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.

Damn you, 2016

 

It feels like this whole year has been one of mourning.  It started with Natalie Cole and I’m hoping it has ended with Debbie Reynolds, and in between we lost our country to a man who has no idea what the hell he is doing and couldn’t care less about non-white and/or poor people.

In a year full of notable losses, there are a few that are very important to me.

Prince

prince-one-night-alone

I am one who loves Michael Jackson and Prince on the same level.  I was late to the Prince fandom.  Of course I loved many of the songs on “Purple Rain”, but it wasn’t until “Diamonds and Pearls” that I could truly appreciate his artistry.  I’ve been to as many MJ shows as I have Prince concerts.  But when MJ died, I was shocked but somehow not surprised.  When the news of Prince’s passing hit, I felt like I had been punched in the gut.  I never thought that I would truly mourn the passing of a celebrity, but I found myself inexplicably saddened by the loss.  He isn’t as much a part of the soundtrack of my life like MJ, but for some reason this was much more of a loss.  This wasn’t expected.  For God’s sake, he was vegan!  This wasn’t supposed to happen!  As I listened to damn near his whole discography the night after he died, I realized how much I related to him and just how much I depended on his music to get me through some rough times.  He was more a part of my world that I realized and the idea that he is gone still makes me sad.

Carrie Fisher

leia-badassCarrie Fisher as Princess Leia. (Photo from Legion of Leia)

Princess Leia was the first badass woman I ever saw on screen. ( I would be introduced to Pam Grier and all of her badass characters much later in life.)  She stood up to Darth Vader and took control of her botched rescue.  She carried a gun and wasn’t afraid to use it.  Most importantly, she didn’t fall starry-eyed and helplessly in love with the “stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy looking, nerf herder”.  She made him earn it.

During my childhood and most of my adult life, she was the only woman in my favorite sci-fi universe.

Carrie Fisher wasn’t afraid to speak her truth and she truly didn’t give a fuck if you liked her or not.  I will miss her unabashed honesty.

The Obamas and Bidens

obamas-and-bidensPhoto by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

Thank you LordBabyJesus, the Obamas and Bidens are still with us, but we are losing them as daily reminders of all that is good and possible.  I will miss the glimpses into Barack and Michelle’s love affair.  For that matter, I’ll also miss the glimpses into Barack and Joe’s bromance.  These four people corrected the course of our trajectory.  Now we’re faced with an idiot who will send us into a downward spiral, 140 characters at a time.

Damn you, 2016.  You’ve taken so many things that you had no right to take, and given us at least one thing that the majority of us couldn’t even imagine.   I’m gonna need you to sit your ass down for the next 12 hours and go out silently.  And while you’re at it, Ima need you and your cousin 2017 to keep your hands off of Betty White, Pam Grier, Diana Ross, Tina Turner, and Stevie Wonder.  Thank  you very much!

While I am still existing in cloud of pissedivity because of all the losses we experienced this year, I am very hopeful that 2017 will bring us much light.  I hope that Prince’s family will release new music from The Vault.  I hope that the Star Wars universe continues to give us badass women.  I hope Democrats find a way to protect Obamacare and block the nomination of horrible judges.  I hope Barack and Michelle shine even brighter out of the White House than they did while they were there.  And as always, I’m hopeful that this will be the year that I will find someone that looks at me the way he looks at Michelle.

barack-and-michelle

White House photo/Pete Souza

This post was in response to today’s blog prompt “Hopeful“.

Please, just stop it.

​I find myself to be the only Black person in a lot of situations. Today, I’m the only one at a strategic planning meeting.  During the break, a man tried really hard to find common ground with me. He had Virginia stories and fish out of water stories, and then he did the thing that makes me cringe the most. It was like nails on a chalkboard. I wanted to stop him before the words came out of his mouth and walk away. I knew it was coming and there was nothing polite I could do to prevent it.

He held up his hand and began to count. “I have a Black son-in-law. He’s a nice guy. I also have a Guatemalan son-in-law. Wait, not Guatemala. Where is he from? Oh well, it’s one of those countries.  Their wives love them and I have brown eyed grandchildren.”

I know he was trying relate to me. I know he wanted to communicate that he thought he had some understanding of who I am. That was certainly not the way to do it.

Sir, I’m a person, just like you. My skin is different than yours. My culture is different than yours. As a result, my experience and perspective is different from yours. Telling me of the collection of non-white people in your life does not mean that you can relate to my life from a racial perspective. Please, just stop it. 

