Sunday, September 11, 2011

[Lifestyles] A Billion Broken Shards

I can’t believe it’s been 10 years already. You hear people say that all the time in an abstract way on how time pushes forward while they’re somewhat stuck looking at one still moment in time. In the craziness of the day I still remember every little thing that happen and the emotions that I was going through. Well the emotions that we were all going through in some form or another. I wrote this blog about 5 years ago in which I posted and reposted to several social networking site as each anniversary passed. After this year, I will retire it. As a part of growing and moving on, I need to work on moving passed EVERYTHING that happened that month. I was only 20 when this happen, just a kid that was barely out of high school and had no understanding of what the world was trying to offer me, but on this day 10 years ago all that changed and I was forced just like the rest of the country to walk with fear.

So here is my story about that day…

I was dreaming… I don’t remember what it was about but I knew I was dreaming until it happen. That damn phone call. It was 7:30 in the morning and let’s be honest WHO would want to receive a call that early. Rolling over I looked at the Caller ID and it was a familiar number. My co-worker Jerry Garcia that just started working at the same store in Queens as I did with my Best-friend as our boss.
            “Hey Kenny… Can you do me a huge favor, please… Tell Kobe that I can’t come in today because I can’t get anyone to drive me into the City and Queens… and that I will try to come in tomorrow if I could get a ride to pick up my check.”
            Pissed, I said, “You know that Kobe has a Cell phone, why the hell are you calling my ass for?”
            “Kenny come on can you do me this favor?” he whined.
            “Whatever, Jerry I will talk to you later” I said hanging up the phone. I tossed the covers aside, went into the kitchen made breakfast. My grandmother was in her usually seat in the Living room watching Walker Texas Ranger and she was hooting and hollering as Chuck Norris kicked some bad guys ass. Once I finished with breakfast I brushed my teeth and headed back into my room to lay back down.
The timer on the TV turned itself on and the WB11 morning news was staring back at me. Ironically they were doing the weather forecast and talked about how beautiful the day was going to be. But of course no one knew what was to come beside those that put it in action. In a flash I turned the television off and turned on Z100, hoping to hear some music that would put me in a better mood. It was 8:30, when I closed my eyes hoping that would at least get another 30 minutes of uninterrupted sleep before I had to get ready for work and be there on time at 11, but then the announcement came.
DJ Elvis Duran of the Z-morning Zoo broke into a song and announced that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center building a few minutes ago. I opened my eyes and grabbed the remote and turned on the TV. It was true. As I flip through every channel that had images of one of the World Trade Center buildings on fire.
            “Great…” I whispered. I just knew that nothing good was going to come from this.
It was just before 9am when I called my boss/best friend. He had just gotten into the store and from his voice he was nursing a hangover.
“Hey, Kobe” I said, somewhat extra cheerful.
“What happen?” he said automatically. After being best friends for so long he knew my moods.
“Well, I got a call from Jerry this morning and he wanted me to tell you that he wasn’t coming in today and –“… before I could say anything else he started screaming.
“THAT STUPID MOTHERFUC-“ Well you get the point he was pissed and swore up and down that Jerry’s ass was out and would be fired as soon as he finished his coffee. Just before I was about to hang up, I remember the plane crash. I took the remote from my grandmother, which she cursed at me about and turned it to network television.
“Kobe, have you seen the news yet?” I asked
“No… what’s up?” he answered.
“Well going home might be a problem for you because some plane crashed into the World Trade Center…”
“What!!!” he exclaimed.
He turned on the televisions in his store and he stared at the same images that I was staring at in my home. “Oh shit” he exclaimed. Flames and smoke were gushing out of the tall structure as the people below stood in shock.
“I wonder how something like-“ It felt like it was slow motion. Before I could complete my sentence we both saw the second plane crash into the World Trade Center and explode. The words: Oh my God…escaped my lips. It was at that point I knew there was much more to this than just being a coincidence.
“Kenny did you see that? Did you see that?” he said. I couldn’t speak as the second tower began to explode in fire and what seems like a billion broken shards of glass crashing to the ground below.
“Kobe I don’t believe it?” I finally said.
“But you saw it too, right?  You saw that plane hit the building right?”
“Yeah I did… I think I did…” I said confirming not only what Kobe saw but what I’ve seen as well. “Kobe I will call you back...” I said after a short pause.
