End of Daze

Not sure about you… but I’ve never been happier to see a Monday in quite some time!

In addition to it starting up a mercifully short work week, it also signifies that I made it through last week without incident. With such a busy news week, anything — and I do mean anything — was possible. (Slightly dramatic, but true.)

If you were a minority, female or homosexual, you had a smorgasbord of topics to choose from: The Trayvon Martin murder trial, Paula Deen’s racially charged deposition, the removal of the Voting Rights Act, more Edward Snowden leaks, the abortion law filibuster in Texas and finally the striking down of DOMA and Proposition 8.

If you fall under all the aforementioned categories, you were on an emotional roller-coaster, which likely ended with you dancing in the street in something festive while your lesser-clad male counterparts wore either speedos or the clothes your parents wanted you to wear before you came out. (Yes, even the slutty stuff.)

As thrilled as I was for my many LGBT friends, it was still a tough week for me to embrace. The beauty of that moment, when the courts acknowledged that their love is just as real as anyone else’s and deserved to be given the same rights and privileges, was so monumental that it overshadowed a glaring revocation of a law that could potentially set up (or back) the next presidential election.

Yes, it was a particularly sobering week for African-Americans. While many of us were busy calling out Paula Deen for using a word uttered by every hip hop artist, high-profile entertainer, urban and “wanna-be” suburban kid, we totally ignored a little piece of legislature which may decide how and if areas heavily populated by minorities can vote with ease — or at all.

And while many took to the internet to write disparaging commentary about Rachel Jeantel’s physical appearance and speech challenges (much the way they did Gabby Douglas), they completely glazed over the fact that this young girl not only carried the burden of being the last person to hear her friend’s voice before he took his final breath, but she stood her own ground against a legal system ironically trying to justify “stand your ground” as a reason to shoot unarmed kids on their way home.

Meanwhile, the outrage stemming from the discovery that the government is invading the privacy of millions hasn’t quite reached the sector where they also invade the private parts and reproductive rights of millions of women. The mettle and relentlessness of Wendy Davis should be applauded instead of being subjected to vilification. But in a world where it’s a fun fact that a man has fathered twenty-two children with fourteen different women, it just seems like a good idea to attack anyone trying to make sure no child is brought into this world without the love and stability they need to thrive in what’s increasingly becoming a cruel world for anyone not meeting the societal standard.

It’s no secret; I am angry. Angered by politicians voted into office to protect the rights of the people, only to vote against gun laws and healthcare. Angered by religious zealots who preach about the love and sacrifice that lead to dying for sinners, but condemn people based on their lifestyle and right to choose. Angered by a society that reveres well-known adulterers and creates examples of marriage and relationships in highly rated reality programs where the subjects are polygamists or former sex-tape veterans who have expensive short-lived marriages and sire strangely named children with self-absorbed megalomaniacs, but wants to throw out words like “sanctity” when it’s convenient. Angered by my own race who continue to point the finger of blame everywhere but at ourselves — much like Miss Deen and, dare I say, our current President — instead of simply sucking it up and taking accountability and saying “Okay, let me fix this… starting with me.” Angered by a mass of people whose origin is mostly based in the European continent who keep trying to define immigration, while Native Americans fight to be heard and lose their land, and later, their children, in custody battles with white adoptive parents. Angered by the amount of young black men in prison for possession of marijuana when there are a growing number of free men in possession of abducted women and children and people’s life savings. Angered by the amount of money we spend protecting our “interests” in other parts of the world while our own citizens struggle to find jobs and means of supporting their families.

The list goes on and on.

We spend our days sleepwalking through life obsessing over mundane things like Angry Cat photos, Facebook posts, Twitter rants and celebrity baby news and deaths. I almost wonder when was the precise moment I decided to pay more attention to the escapades of people who contribute nothing but sensationalism over people like Nelson Mandela, who contributed to the end of apartheid in South Africa. Naturally, I’m embarrassed.

With all the greatness — and potential for greatness — this country has, it seems like now is as good a time as any to ensure our future generations are more caught up on current events than Taylor Swift’s love life and viral videos about “twerking.”

Education and an awareness of world news and changes should be the gold standard of our society. Not the option that falls by the wayside when budgets are cut. That a heavily tattooed man-child athlete makes more than a teacher is criminal. That, nine times out of ten, he’s broke by the time he retires from his respective league after spending it all on extravagant and excessive things and people (that is, if they haven’t gone to jail for murder, rape, weapons assault, dog fighting, etc…), before the rest is taken by the IRS indicates the need for better teachers (preferably ones not having sex with students or making porn). 

