Archive | June, 2012

Beautiful Auntie

30 Jun

The other night I went for Indian with my friend Nealy and her baby.

Cool story, right?

There’s more, hold on. So, we went to India House on Division. I went to India House once in….2008. When we walked into the restaurant, it was empty except the owner, Tony. Who looked at me and said, “You haven’t been here in SO LONG. Where have you been?”

And I was all…umm…working? I’ve been working a lot. Since 2008.

I can’t fathom that anyone would remember me for a space longer than…4 minutes. But I do have a Large Black Tattoo and it is sort of an identifying mark, so maybe he did. Maybe he did.

Throughout our meal, he told me has 3 children and 4 cars. Women ask him to get them pregnant a lot, but he refuses because he’s a gentleman. He asked my name and then played me an Indian love song that contained a word that sort of sounded like, you know, my name. Then he gave me his phone number and said he would take me to India or Ohio, whichever. He would come over and make me samosas, or whatever.

And he kept telling the poor baby, who Nealy and I were holding in tandem while shoving food in our faces, that he had such a beautiful auntie, such a lovely nice auntie who would surely call Uncle Tony one of these days.

I paid in cash.

The Promised Land

27 Jun

If there is one thing that is true about me, it’s that I love my father. So much. Every writer has one person who acts as her audience of one and my father is that audience.He would horse whip me if he ever read half of what I’ve written and that’s okay. There are days I feel like every good decision I make is for him.

My father was born in the American South. He was raised in poverty and educated in a failing, broken school system where corporal punishment and institutionalized racism were the status quo. He left Mississippi when he was a very young man and has lived a life that would make my hair curl. And though he came North and fell in love with my crazy Yankee mama, my family’s culture is largely Southern. The way we talk, the foods we eat, and many of our traditions come straight from his upbringing in Mississippi. And, you guys, I would not have it any other way.

To say that I cannot extricate my political feelings about the American South from my feelings for my father and my familial culture is…putting it very lightly.

There is a lot wrong with the American South, to an extent that I cannot imagine. And I’ve lived there. My pediatrician had racially divided waiting rooms. My older sister’s private school had two bus systems – one for white kids and one for black kids – in the early 1980s. That ish is effed, you know? The poverty that exists in rural Southern states is…astounding. My father says, and I believe him, that there are areas where slavery still exists – one way or another. There are studies and polls – trust me, I read them – where X amount of people in any given Southern state don’t believe in interracial marriage or gay marriage or having a mixed race President. It embarrasses me and breaks my half-Yankee heart. Where I grew up, the banks were closed to celebrate the birth of Jefferson Davis. For those of you not playing War of Northern Aggression at home, Jefferson Davis was the President of the Confederacy. Yeah. There is a lot deeply wrong with this region.

But even for all of this, I cannot turn my back on this part of the country. And it’s not just about grits and rocking chairs on porches. I am not a stupid person,even if I am sentimental. I have an old, distant friend who hates the South with a fervor that I usually reserve for war criminals and my ex-husband. And he says, fuck it. Leave them be, let them be their own shitty country. It can’t be fixed and he can’t be bothered. Which is fine, since he has never been further South than Chicago. For what it’s worth (nothing), I have seen more Confederate flags in Michigan than I saw in Mississippi. There are bad, sick people everywhere.

I am so hesitant to turn my back on the South, out of love and also out of…fear. When you leave sick people alone, they get worse. This a sickness created and perpetuated by poverty, racism, isolation, and perverse tradition. If you let them be – the people responding to the polls saying interracial marriage is wrong and buying the Confederate flags and doing all manner of awful things – it’s giving in. To them and the children they will raise to be exactly like them. It’s also a big Fuck You to the people who happen to live in the South who also happen to be normal, sane people working hard, raising families. You know, people like you.

I don’t know what kind of outreach you do in this situation. I have exactly zero answers. I know the ills of the South cannot be masked with pecan pie and pork belly, or even my sweet father. I also know that now is not the time to step away and feel smug.

