Shoe on the Other Foot

Today, I went to my favorite pizza spot for lunch. As soon as I sat down, the waitress approached my table, gave me a menu, and asked me what I wanted to drink. “I don’t need a menu. I’ll have the two slice special, please.”  In the time between the waitress’ question and my response, I heard a woman exclaim in her barely hushed outside voice, “We were here before her.”  I turned my head in the direction of the voice to see who said it.

She was white.

She was shooting daggers at me from her eyes.

I fought to hide the smug smile that was trying to overtake my face.

I was immediately taken back to an incident that happened when I was little.  I had to be younger than seven because my sister had not yet joined our family. Mom and I were sitting in a doctor’s office. People came and went and we were still waiting to be seen. I asked, “Mom, why are we still waiting? We were here before them.” She stopped flipping through a magazine, looked down at me and said, “Because we’re Black.”  She offered no further explanation. She just returned to her magazine. I sat quiet, confused, and stunned. That five second exchange was scorched into my memory and permanently tinted the lense through which I looked at life. 

So when I heard the same sentiment uttered today in response to my being served first, that little Black girl sitting in the doctor’s office broke out into the Cabbage Patch. 

This wasn’t exactly an instance of the shoe being on the other foot.  The waitress was white. I didn’t know her, so she wasn’t doing me a favor.  For whatever reason, she came to my table first.  Not two seconds later, she went to their table.

But I’ll take it.

Dueling Love Letters

Today, President Obama bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Vice President Joseph Biden.  It was a complete surprise to Biden, who thought that he was going to a gathering of senior staff to toast and remember their incredible journey.

Can you imagine the freakin’ President of the United States SURPRISING you with the nation’s highest civilian honor?!  I would’ve been a complete hot mess.  Oh, and then you want me to give a speech after you surprise me with something like that?!  Naw, buddy.  All you would’ve gotten out of me was a snotty, “Uh…Thank you, Mr. President.”

But I digress.

What was most notable to me was the dueling love letters between Obama and Biden.  Obama started out giving us a run down of all Biden’s accomplishments as a public servant and seamlessly transitioned into Biden the family man, the friend, the person. The love and respect he has for Biden dripped from every word.

Check out how shocked and moved Biden was when he realized what was actually happening.

And then, without hardly missing a beat, Biden gives an impromptu love letter back to Obama.  It’s cute to call it a bromance, but in a lot of ways is an insult to the depth of true, tested, unconditional love that the two seem to share for each other.  We should all be so lucky to have a friendship like Barack and Joe.

If you’d like to see the whole ceremony, and you definitely should, you can check it out below.

I Want a Barack and Michelle Kind of Love

In my previous work life, this post would have been all about dissecting President Obama’s farewell speech.  I would’ve shared my opinion about the future of our democracy in the face of recent events.

While that is all still very important to me, I choose not to give that heavy stuff that much energy anymore.  Instead, I want to talk about this.

As far as moments captured on film go, this rivals that time Billie Dee Williams in “Lady Sings the Blues” used his bedroom voice to ask, “Do you want my arm to fall off?”  and flashed those beautiful pearly whites, with his fine ass self.  Or the time when Diana Ross’ eyes sparkled and she yelled “Hell naw! I want you to get my ole man back?!” to Billie Dee Williams at the end of “Mahogany”.  (Yeah, I have a thing for the Billie Dee and Diana pairing.  Who doesn’t?!)

When he simply says, “Michelle”, and bites his lip 13 seconds in, I knew we were in for some serious shit. Then the crowd erupts into a standing ovation and the electricity generated in that moment could’ve lit up all boroughs of NYC for at least a year.  I think it caught him a little off guard.  See him starting to fight back tears at 1:11?  See how he takes that hard swallow and the muscles in his neck flinch a bit?  Yep, he’s trying to fight back the ugly cry.  And when the crowd notices him pull out a handkerchief and wipe his eye, you would’ve thought that Michael Jackson had just asked the crowd, “Can I come down there?” in the middle of singing “She’s Out of My Life”.  They completely lost their minds.

And that’s when I started fighting my ugly cry.  I need Michelle to give a class entitled “How to Hold it Together and Successfully Fight the Ugly Cry”, because she was absolutely flawless.  Yet another reason I wanna be like her when I grow up.

When Malia started crying, I was completely done.  I couldn’t fight the ugly cry anymore.  It just flowed and there was nothing I could do about it.  Then he dropped this on us, “Of all that I have done in my life, I am most proud to be your dad.”, and I looked like Viola in “Fences”.

 

screenshot-viola
Photo taken from avclub.com

 

 

The love in this short 3 minute clip is palpable.  There is no mistaking the depth of the love and admiration he has for his family.  They don’t make men like this anymore, which is fine with me, because my man is younger than Barack, so he’s already been made.  He just hasn’t found me yet.  When he does, I hope he has watched this video and taken notes.  And as always, I hope he looks at me the way Barack looks at Michelle.

Delayed Response

Today is the first day back to work after a long holiday away from the office.  It’s quite cloudy and raining; not an ideal day to return to the office.  I’m also feeling a little lupie today, so I’m not really firing on all cylinders.  Yet another reason that it’s not a good day to go back to work.  (For those that are new to my blog, “lupie” is a word I use to describe how I feel when I’m not experiencing a lupus flare, but my body is not quite right and I know that lupus is the culprit.)

I went to the post office after a quick court appearance this afternoon.  I needed to mail my friend, Shannon, this cool t-shirt.  When I left the post office, instead of circling the block, I decided to go back the way I came, which meant that I would be making a left onto a busy street.  I was prepared to have to sit at the stop sign for awhile, but didn’t mind because, well, I was in no real rush to return to the office.  When I got to the stop sign, there was already a white SUV across the intersection from me.  The older lady that was driving was waiting to go straight across the intersection.  Traffic flowed in both directions for awhile.  There were a couple moments when, had she gunned it, she could’ve made it through the intersection, but it was raining and the roads were slick, so I can’t blame her for playing it safe.  And since I was not in a rush, it didn’t really matter to me.

Just as the woman was about to go through the intersection, I felt my car move.  Because my body is acting a little off today, I first checked to see if my foot was on the brake.  When I realized that it was, I thought, “Damn.  There must be something wrong with my car.”  As my brain slowly went through all the options, I looked in my rear view mirror and said, “Oh shit.  Did you just hit my car?!”.  I put the car in park and got out.

As it happens in small towns, I recognized the woman whose car was pressed against my bumper, but I’m not sure that she recognized me.  She rolled down her window and said, with big eyes and a straight face, “I haven’t done anything but sit here and wait for you to move”. I reminded her that the car across from me had the right of way because she was going straight.  Her response? “Yeah, but I was just sitting here.  Is there something wrong with your car?”  I asked her to back up so that I could actually see my bumper.  There was no damage, so I told her I was fine and got back in my car.  Traffic had cleared, so I turned left and headed back to the office.

I was almost back to the office when my brain finally kicked into gear and I asked myself out loud, “Wait.  What the fuck did she just say to me?!”  As I replayed the incident, I realized that she was either saying, “I was totally innocent.  All I was doing was sitting here waiting when my car suddenly and magically ran into the back of yours”, or “Your ass was taking too long, so I decided that I would just try to push your car through the intersection.”  Either way, it was an insult to my intelligence.  I’m sure it was my foggy lupie brain that created a delayed response and protected the woman from witnessing a bit of my wrath…well, that and the fact that there was no damage to my car.