train. I listened to my iPod the whole time I was on the Metro and then walked bleary-eyed off the train toward my office building. Before I made it to the escalator, this dude taps me on my shoulder. Now, first of all, I was about to knock his ass out because he tapped me on the same side I was carrying my things and he made the mistake of touching the MJ bag. And lemme tell you, NOBODY touches the MJ without permission.

So, anyway, I side-stepped him and looked at him like he was crazy.

As you may recall, I'm wearing my iPod at this very moment and my music was rather loud, so at this point, I am reading his lips and it seems as though he has formed his lips to say, "Can we go to lunch?". But I refuse to believe that is what he has asked me. So, I just stare stupidly at him and take out one of my headphones.

"Huh?" I say.

"Can we go to lunch?" he repeats.

Ah ha. Just what I thought.

"No, thanks," I respond.

He takes a step back and looks me up and down.
"What?" he asks.

"No, thanks," I repeat.

Surprisingly, I have managed to keep a straight face up until now (if you know me, you’ll know that I have a tough time controlling my facial expressions), but here's where I lose my composure. Homeboy looks startled, taken aback, and GENUINELY surprised that I said “no, thanks” to his question. He is literally looking like he just cannot wrap his mind around the fact that I wouldn't be interested in going to lunch with him. And, the look of astonishment that spread across his grill caused me to burst out laughing in his face! He looks at me with an expression of pure disgust, turns, and walks in the opposite direction. I shake my head and brush it off. Then, I chuckled from the station to my desk.

Reading this now – on the train after the workday is over - it seems like what I did was harsh. I mean, I'm the same one who complains about not meeting good men and maybe this was "the One", right?


Any dude who could get his approach THAT wrong is not the one for me. And what was so wrong about his approach? Well, number one, his appearance. Dude was probably in his mid- to late 30s and was wearing super baggy jeans, a t-shirt with glitter on it (DC dudes, what is up with your obsession with the Bedazzler? Glitter and sequins and shit do not belong on men's clothing/hats/sneakers!!!) and stunna shades in the underground –DARK - Metro station.

Then, he touched me. Well, actually he touched my MJ, which quite possibly could’ve been a more serious affront than actually touching ME! You do NOT need to touch to talk. Invading my personal space is not a good way to start off a conversation... especially that early in the morning.

Finally, he got his opening ALL wrong! How about an "excuse me" or even some other small-talk starter? But to begin (what you think is going to be) a conversation with "can we go to lunch" and to just start off cold... You clearly know nothing -NADA- about women.

So... thinking back on it now, I probably should not have laughed at him. And maybe if his presentation had been more on point I might have actually entertained his question. Ordinarily, I am not a rude or mean person, because I don't think of myself as particularly stunning, as long as a man approaches me respectfully, I am usually flattered enough to be at least polite. At worst, I may make it a "teaching moment" and say "Ok, bruh. Let me tell you what you did wrong." But this morning I was sick and late for work and didn't have the energy to be flattered and certainly didn't have the time to teach a grown man a damn thing.

Dear Lord, I hope I am not blocking my blessings for having to check that fool, but I just couldn’t hold in the laughter.

Anyway, I honestly think I’m just frustrated that the ones that I don’t want seem to be the most aggressive about wanting me. I’m tired of the Juniors and the Bedazzled aggressors of the world! Why can’t the ones I like just like me and the ones I don’t just leave me the hell alone?


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Friday, September 12, 2008

It's All Coming Back to Me Now

I know that it's been far, far too long since I've written anything. And, I'm going to stop with the empty promises that I will post more frequently. Because, the truth is that my schedule is hella unpredictable right now and there's no way that I can make any guarantees that I'll post when I get home from work. Today, I have solved that problem by writing my post while I'm still AT work. Probably not the best solution, given the fact that I work in a law firm and I'm certain – although no evidence has appeared to alert me to this fact – that Big Brother is always watching me here.

You know it's funny because today, when I devised this plan to post from work, my boss says to me, "One of the attorneys has a blog. And while I don't mind anyone having a blog (as long as they don't discuss work), I don't want him writing the blog on company time." This comment came TOTALLY out of the blue. We've never discussed blogging by employees before. In fact, before this conversation, I probably would've guessed that my boss, who is an older woman, didn't have a clue about what a "blog" is. Now, I'd be convinced that my office was bugged or something since she happened to mention this on the same day that I decided that I'd start writing while at work. But, the problem with that theory is that I hadn't actually voiced my plan to anyone, nor had I written about it. This was a plan that I had conceived in my mind. And, if "the Firm" has access to what's going on in my head, I have a MUCH bigger problem on my hands than I could've ever suspected.