My first thought was my mother. Was she at work or was she at the World Trade Center? I just need to make sure. Since she was looking for a new job and most of the people in her company were now employed at the World Trade. I grabbed the phone again and called my mother’s cell phone and to my shock, I heard it ringing in a pair of discard jeans on my bedroom floor. I had forgotten that I had used it that weekend and forgot to give it back to her. This day of all days, why did I do something stupid like that? I dialed her work number and all it did was ring and go to her voicemail. After the 7th time I was in a panic.  She had to be alright… I kept telling myself and my grandmother was no help. She didn’t understand what was really happening or why I was stressing out the way I was.
“It’s nothing…” she kept saying to me in her deep southern drawl. “Your mama ain’t there she is at work”
But I knew better. As quickly as I could I grabbed some jeans and a shirt and raced out of the door leaving my grandmother no longer watching the broadcast but Walker, Texas Ranger.
Nothing worked. The trains were at a standstill and tempers at the train station were at its breaking point. No one knew anything and the token booth operator was at loss for words. I ran liked the wind to catch the B12 bus to take me across Brooklyn so I can at least find be closer to Downtown where I was praying my mother would be. The bus was crowded full of more people that were more confused than I was. The rumor mill was fluttering around that there more planes crashing and one crashed into a building in Washington D.C. The bus just passed Kings county hospital when some one said that one of the buildings collapsed. That was the first time I cried. Tears were streaming down my face, and a woman patted my back telling me that it was going to be okay. I couldn’t tell you what she looked like or how she sounded, I just remembered her patting my back and me saying something about needed my mother. When the bus finally made it to Flatbush Ave., I was one of the first ones out and rushed to the connected bus stop. At the B41 bus stop on Flatbush Ave. and Parkside Ave. I waited with another crowd of people looking to get into a cramped bused. The bus driver told everyone that there were no buses heading to downtown Brooklyn at that time. Men and women were cursing and screaming at each other, the bus driver and at the world. I couldn’t let this set back stop me. I started to run up Flatbush Ave. and towards Downtown. With my mother’s cell phone in hand I called her job again and received no answer.
As I passed the Prospect Park train station on the Q train I started to notice something.  There were no cars traveling around me anymore and the people coming towards me were not longer white or black… they were gray. Gray people. These Gray people were everywhere as I raced passed the infamous Prospect Park.
 As I reached Grand Army Plaza, I saw a female police officer and went up to her.
“Excuse me officer, is it true? Did a building collapsed?” I asked breathing hard from running and I feared that I would faint right there.
“I don’t know…” she said trying to direct people around. As I started again towards Downtown when the officer grabbed my arm and pulled me back.
“Where are you going?” she asked.
“I got to find my mother” I said, trying to pull my arm away.
“It’s a mess down there, you will only be in the way…” she told me, but I didn’t listen or care about what she was trying to say to me. I had only one objective and that was my mother. And so I moved on. Rushing through the sea of gray people, I stopped at an electric store, where a friend of mine was working located on Atlantic Ave. and Flatbush Ave. The store was crowded with people hovering around the television and buying radios, batteries and other things. My friend Mathew took me into the backroom where I was trying to hold myself together. On the television in the back room I saw the last tower fall to the earth and people just started to cry and gasp. The Mayor was calling for those to leave lower Manhattan and I was scared out of my mind. I looked up at Mathew and he looked down at me and we were speechless.
His mind was on his wife and daughter and I was completely blank. I didn’t know what to do or say. Before I knew it I was out of the door and back on my journey. Downtown Brooklyn was a mad house full of people running from the imaginary boogeyman that was now in your lives. The Gray people were in numbers now, some bleeding, some crying but all covered in ash. As I made my way through the crowded Fulton Street Mall area in Downtown, Brooklyn I tried to close my mind to what was going on around me.
My mother was standing in front of her job. When I saw her, I couldn’t let her go. It was embarrassing to my mother because I just held her and kissed each of her cheeks over and over again right in front of her Boss. She smiled.
“Why didn’t you pick up the phone?” I asked my face flooded with tears.
“I wasn’t at my desk… we were at the window and saw the planes hit… so we got the hell out of the building. When I got a chance to call the house, your grandmother said that you were coming down here to get your MAMA!!!” she said laughing.
 I do not remember the way home or what we talked about, but I do remember that I held her hand all the way home. Over the next few days we found out that many of her friends and old co-workers died that morning in the may lay. I didn’t feel anything for the many died that morning at first; my main focus was my mother and she was with me. But as the images of the destruction started to be over played on national television displaying families, spouses and others calling for their missing love one that was surely dead, it made me wonder what was going to happen next. Even now I am still wondering what is next…


