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.

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.