Anyway, I normally wouldn't even have time to post during the work day. I am literally busy with something work-related just about every minute of every workday. And by the time I get home, I'm so tired that I'm brain-dead. As I may have mentioned before, my activity of choice after work is sitting on my couch in front of the television. Hey, I know… it's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it. But I really, really miss blogging. Everyday, I observe something or hear something or think something and I say to myself, "Self, this would make a really, really great blog topic." But then I'd get home and get in front of the laptop and I would realize that my brain was mush and I was unable to recall the topic I'd had in mind… or I was simply not motivated to put fingers to keys, and I'd commence to catching up with people on Facebook, or start doing some online window-shopping instead!

But, you know, when I deny myself the opportunity to write, it really becomes frustrating for me. My mind becomes restless and I have so many thoughts floating around in my head that I cannot possibly settle on one long enough to write about it. And that's frustrating. When I was a kid, I watched that movie, "Throw Mama From the Train" with Danny DeVito and Billy Crystal. In that movie, Billy Crystal wplayed a writer plagued by writer's block. At that time, I'd been writing short stories for years and I already knew that I loved writing, but I just couldn't understand why writer's block was so frustrating to Billy Crystal's character. But, now I understand! It's enough to drive a person crazy... to sit in front of a blank Word document and see that blinking cursor taunting you. There isn't a more miserable feeling... Except maybe constipation, which is a pretty damn bad feeling in its own right. And, I'm finally finding my writing voice again, so that makes me very relieved. I thought maybe I'd lost the ability to formulate a complete thought and then express it on paper. But it's still here, thank ya Jesus!

So, I finally find the words, right? And as I'm sitting here writing them down, this fool comes in and interrupts me. And, no, I'm not referring to my boss as a "fool". I'm actually talking about Junior, this guy who works in the mailroom. A couple weeks ago, Junior decided that he liked me. He didn't come out and say it or anything, but his actions definitely let me know what he was thinking. On a particular day, he had to pickup several packages from my office to be sent via FedEx. After his third trip up, he asks me if I might know of some jobs available in the federal government. I tell him no, but that I'd keep an eye out for him. (Please keep in mind that this question was totally random as I don't have any reason to know of such openings.) He leaves and I go to the restroom.

When I get back to my office, I receive a phone call from what the caller ID says is the “Fax Dept”. I don’t know anyone who works in the “Fax Dept.”, but I answer and, what do you know, it's Junior. He starts a random conversation about the weekend and then tells me his birthday is Monday. "Cool," I say. "What do you have planned?"

Turns out he's got no plans. But he asks again about job openings and asks if I have a personal email address where he could send his resume. Um... Ok. I reluctantly give him my email address, quickly end the conversation, and pack up my things to head to the Metro and get home. But before I even get to the entrance of the Metro, my crackberry let's me know that I've received an email. It's, of course, from Junior. He is asking me if I'd be interested in helping him celebrate his birthday this weekend. The short answer is no. The longer answer is HELL no. But, instead, I don't respond... I ignore his messages not to be rude, but because it's the most polite way I could’ve responded to him. The, that Sunday, I get a friend request from him on Facebook and another email asking me what I had done that weekend.

Now, this is a rather long back story for my “relationship” with Junior. I still see him everyday when he drops off mail and packages to my office. And I am very cordial to him. Never rude at all, but I keep it short and sweet so that he understands that our only link is my dependence on him (and the rest of his department) to bring me FedEx packages and interoffice mail.

At any rate, I’m saying all this to say that when I finally got into the groove of writing this post, I was typing pretty fast since the words were pouring out of me after having been pent up for so long. The door to my office was open, but since I looked like I was in deep thought, people were passing by the door but not stopping because it seemed I was doing something important and work-related. And then Junior comes by. He sees that I am typing furiously, so he just stands in the door, presumably because he thinks that I will stop doing what I am doing to carry some random conversation with him in the interest of politeness. I look up and hold up one finger (not the middle, although that’s the one I feel like throwing up) to let him know that he should hold on for a minute before speaking. When I reach a good stopping point, I look up to acknowledge his presence. And the question that he'd been waiting to ask me was so asinine… so… random (do you notice that there is a theme or randomness permeating this story?) that I don’t even remember what it was. I respond curtly to the question and then he tries to continue the conversation by steering it to what I’m doing this weekend. I tell him that I’m really busy and don’t actually have time to talk, and he says cool and goes on about his business. Now, I made Junior my friend on Facebook because it was the “nice” thing to do. But even though I’ve given him no indication that I’m interested in him, he continues to press his luck with me. AND, he threw me off my writing rhythm after all this time. I would’ve posted this much earlier, but because I lost my train of thought when Junior interrupted me, I didn’t start writing again until I got on the Metro at the end of the work day. But the good news is that I’ve finally overcome the writer’s block because, despite Junior’s intrusion, I wrote the whole way home.

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