Friday, September 02, 2011

[Lifestyles] Celebrities and Porn: A Love Story.

Sam Jones III. Ever heard of the guy? If you ever watched the first couple of seasons of Smallville you might have. He played the only recurring African-American character on the show until he was written off. You might know him from another show. He also played the gay little brother to Mekhi Phifer character Greg Pratt in the acclaimed series ER. He has spent 10 years of his life in front of the camera in other small roles and I didn’t know who this man was until I looked at his Wikipedia page.  So you might be asking yourself, why am I bringing this up now? Well… I stumbled on to something interesting about the man, you see he has something in common with the likes of Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton and other wealthy D-List celebrities out there. He has a sex tape. In 2009, while I was dealing with my own personal issues, he was out there pushing a sex tape with himself and his girlfriend, one of Hugh Heffner’s ex girlfriends. Now it’s his life and what he does with his life is his business at the end of the day, but can I ask a question? When did having sex in front of a camera guarantee you a career in mainstream media? Or why are celebrities embarking in this route in keeping their names in the limelight? 10 years ago, if you were not in the porn industry where you are paid to have sex, having your private moments exposed for the world to see was an embarrassment. Now, people build careers off of them without remorse.

Now, I have seen Porn movies that attempt to merge acting and graphic sex. Some are successful like that “NOT” series of videos (i.e. “Not The Office”, “Not 3’s Company”, “Not The Cosby Show”, or “Not Good Times”), while others tend to leave me wanting to jab Q-Tips into my ears to spare myself the pain of hearing annoying dialogue. Like come on, how many times are you going to look into the cupboard and “inspect” something? Just please bend over so we can get this show on the road for pete sake. Maybe it’s just my impatient personality kicking in. I really don’t want to come off holier than thou on this, because I have no problem watching any of these videos. None at all… But it kills me when I see people who have no real talent, being famous for what they have done laying down with their feet up! Let’s keep it real, would American really care about Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton if they weren’t seen deep throating a penis? Sometimes you just have to shake your head and wonder…

Thursday, September 01, 2011

[My Life] Punch Drunk Kenny

I like drinking alcohol. The first few questions I ask when I enter a party is: “Where is the alcohol?” and “Who is making my drink?” Damn it, I am 30 and enjoy the moments where I can get so wasted that I look forward to waking up in some back alley, peeing on myself while recovering some repressed memories. But sadly, way too many people have seen me drunk over the last few years. I really didn’t mean for that to happen, but when you’re invited to house parties and bar events, where one thing would lead to another… Shit happens! Plus, I hate being drunk around people who either bother me or I have some kind of issue with because at some point in the night, the temporary wall I’ve built in my mind to hold back my true feelings will come crumbling down and yeah… it’s not pretty. Not pretty at all, but I can’t help myself. I am frankly not a “Let’s talk about my feelings” type a guy. I mostly keep everything in because I find that it’s better to just let it go for the moment but always remember what was done… but after that 4th or 5th rum and coke, well… The worst I’ve been was at a house party, where I drank that host of the party’s sister “Witches Brew” and had to piece together what the hell happen from videos that were posted on facebook the next few days. It seemed that I went all out and just told EVERYONE how I felt about them one by one and most of my comment were VERY inappropriate (Someone cried and block me on facebook because of it). It was a mess, especially since we had all worked together at the time and when I came into work that Monday morning it was all over the office. Another instance was me getting into a fist fight, but that’s a whole other story…

 So now I try to minimize my consumption since my funds are limited and avoid trouble in its many forms. However, that leads me into a new dilemma. For some reason all this summer I have been, as a former co-worker put it so lovely, in “Super Save A Negro” mode when I go out drinking. The company I’ve kept has gotten themselves so fucked up on the sauce that I had to make sure that they didn’t get arrested, sexually assaulted or too sick to stand so I could get them home safely. All of this ends me indulging in my own fun, which may not be such a bad thing in the long run. Maybe it’s just in my nature to care about my friends because at first I didn’t mind, but it became a constant thing, where babysitting was my job.

Sometimes it is not worth being known as the GOOD GUY or PROTECTOR!!!

Tomorrow night, I am going to go to this bar in lower Manhattan called the Iron Horse. It has a nice mix crowd and the bartenders are really cool for the most part and I have been going there for the last few months since one of my friends Andre put me on to the place. In fact I had blogged about the bar before in a blog called Crash. I am going there to chat with friends, make new ones and hopefully not feel like I have to keep a cape and red tights the “S” on the chest just in case something happens. Alcohol can be a wonderful at times, but a beast on the mind the next day…


[My Life] Summer Gone By

I can’t believe that it is already September. Labor Day is right around the corner and the 10th anniversary of September 11th shortly after that, it is very clear to be that time is moving faster than I wish. Luckily, with all the over hyped drama from Hurricane Irene and the East Coast Earthquake subsiding, I am settling into a new sense of what the hell am I going to do now. With the Summer of Kenny almost over, something I am not going to miss at all even with all the adventures I embarked in, I am trying to figure out what path I should make for myself. But for a brief second let’s have a review.

Here is a summary of some of my Summer of Kenny experiences:
  • ·         Reconnecting with my EX, which naturally ended badly. People are your EX for a reason!!! Why, OH WHY did I not learn that lesson sooner!
  • ·         Being in love triangle that left me the odd man out. Great Job, Kenny! I never have to wonder why I am single again!
  • ·         Being naked somewhere, which was actually a fun thing, so I really don’t have any problems with that. There is a lot behind that of course…
  • ·         Thrown up on, pushed, kicked, screamed at… and that’s just by my friends! Imagine what someone would do if they hated me?
  • ·         Arguing with strange people in strange places and having it video recorded. I am just waiting for something to pop off on Youtube any day now…
  • ·         Stalked by store security at several stores!!! Do I seriously look like Dangerous Black man X???
  • ·         Still unemployed!!!!!
  • ·         Let’s not forget being sick in bed at least once a week unable to move. Those are fun moments for sure!!!

As the weather begin to change and my allergies take over leaving my face so swollen that I end up looking like the great pumpkin, I got to keep some momentum in the movements I am making going. Not only just me, but for my family. I have to continue to be strong even when I am so scared that all I want to do is hide in the corner wishing that everything would just fix itself. So as this season of Summer of Kenny ends to be picked up again next year and the Autumn of Kenny’s Discontent about to begin in just a few weeks all I have to say is…

Reprise the theme song and roll the credits!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

[My Life] Summer of Kenny.

At this very moment, we say good bye to spring time and say hello to summer. About damn time if you ask me. Last summer, I was stressed with work and the summer before that I was in and out of hospitals and nursing homes as my grandmother was going through the healing process from the accident, so as you might’ve guess there was no “ME” time to be had. While I am still on my job hunt and fine tuning my budget, for the first time in a long time, I am going to enjoy the weather while it last and this week it is suppose to be really good. I think this summer I am going to stay single or at least limit myself to just maintaining sex friends. After months of dealing with the emotional rollercoaster of a relationship, I am ready to change everything up and enjoy being free of any attachments.