Better At Home

Today has been almost a completely fabulous day. It was the first day in quite awhile that no one expected anything from me and neither did I. Well, that’s not completely true. Matilda expected to be walked, fed, and cuddled, but other than that, I was free to do absolutely nothing. The only voices I heard were mine and those coming from the television. Rose, Dorothy, Blanche, and Sophia kept me company during the morning,  and the Fox football commentators talked at me in the afternoon. 

I didn’t have any debilitating aches, pains, or fatigue today, so I could do anything I wanted to do.  Instead of cleaning the bathroom or the fridge, folding laundry or putting away dishes, I chose to do absolutely nothing.

And I reveled in the nothingness. 

I let the pure joy of the nothingness cuddle up with me under layers of blankets and quilts while I listened to the wind whip and howl through the trees.  There were no thoughts of “I should” or “Maybe I oughta”.  No “I wonder why he hasn’t called” or “I hope she’s ok”. Just blank, empty nothingness while I chuckled at one of Rose’s St. Olaf stories.

After lunch, I was inspired to work on a piece that I haven’t touched in awhile. Today, I completely finished the “o” and just about finished the “v” before the difficulty in pulling the needle threatened to steal my nothingness. 

It was at about that time when Matilda decided it was time to go outside. We took a twenty minute stroll in what felt like 20 mile per hour winds and I bopped to the “Hamilton” soundtrack playing on a loop in my head. (Wasn’t Lin-Manuel Miranda awesome on SNL last night?!)

I didn’t feel like cooking dinner, so after a quick check of my bank account, I decided to go out to dinner. I went to my least favorite restaurant in town because they have my most favorite dessert right now, chocolate lava cake. 

Right away, I regretted my choice of restaurant. My waiteess was trying too hard and repeated everything I said.

“Have you been here before?”

“I have.”

“You have. Great! Do you know what you’d like to drink?”

“Water with lemon, please.”

“Water with lemon. Great! I’ll be right back with that.”

People can be so damn annoying. My beautiful nothingness began to erode.

My meal was horrible. My fries were barely warmed over and my shrimp might have been fried yesterday. This place is consistently bad. Why do I come here? After the N-word incident at the bar that my friend experienced, I swore off this place. I need to resume my boycott. I wonder if the food is only bad for the Black customers?  My beautiful nothingness was crumbling like a glacier in the summer.

Dessert was supposed to be the thing that redeemed the meal, but the ice cream was filled with big chunks of ice. Before I could get a spoonful into my mouth, the waitress brings the check and says, “No rush. Whenever you’re ready.” Yeah right, I know you want me outta here. The fragile ruins of my nothingness now stood like the remains of a forest fire.

I high-tailed it back home, plopped on the couch and instantly my nothingness began to regenerate.

I never should have left the house today. 

Ain’t Nothin’ But a Number

The physical age of the women in my family in no way, shape, or form matches their mental ages.  This mindset makes for some hilarious situations.

My great aunt, Sassy*, is a new resident of a nursing home.  She is 92 years old, but since she is a leap year baby, for years she would base her age on the number of actual birthdays she’s had.  By that account, she’s actually only 23.

On one of the first days in her new room at the nursing home, her roommate, who is suffering from dementia, rolled over to her in her wheelchair, and hauled off and hit her for no apparent reason.  Aunt Sassy balled up her fist and punched the woman.  Thus ended the fight.  When asked about the woman, Aunt Sassy responded like this:

Aunt Hassie

She went on to say, “She is old.  She’s in her nineties.”

Years ago, my Grandma, who is two years younger than Aunt Sassy, asked me to take her to the grocery store.  When I got to her house to pick her up, she told me that Aunt Sassy and another Aunt wanted to go too.  I picked up all three women and off to Food Lion we went.  At this point in time, everyone was somewhere in their mid-eighties.  All three women have physical issues that come with aging, but Grandma was able to get around much better than her two sisters.  Grandma had gotten all of her items and was ready to check out, but Aunt Sassy and her other sister were still trying to get what they were after.  Grandma and I walked a bit ahead and she said to me, “They move so slow.  They old.”

My Mom is in her late sixties.  She still insists on wearing high heels, moving and lifting heavy objects, and driving hundreds of miles in one day.  I haven’t heard her call anyone old, other than people who are actually much older than her, but I can tell that she thinks of herself as “different” from other people her age.

Apparently, the women in my maternal family have a serious issue with age.  They can see it in other people, but not in themselves.  It is hilarious to me and I hope that I inherit this mindset.

*Sassy isn’t her real name, but it certainly suits her.