As I step down from my soapbox for the night, I realize the challenges of this world are so much bigger than me. It’s a sobering thing… and an even more frightening truth when you haven’t been drinking.

On that note, it’s waaayyy past my bed time.

And now… it’s Tuesday.

Sigh…

Southern Discomfort

Although it’s been said many times, many ways… this girl is a native “New Yawker”.

Born and raised in Queens. Did ten years in Brooklyn. Newly minted as a Harlemite as of one and a half-year ago. Aside from an extremely brief stint in Savannah during my infant/toddler years, I have never called another city or state home.

And yet… here I sit mentally cognizant of a faint and distinctive drawl that has managed to stick in the few days that I’ve just spent there while visiting my father.

The last time I checked, I wasn’t Kerry Washington in character for “Ray”, so this really isn’t going to work for me.

Fortunately, the twang is the only thing I picked up from my little visit to Georgia — although it could be said that the manners, affinity for fried things, and lack of urgency occasionally displayed could also be indicators that my ancestry definitely ain’t from the north.

It’s fascinating how, in a matter of a few days (and sometimes within moments) of being in Savannah, I’m always reminded of how different life and people can be when it comes to a little bit of geography.

It always amazes and terrifies me to be in a city that presumably has more hospitals, hospices, and pharmacies that boldly advertise diabetic treatment than a swath of the country. That I can also find a massive number of fast-food and chain restaurants, with a majority of the population packed into every one of them at any given hour, indicates more than just a passing indulgence or PMS-induced craving for anything that smacks of a cholesterol or cardiovascular nightmare.

Maybe it appears more so when you’re from a densely populated place occupied by a few million people — many of whom run, eat raw or organic things, and contemplate selling their kids for a space at Soul Cycle.

It’s also interesting, and helpful, to know that if I want “exotic” fare such as Indian, Mexican, Sushi or Thai food, the wait to get into those places are nonexistent since the natives steer clear of anything foreign — ironic (or prophetic, depending on perspective) — since Savannah is a military town.

Yes, I’m a city girl. I like my newscasters glamorous and equipped with the ability to read teleprompters with the ease and grace of someone who has either perfect vision or respectable corrective surgery. I’m resigned to believe that not all eyewitnesses bare resemblance to Sweet Brown. I prefer attempted suitors to not have baggy, low slung pants or call me “ma’am”. I didn’t realize there were still people in the world using paper checks to pay for things — better yet defrauding store clerks with them. That the latter was done by a very large black man dressed up as a woman is all the more horrifying and down right hilarious! (C’mon… a fake check and a fake chick?? I mean… really??)

But a part of me loves the smell of rain, and walking barefoot in it. Loves looking up at a night sky full of stars. Gets joy out of cracking crabs with my bare hands and doing it “just so”, so the meat comes out of the leg perfectly intact. Eats pecans until I catch a “bad one”. Walks the cobble stones of River Street with full knowledge that centuries ago my relatives congregated there to both buy — and be sold as — slaves.

Alas, these are Summer pleasures… so it was waayyy too cold for that!

As convenient as it may be to see an Oscar nominated movie like “Silver Linings Playbook” in a theater of about ten people (none of which were of my ethnicity) on a Friday night, there’s an overall feeling of loneliness that can quickly wash over you. In New York, it’s a self-imposed isolation that comes with the refusal of finding an outlet among the thousands available at the flick of a Time Out magazine page. In Georgia, it’s a bit more palpable.

Sometimes I make the mistake of believing I’m adaptable to any environment because I can pick up a dialect or digest a meal in various parts of the world without much fanfare… only to discover I’m a “fish out of water” in my country of birth.

That’s the funny thing about the American South. As “inclusive” as the country claims and dictates itself to be, there will always be a part of it that subtly reminds the rest of us that it was never their idea or desire to embrace the transition. And as archaic as some of the ideals may be, there’s almost a certain beauty and admirable quality in their defiance to maintain certain traditions.

…Except when it comes to elections and anything legislative. Then, they’re just irritating. Thankfully, the food is significantly more palatable and digestible than the politics, although it can initially be deceiving since everything seems like a good idea when southern hospitality is involved. For all I know, Paula Deen could be a fascist, but her hoecakes are so amazing that I may inadvertently vote for a Bush in the next election.

Still, none of this has good long-term effects on the heart.

In the meantime, perhaps there’s a future for me in voice-over work.

Ironically, I do not have a New York accent.

Suddenly, I have an urge to go juice something and watch a “Law & Order” marathon.