This past weekend, I went with my best friend, some of his friends and roommates to the beach. It was a good time for the most part. One of our traveling companions, who I will call Lex, worked on my last good nerve. Annoying, loud, touchy… all the things that instantly make me what to start cutting limbs, but I used this thing called self control and refrained from anything that would land me in jail. Oh and by the way, do not call yourself a serious graphic designer if all you use MS Paint and cannot name other design programs… Fucktard, but I digress… I spent the day sprawled out on the sand with a book The Moonlight Earth By, Christopher Rice. I watched some of the beach bodies floating around which made me realized how much my body was not up to par with most and not caring… Well, I do care a bit, even though I am slim I would want to have a defined chest and abs instead of the keg I have developing now. I joked, ate some snacks which included honey melons and even went down to the shore line. Everything was great until…

This is what I hate. If you’re going somewhere with a group of people then you need to leave that place with the same group of people unless you state something different beforehand. An hour before we left, Lex grabbed his belongings and wonder off without a word to us. Somehow there was some confusion because my best friend thought he had put everything of value like his wallet and car keys in Lex’s book bag. Since Lex did not have a cell phone, it was urgent to locate him. After some time of searching the beach, we figured out that we actually had everything with us EXPECT for Lex, so we took a vote.

Look around once more or get in the car and go back to the house.

My vote was to get in the car and bounce. If you’re grown enough to just leave a group of people to do your own thing, then you should have the carfare to get back home. Shit, I don’t go anywhere without having at least 5 dollars in quarters for the bus. It took a minute to convince the rest of the traveling crew, but as time lurched on and the cool air started to sweep around us, we were all on the same page. Hell this is the reason why minorities do not last that long in horror movies. Looking for the lost friend or investigating a mysterious noise is not in my day planner. No Sir… We went back to the house and cooked dinner when Lex arrived without a word about where he has been or an apology. I get the whole: I am a grown man concept, but if you are going to do grown shit, then you should at least own up to it. As he made his way around the floor, I looked at him closed my best friends bedroom door and ignored him for the rest of the night.

For me, I am not going to spend my time caring about the lives of people who have no consideration of others. So this year I’m 30, single and I am going to enjoy the summer of Kenny without restraint.


[Stupidity is NOT a Legal Defense] Faking Jacks

I don’t get it.

Anytime I see a photo with displaying a whole lot of money, I am thinking of an IRA, rent, paid bills, a down payment for a house, car, investment property… not this fuckery here.

 I really do not understand why people go out of there way and post photos of themselves with loads of money around them when they should know better. I posted a blog about this before called Flashing Jackson (back then, I think my words were a bit harsher) where I talked about this foolishness, but it keeps happening. In the age of the internet am I the only one who sees logic and common sense rapidly leaving our society? Even worse are the photos with wads of money on top of infant children. Now where are child protection services when you really need them, huh? The fact is money is dirty and can carry germs. Germs that can damage a maturing immune system. But you have these dummies that go out of their way to not only take these picture, but POST them where other idiots try and follow suit. Oh and let’s not even talk about the traces of drugs that still linger on the bills out there in circulation. Someone could’ve had that 20 up their nose sniffing coke or meth 24 hours before you touched it and here you go with it all over you. Really…  There are other things that are worse than the money photos and  that is of course the epidemic of sex-ting nude photos, which fucks up the lives of teens and high power adults, but that is another blog in the making.

I think as technology and all the things you can with it advances, stupidity increases as well. Let’s be real, it’s not new for someone to get in trouble for what they post online because the internet is funny place. You might think uploading that photo of yourself chopping down on a burger of $100 dollar bills is cute, but you never know WHO is looking at these photos. It could be that perspective boss you just interviewed with for that dream job. It could be law enforcement breezing through profiles and wondering why you’re unemployed (or listed yourself AS unemployed), but got all that money around you. Am I the only one watching the news stories about people being locked up for what photos and videos that they post? But most likely it is someone with ill intent seeing what you have and plotting to take it from you by any means necessary.

Seriously, people need to stop and think like a serial killer every once in awhile just for the sake of prevention. So I am looking for people to explain to why people do suck foolishness. Any takers?


Monday, June 20, 2011

[Lifestyles] Fatherhood

So Father’s Day was yesterday. Big Deal… If you haven’t guess by now, I am not a fan of the day, but there are many reason why. Besides the fact that my own father is a fucktard, I see this day and others like it as a way for the greeting card companies to make a buck. Seriously, what is the main point of the day? One day out the year people tend to make a spectacle of themselves running out to get that must have gift for dear ole dad to show him how much you care. I figure, if you are being a good father, then you do not need a day where people tell you that. In fact, when you take the role of a parent it is your duty to make sure that the next generation is better than your own. My generation was great, but yours will be spectacular… What happen to that mindset?

