Friday, December 7, 2007

What's wrong with ...

…Black PEOPLE …

A day that should have been a smooth, uneventful one ended up being one filled with frustrating experiences. I wanted to go for a little run, and when I finished I couldn’t find my log book. That wasn’t too troubling as I have put it ‘here and there’, so I could expect to find it at some point during the day. So I just lazed the first part of my day, idly reading and checking out stuff on line.

About one o’clock, I decided to get my hair cut. The barber shop that I like, charges more money, but I do like the experience. There is a less expensive barber shop that is prolly the same distance, but 1) I know exactly where it is at <Mookie usually drops me at the other one> 2) The last time I got my hair cut there, I did have a good experience. So I went there, to save a couple of bucks and it would put me near the library, and I could squeeze out some library time. I loaded my book bag, and went out.

Stopped at the Sweet ‘n Treat to pick up my daily Freep and a couple of donuts <more on that another day>. Then I jetted off. Because I am on the old, smaller bike, looking so much like an oversized clown on gimmick cycle, it also takes longer for me to get from place to place. Though I am not ready to give in and use that foul-letter word to describe the temperature, I really don’t want to be moving slow while I am outside. I do know what it is like to grind thru things, and I had set my mind to do just that.

Loaded up with my paper and donuts, I cut through the light, but brisk air. The sun was out and it wasn’t as overcast as yesterday, which was a good thing. It isn’t just the heat of the sun that gets me going in the winter, but the brightness. For me, that is the big thing during the winter, the light. Would take a bright but chilled day over then overcast and warmer day. I was feeling pretty good, had a good tape cued up in my player, and looked forward to eventually looking half-way decent again, with my hair cut.

Arriving at Two, the barber had one guy in the chair. The shop was set up in a residence, with cutting stations in the front and the back of the house. There was only one barber on duty, though there was a guy in another chair getting his facial hair trimmed up. The cat who was cleaning his face, reminded me of my cousin Stage, as he was talking in that entrepanurial way that cats with big plans but no money do. He was going on about doing some after-hours barbecue near a nightclub, and how good his food taste and all that stuff. When the barber would talk about getting the proper certificate for operating that kind of stuff, he pooh-poohed that, and kept with the plan.

I would give him some play, as he would emphasize his point looking directly at me, as if I was in on it and had his back. I was like, “Hey, whatever you say, I am trying to get my hair cut!”. He went on about how good his food was, and what he would serve and all that. He was loud and spoke fancifully and of course, without any substantive worth. He had the requisite “just did a week in the county”, story to boot.

He went on for about an hour or so, then he and his partner left. The barber finally got done cutting, but the next in the chair was the Arab gas station owner from across the street. I couldn’t catch the nationality, but the conversation was now stale, as I didn’t care about it. I wanted my hair cut! When he finished with him, some woman who’s relationship with the barber I didn’t really get into, came in with a dilemma. Was it heat or electricity getting cut off? Don’t know and don’t really care. An older white guy came in and waited in the back of the house to get his hair cut. I was very anxious, doing a mental map of where the other shop was at. Nothing came up, so I stayed put.

The Arab guy came back, bearing a big ol’ burger for the barber. He took it into the dining area of the small house with the female who brought the drama news. I could over hear them talking, trying to get some place from having the utilities shut off. There were details, but I WANTED MY HAIR CUT! The older white guy left, and I don’t blame him. Black people wonder why stereotypes still play well in mass media, and it is little snippets such as this, the time a white guy decides to give a black establishment a chance … now, would you be mad at the white man for spreading more doggerel about how we do business? How could you, when his EXPERIENCE has confirmed all the things he has heard?

Finally, the got that whatever, whatever ‘d. I sat in the chair, and he did his thing, and I just wanted to get it done. He over charged me for the cut - there is a sign advertising cuts for $7.00 … but even at the overcharge, it was less expensive if I had went to the other shop. But I made a ‘note to self’, because I figure the time that I spent, leaving at Five after arriving at Two, and watching him cut only one and a half heads, made me to some math … and my time was worth more than the money saved. Lesson learned.

I knew leaving that I did not have my newspaper. I did give a thought to stopping by the Arab’s gas station, but I thought better of it. Perhaps I dropped it, it fell out of my bag and I would see it on my way back home, as I had to retrace my route anyway. But I didn’t, and yesterday was a newspaper-less day. As frustrating as that was, it was nothing compared to the mouse maze that became the search for my running log!

By the time I got home, the Mookie was in. Lil’ Mook was at a basketball game at school. This is what has my ire up … possible moments left unfulfilled … but as I have explained to her REPEATEDLY that this is her call … I have told her how I feel and how I would like things to be. Can’t make anyone do what they won’t do, can you? So we milled about in an uncomfortable <But it is growing more comfortable by the day> silence. I broke it, when I asked if she had seen my running log?

For a cat who is often confused with being arrogant and self-centered, I don’t have any of the things that you would associate with someone who thought the world of themselves. I don’t have any worthwhile momentos from a lifetime of boxing. All the small things that you Mom keeps, your academic awards and transcripts, gone and lost. That I still have my marriage license is as much an accident than any feelings of nostalgia.

But I have managed to keep a log of my running and my boxing training for a good ten years, maybe more. I have grown attached to them, because when I read the times, the routes, I can see them and feel them … I look at where I have gone, and I am there. I can feel the weight of my opponent on against my body, grunting and digging with hooks to the body. I don’t have a scrapbook, I just have scraps. I was hurt that I could not find my running log. I could hardly imagine wanting to start another one if I had.

I found it, in one of the least likely of places, because it was in my gym bag and it isn’t supposed to be in there. When I saw it, the relief that I felt was enormous. I am not yet ready to be losing at anything just yet, not something that connects the threads in my mind. When I look at what I have done, I remember what I was doing. Had I not found that log book, so much of my life would have just gone dark.

Yes, I will be more careful with it!

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