I am not going to knock others for doing what they do because of the tradition, but I hope other people feel where I am coming from. As the role of Fathers has changed throughout the generations, there are men stepping up to the plate and there are men slithering out of sight to avoid any responsibility, but that is not new. I have wondered about the state of “Black Fatherhood” in this country and how it impacts the next generation. There can be several lengthily debates surrounding this. Some things I would agree with while other ideas I believe to have as much accountability as a pound of horse shit. Over the years, I’ve seen the good men work there asses off in being a good father, teaching their children to be grown adults and doing what they have to do in supporting their family and better society. On the other side of the card, I have seen and experienced for myself men who chose not to do anything for the lives they produce. What you hear the most about is the latter and I hear the complaints roaring. When I hear guys complain about paying child support or about their Baby mama drama, I cringe a bit. Child support is there to benefits the well being of a child. Even if you’re not in your child’s life you are obligated to make sure that you seed eats, has a roof over it’s head and is able to live a healthy existence until the age of maturity. Yes the cost of living is going up while the living wage in most states is either at a standstill or going down, but that is no one’s problem but your own since no one told you to splash off without protection into someone and creating your own problem. The system is there for everyone to use. For example, if you feel that the woman you have a child with is misusing the funds that you are sending or that is being subtracted from your paycheck, you can go to court and either get joint or primary custody. Of course it is not as simple as I had stated there is a lot of work that is involved, but there are measures in place that can be utilized. While it gets on my nerves when men complain about the subject, it equally gets on my nerves when women get on their soap box and preach about dead beat dads. Get it together…  just like I would say so any man about their baby mama, keep in mind that YOU CHOSE TO LAY DOWN WITH THE MAN, do not get mad when you realized too late that he wasn’t worth shit.

I know there are going to be a few people out there who will assume I am a touch bitter. Perhaps, I might be. I guess as I age, I hope to see a different view of everything…


Friday, June 03, 2011

[My Life] Adventures in Unemployment (Pt. 1)

Before the sun was up, I was fussing around my bedroom pulling out dress shirts, ties and pants, looking for something that was not too this or too that. Nothing too color loud. Nothing that was too fitted or too loose. After a few minutes of tossing this and that aside, I finally found something that I could wear to the job fair. I set up the ironing board, grabbed the spray can of water and starch and went to town on making this outfit look like I just bought it from Macy’s that morning.

By 5:30 in the morning, I was in the bathtub letting my mind wonder as I listen to the world spring to life outside my bathroom window. Usually when I take a bath, I live it up. I would have the laptop on this little bathroom seat that my mother had bought years ago for my grandmother with some kind of movie playing. I would soak in eucalyptus scented Epsom salt, white distilled vinegar, coco butter body wash and olive oil. To top my experience off, there would be a cup of tea with cookies by my side. Yeah, I pamper myself when I can now… However today, I just kept it was simple as possible. After an hour or so, I was greasing myself up with some coco butter Vaseline, then with this lemon lotion I got from Bath & Body last summer and finally some raw shea butter.  Of course, in my rush to get in the tub, I forgot my towel and underwear, so I peeked out of the door to see if my mother’s bedroom door was close. As I tip toed to my bedroom naked as the day I was born but smelling 10 times better, my cat Kimmiko comes running towards me at full speed.

You see, Kimmiko has this habit of wanting to rub up on me especially after a bath or a shower, leaving all her hair and smell on me. Isn’t that lovely? Smelling like house cat is not going to impress anyone. I dashed into my room closing the door behind me, hearing her hit the door with a loud bang. I put on some jeans, a shirt and a hoodie, collapsed into my computer chair and started to over my resume for the 100th time. After a few minutes I went into the kitchen and made my mother breakfast; some scramble eggs, blue berry pancakes and crispy turkey bacon with a side of whole wheat toast. After that I took my mother’s clothes she was going to wear and ironed them out for her. By this time she was up stirring around the house, getting herself ready.

There were a few things I needed to do before I headed out to Canarise for the job fair. The main thing was to print out my resume. This was something I would’ve done the night before, but my feet were once again swollen and it was painful to move around. Thanks Diabetes… The house PC which was connected to the printer, for some reason would not align my resume correctly, so I had no choice but to use my laptop. I brought this printer, a Lexmark all-in-one plus fax for 40 bucks on Black Friday 2008… I took it out of the box, about 2 weeks ago. I know, I know…  Why the hell did it take so long for me to us it? No real answer, but the funny story with that is I had to get a USB printer cord because none came with the printer. Imagine finding that out years later.

Since this was my first time using my laptop to print anything, I had to take the time to install the software.  After installing the software, an error message appeared. NO INK MUST CHANGE CARTIAGE was displayed and I really couldn’t believe that in the short time I had set up the device, my mother had used up all the ink in the printer and didn’t tell me. So at 8am, I was stuck with no resume to present to anyone at the job fair. Great… I grabbed my keys and headed out. Of course, some one left the incinerator door open and the smell was over powering. The smell was like death mixed with rotten baby puke on top of day old shit. Holding my breath, I hopped into the elevator, where someone had urinated everywhere. Clearly, my day was not going the way I wanted it to at all.

I ran up the block to the Rite Aide to see if they might carry my brand, but their shelves barely had anything on them. After grabbing a coffee and butter roll from Dounkin’ Donuts, I went by Radioshack to see if I could get the ink there. As I turned the corner, I was greeted with a closed gate and tumbleweeds. I went back upstairs and finally changed into my clothes for the event, wondering what I was going to do.The Job Fair was going to start at 10am with an expected turn out to be in the thousands. I had planned on arriving there at 9am, calm cool and collected with a nice little McDonald coffee. Unfortunately, at 9am I was dressed, ready to go, but stuck in the house waiting for Radioshack to open so I could finally get ink. By 10am, the Radioshack associate explained to me that Radioshack only carry HP ink, not Lexmark. Yeah… I had to think of a plan B and quick. I told my mother that I would meet her there, went on a mad dash through folders looking for just one hard copy. Lucky for me there was a copy of my current resume in some department of labor papers. I gathered my belongings and hustled over to the Sutter Ave. train station. Underneath the platform, there is a little drug store which makes copies for 25 cents per page.

The young lady behind the counter smile at me as I asked for 20 copies of each page (My resume is 2 pages, I have no clue if that is a good or a bad thing, but it is what it is).
“Nervous?” she asked.
“Yeah… It’s been too long and I really need to get something.”
“I wish you good luck!”
I swear she was the best. She offered to even staple each page for me, but because I was in a rush, I told her it was okay and brought paper clips. I went to the train station and as I was going up the stairs some random dude started to call out “Yo, Slim!” in my direction. Since I do not make it a habit of responding to the cat calls of men, I continued up the stairs and into the train station. None of the bloody machines were taking any bills and the token clerk was not in the booth. Shoot me now, I thought. It wasn’t even 10:30 and I wanted the day to be over already.

Finally she came from behind one of the locked doors behind the turnstile and wobbled back into the booth. Once she refilled my metrocard, I ran around the corner from the station to the B15 bus stop. The B15 is one of the most unreliable bus lines out there, never really sticking to the time listed. This was not one of those times however and a bus was speeding down Ralph Ave. As I waited those few minutes for the bus to arrive, the guy who had called at me earlier walks by me, saying that he could have gotten that card for me. Don’t care… As the bus rolled on, I grabbed one of the free double seats and planted myself by the window. A woman, who was… well, a nice way to say it is plumped, wedged herself in. While others around me were listening to music, talking on their phones loudly or just looking like they had lost their puppy, I was elbow deep in my messenger bag sorting out the pages. Even when the bus arrived my stop, the New Lotts Ave L train, I still was sorting and paper clipping everything together as I walked up to the train platform. I used travel to Canarise all the time a few years ago, in fact I knew the area where the Job Fair was being held very well. It was held at the church one block away from the nursing home my grandmother had stayed in during her final months. I walked over to the long entrance line in the parking lot of the church, took a deep breath and waiting for my turn to head inside.


Thursday, June 02, 2011

[My Life] Sum of all things…

Some people think I am: Rude, Disrespectful, Nasty, Cruel, Mean spirited, Emotionally unbalanced, Cold hearted, Weak, Violent, Depressing, A drunk, A prude, Insensitive, Vengeful, Harsh, Prideful, Conceited, Cocky, and a loser. While others think I am: Loving, Head strong, Passionate, Life of the party, Truthful, Shy, Kind, Quiet, Leader, A winner, Hard worker, Funny, Sincere, Loyal, Reliable and a good listener.

I feel I am the sum of all the things that others believe I am to be. Now you might wonder why I would believe this… Well, because at one point in time I gave them a reason to believe it to be so. While talking to a friend the other night, the topic was discussed about how I was not always the nicest person to the people around me when I was working as a supervisor. In fact I was downright nasty, rude and known throughout the office to blow up at people without a second thought. I had made people cry, nervous and a few other things, but at the time I didn’t care. I was so stressed by the amount of problems going on around me, from office politics, office romances and conspiracies that I was trying to (a) keep my job by making sure people were doing what they needed to do without me on their backs and (b) identify the people who were trying to get me to lose my job and get them let go. Let’s just say that every day was an uphill battle and the only thing that kept me going was my paycheck each week. While I might’ve been this villainous person to most people, there were a few people who I would hang out with afterhours who knew I was nothing like what the people in the office thought I was. Yeah, It’s hard to get others to overlook their first impressions of you, especially in a work environment, but when it is all said and done you can make really great and long lasting friendships.

Even though I said earlier in the blog that I feel like I am the sum of all things… I know what others think do not determine how I feel about myself. Yeah, I know I am not the nicest person in the world and can get a little extra sometimes with my anger, but I can be that friend or that shoulder to cry on when there is no one around. When I awake in the morning and look at that mirror, the only person that I need to worry about liking me… is me! I find that there are those in our society that have a hard time seeing this way. Far too many let others dictate who they are in life, instead of just BEING who they are and letting the chips fall where they may. Not everyone is going to like me… Too bad, so sad… and I damn sure don’t like most people. In my 30 years, I’ve learned that life can get so complicated with bullshit that it makes you forget that time is so short and you have to enjoy life before it is taken away.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

[My Life] No Room for Carebears

I still feel a bit numb. I really suck at being an adult most of the time…

Last year, I was knee deep in work drama bullshit, juggling my spiraling emotions and obligations while dealing with life in general. The year before that I was at Staten Island University Hospital emergency waiting room with half my face burned waiting on news on if my grandmother was dead or not. April 27th will mark the 2 year anniversary of the accident that lead to my grandmother’s death. The fire was not the direct cause, but the infections afterwards were too much for her body to bear. It took seconds for a spark to climb up my grandmother’s sweater sleeve and spread across her upper body causing 3rd degree burns. It took seconds for me to react in putting out the flames, calling 911 and keeping her calm until the ambulance arrive. Sadly, it took seconds for a fire to change my life forever. I watched for months as one of the women I loved most in this world, fade away from me and there was nothing I could do about it. I could not understand why I survived with just minor burns while she received the brunt of it all. I am haunted by those images, the resulting smells and my disfigurement and almost every time I close my eyes I can still see her looking back at me.

After her death, people would come up to me, telling me that she was in a better place, even though I could not phantom how being DEAD beats being sick, I would smile and nod, hoping they would just leave me alone while I suffered. I was constantly told, constantly told that I did everything right and sometimes shit happens… and I look at them with tears in my eyes like a child asking: “Why?... Why does shit just happens?” I looked to mother to make things right. To undo what was done and make everything all better, but in my selfishness, I did not realize that my mother was just a child too. She was a child who lost her mother and I didn’t know how to comfort her like she had comforted me in the past.

When death happens in a child’s world, the parents or some adult figure gives them some sort of comforting words to make the pain not disappear, but understandable. Yet, nothing is really understandable because no one knows what is next after this life, so we say things to force us into a false sense of security. Oh happy joy… What sucks about adulthood is that you know about the same amount about life as you did as a child. You just learn how to sugarcoat things to make them appear better than it actually is.

No, Johnny… there are no monsters in the closet… There in plain sight.


Friday, April 08, 2011

[My Life] Lie

I was talking with a friend of mines the other night and I told him a story about one of the many fights I used to have with my grandmother a couple of years ago. I brought my dirty dishes into the kitchen where she was busy in front of the sink washing and watching the movie Rush Hour on DVD. “Grandma, can you wash this dish for me, I’mma be right back…” I asked her. She took the dish and I ran to the bathroom like my life depended on it. I was back in least than 3 minutes, looking for the freshly washed dish because I was going to get some more food. In the cupboard, there the dish was and when I pulled it out, it looked the same as it did when I handed it off.
“Grandma… Did you wash this dish?”
“Umm… no, you didn’t. You just put it back in the cupboard”
“(My full name) I said I washed it” she yelled at me.
“No you didn’t… You just put it back with the clean dishes. That is so nasty…”

She narrowed her eyes at me and asked: “Are you calling me a Liar?” Now, that might’ve worked when I was a teenager, but as a grown man, not so much. “Yes!” I replied. “You Lied! That means you are a LIAR!” She rolled her eyes at me, grabbed her cane and shuffled out of the kitchen cursing the day I was born. My mother ran into the kitchen minutes later asking me what happen and I told her that grandma was going through one of her moments. “You two are going to drive me fucking crazy” she said, rolling her eyes which seems to be a family trait. Just for my own security of mind, I took out all the dishes and rewashed them. Overkill I know, but that is also another family trait.

I have to admit that remembering the story brought a smile to my face. Even though my grandmother has passed on, I still remember all the good AND the bad about her. For some reason people forget the bad things that a person did when they were alive and just relive only the soft and cuddly moments. She had major faults just like everyone else and had no problem showing them.

But there is a reason why I brought up this story. Why do people ask you the silliest question of “Are you calling me a liar?” when you catch them in a lie. Little white lies, tall tales, all those fabrications or just a way to avoid the truth, right? I don’t know why my grandmother lied about something as simple as a washing a dish, but the bigger questions is why did she challenge me when presented her with the truth. Was questioning me going to for some reason make her the right one? I know that I am not the only one who has experienced this before; I just find it so damn interesting.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

[Lifestyles] Thank You for Stalking

I was walking home from the Western Beef on Monday, the time of course escaped me and it was earlier than I thought it was. As I was passing the Family Dollar, I thought it was a good idea to finally pick up something that I had been looking for which was Milk of Magnesia. I wanted it for 2 reasons; I’ve been having problems with my stomach for the last few months and I heard that using Milk of Magnesia can help clear up complexion problems like blackheads.

This Family Dollar had gone through a metamorphic change last year when it went from a crappy rundown little hole in the ground to a stylish brand new crappy hole in the ground with a freezer that doesn’t smell like dead rats. I’ve shopped there many times, ever since it was one of the first stores that opened up 10 years ago when the neighborhood started going through an urban renewal that transformed the old abandoned sanitation garages underneath the 3 line train track into ugly furniture and franchise stores. When I entered the store, it was almost a ghost town, with probably 2 or 3 customers wondering around. I scanned the store to see where the healthcare or bath products were located which was in the front of the store, isolated in its own U shaped area. While I was looking through the shelves, I noticed this little African man started buzzing around. I turned my head towards him and he suddenly started to “face” (To “face” is to straighten out the products on the shelves, place them correctly under/above the tags and remove what doesn’t belong) one of the shelves. That’s odd, I thought. With spider sense tingling, I went up to him because I needed to make him useful.
“Do you have any Milk of Magnesia?” I asked.
“Um… um, no… um, we sold out of it” he replied with this deer caught in the headlights expression.
“Okay, do you have anything similar?” I asked not letting up.
“Um… I don’t think so…”

He walked me over to the same area that I just left and pointed to an empty shelf, exclaiming that there was nothing available. However just below that empty shelf were bottles of Milk of Magnesia, so I pointed to products and asked: “What is that?” His facial expression was priceless. I picked up the bottle and walked away from him without another word. As I went around the store, picking up knick knacks here and there I noticed that the he would still wonder around. By the time I finished shopping the little African man was behind the counter with another employee figuring out facebook mobile. As the other employee rang me up, the African man asked me if I found everything I was looking for. I ignored him, thanked the lady for my changed and walked out of the store.

Shopping while black is nothing new to me. When I was a teenager going to school in lower Manhattan, I would shop at some of the stores in the area and I always got the feeling that someone was watching me. At a grocery store on East 14th street (I don’t remember the name since they long went out of business), I went to buy something to snack on and was detained by security. Of course they let me go, but I was so embarrassed that this man pulled me out of line and asked me to remove everything out of my pockets. I swore to myself that I would never go to that store again, no matter what and I kept true to my word on that.

Recently, when I went to Trader Joe’s in the city, looking to see if they might have certain herbs and spices that I can’t seem to find in the stores in my area. I went into my bag to get out my notebook that contained the shopping list when out of the blue one of the workers came up to me and asked me if I needed help. At first I thought that was really nice, I politely told him no and that I was okay and continued looking for stuff. About 2 minutes later another employee proceeded to do the same thing. I was in the middle of a crowded aisle with people gleefully snatching stuff off the shelves at a staggering pace (They have a lot of good healthy stuff there I recommend people check the place out) and this employee seemed to come directly to me and no one else. After the 3rd time, I felt like I was being singled out. I started to notice a security guard walking around me. Now there was a very diverse clientele shopping around there, but every time I moved around there was a security guard standing to the right or left of me or an employee smiling in my face asking me if I needed something.

Was it just paranoia? Probably. Was I being stalked? Who knows. I put everything back where I found them and walked out the store.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

[Lifestyle] The Ides of March.

Have you ever heard of the saying: Beware the Ides of March?

It stems back to when Julius Caesar was assassinated on March 15, 44 B.C. on the Senate floor by his friend and many enemies. I remember hearing that saying when I was a teenager in my high school Latin class. The teacher explained that the phrase meant you have to be careful with the company you keep because not everyone has good intentions. Today, that should reign true more then ever.

At every given moment some one is betrayed by some one they know and/or love. It could be an affair, revealing personal information to a third party or some kind of action that removes the trust two people have for another. So how do you deal? In the movies, we either see a happy ending or no real ending at all. On television, there is a conflict and within the next 20 minutes there is some kind of resolution and the preview for the next week show comes on where everyone is skipping into the sunset. Rarely do we see the process that goes into repairing the consequence of a betrayal. We see the thought, the action, but never really the detail that goes into repairing the tears created. What do you do? How do you forgive? Can you move on? They’re mindless questions that have a true purpose.

In my life, I always have my guard up when dealing with people. Well… I shouldn’t say always, because there have been times that I allowed someone in. It only takes one time for me to realize that I can’t trust a person or that person is not looking out for anyone but themselves and will not mind selling out others in the drop of a hat. I only put myself out there one time and in that one time, I foolishly did not listen to that part my brain screaming DANGER! DANGER! DANGER! I thought it was going to be much different experience then it was, but in the end I was left broken emotionally. A part of my soul died, because every time I look back and see the events unfolding I want to crawl into a corner and mourn. In my 30 years, I have learned that there is really no instruction manual when it comes to life, we deal with things as they come and hope for the best. But what if the best doesn’t come and you’re left wondering why your heart is on the ground torn into pieces...


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

[My Life] B is for Failure

Last week I was tired and didn’t feel like cooking dinner. I wasn’t in the mood for Chinese or Pizza and the fact that it was a gamble that if I eat either one of those, I would be hovering around the toilet for most of the night, made the choice of not getting them much easier. On my block there is a Subways restaurant. Every once in a while I would get a foot long sandwich, but this day I felt like getting a soup. There was one guy behind the counter helping a customer when I walked in. I took my place at the end of the counter and waited peacefully as the man ordered almost everything in the garnish section into his sandwich. As he was finishing up, a couple walked in talking to each other loudly, not really paying attention to the fact that other people exist. After the man paid for his order and took a seat by a group of chair in front of the store, the couple stepped up to the register and the female asked the Subway employee if they had a certain type of bread. The guy nodded, and she proceeded to ask for a sandwich completely ignoring the fact that I was stand just a few feet away. I looked at them like they were stupid and was about to say something when the Subway employee pointed in my direction and said that I was next. The woman looked at me, rolled her eyes and continued the idiotic conversation with the man she was with. Well fuck you too, heffa! I thought.

I order a chicken noodle soup and some of those hippie potato chips they have in stock. As I was leaving, I noticed the Department of Health rating posted on the door. A “B”. I hesitated for a second and wondered, why did this place get a B rating? I rarely notice those ratings before, but this time it stood out to me. My first thought was to return the soup, get my money back and just make something at home, but since I already left and have never been sick before by the food at that establishment I thought against it. When I got home, I crashed on the couch and tuned into a Blog Talk Radio program that one of my internet friends host every Wednesday and I went in on the soup. After I was done, the thoughts of the B rating were completely out of my mind… Well, that was until the next morning that is, when my stomach started acting funny. I made some peppermint and ginger tea my mother brought me a few weeks back which did the trick.

Before I started the rest of my day, I thought maybe I should look into that Subway B rating since it was from the last place I ate from. I went to the New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene web page and after reading about how they graded resturants, entered the restaurant name and my zip code into the search query. Not only did I see the results for the Subways restaurant on my block, I saw ALL of the results for my zip code.
From the DOHMH’s “How We Score” PDF:
“If a restaurant scores 28 or more points on its graded inspection, the Health Department will continue to inspect it roughly once a month even after it receives a grade card. The inspections will continue until the restaurant scores below 28 or is closed by the department for serious and persistent violations.”
The Subways had 17 violation points and as started to go further down the listing I saw other places I frequent had many more, one place getting 24 violation points. Let’s just say I freaked out a bit and made a mental note to pay attention those signs in the future, because when it comes to my food, a B rating is not good enough.

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