And Then There Were None

24 Jun
Someone asked me recently how many dates I had been on since la divorce and I was like, I don’t know, all of them?  Turns out it was only 23, which at once seems like not enough and entirely too fucking many. For your schadenfreude:
  1. Josiah – Cute vegan, ended up trying to hustle me into a threesome with his friend Reina on our second date.
  2. Kelly, aka Guy With A Girlfriend – Name pretty much sums it up, also he had 7 kids.
  3. Chris – First ever Internet date. Talked most of the time about his deep depression.
  4. Aramis – See my dating videos for more about this fucking guy. TERRIBLE.
  5. Scott – Art teacher / tattoo artist (swoon, right?) ended up being a little more married than I was comfortable with, also was a bit short.
  6. Sean – This one might be out of order chronologically. Met him during my one month of eharmony trauma. Bearded, drove a truck, was “only going on first dates for a while.”
  7. Patrick – Oh man, super cute. Moved away after our first date (rather conveniently, I think) but I managed to harass him via text for roughly a year after. I am his horrible dating story.
  8. Hobo Mark – I’ve talked about him before, he is on the run from the law I think. He ALSO “moved away.”
  9. Joel – Dickfarm clarinet player
  10. Kalamazoo Joe – Slightly nervous but outdoorsy guy. Brought me a baby watermelon on our first date, but then got weird about me being divorced. Next.
  11. Cody – Two dates…also two DUIs. Wore a man ring. Sings a lot of karaoke. Didn’t go on a third date because I liked someone else I was seeing more.
  12. Hobo Nick – Semi-blind redhead in Chicago. Stopped seeing Cody I was so smitten with this guy. He ended up getting arrested at Occupy Chicago which makes a long distance relationship hard also he was sort of homeless. If I’m being honest, he technically ended things.
  13. Hot Chocolate – Some dorky but very nice guy that I barely remember. We met for coffee, he got hot chocolate, I lost what little interest I had in him.
  14. Lucas – Unbearably good looking carpenter. 2 dates. Disappeared. Would see him again in a heartbeat, shaming myself and Gloria Steinem at the same time.
  15. Bo – Lispy redhead with lots of tattoos. Told me he thought his brother might be a serial killer.
  16. Mike – My record of 7 dates! He was kind of a dick but in a very subtle way. I told him I didn’t want to see him again after he called me a whore (again, in a very subtle way) and he was not bothered by this at all.
  17. Matt? – Very nice single dad, talked a lot about his “crazy” baby mama. This date was equally awkward for both of us, we just acted like it NEVER HAPPENED. Forgot his name because I’m a jerk I guess.
  18. Another Chris? – Total head case. Wanted me to talk in detail about my divorce, and then talked about all his phobias including lack of napkins and getting food on his face.
  19. Nat – Two dates. Similar in name and looks to my ex-husband. Wanted to spend the summer riding his bicycle, hence no third date.
  20. Accordion player – Had a great mustache. I got the distinct impression I disappointed him. Forgot his name so I guess he disappointed me too? I don’t know.
  21. Nick – Former chef. Super cute, great tattoos, talked about himself a lot. Disappeared. Meh.
  22. Dustin – Totally enjoyable time, totally homosexual date.
  23. Brett – He counts as 22.5 because he came to pick me up and I wouldn’t even leave with him. The old ‘here’s a pic of me from 5 years ago looking the best I have ever looked’ trick actually got me this time.

What Else Is Left?

17 Jun

My father always said he was the nicest person I should ever hope to meet. Sometimes when I was a little girl I thought to myself Lord, I hope not because he was sometimes a hard man and never, ever took any shit. But I’m older now and I know that he is the best person, any which way, that I will ever meet. What else is there to say? He has taught me how to accept love, and he is the reason I know that everything will be okay.

Leaving Here For Sure

10 Jun

I have lived here for such a long time. I met my husband here. My heart was broken in this city. I built a life and watched it burn down. I built it up again, but it hasn’t been the same. I know it’s time for me to go, but I am fighting. I wanted so badly for this to be my home.

I went to the beach today. I was with a friend, who does not love me like a sister but as more of a help mate. I sat alone on the sand. I sat alone in Lake Michigan, playing in the water where I learned to swim. It was so cold! The waves nudged me and I laughed. I was alone and very happy. And everything was fine, just fine. I know that wherever I go, I will be alone. I am alone when I don’t feel enough love. I am alone because I like dark, cool corners and keeping my own silly company. I am alone because my people are gypsies and we cannot rely on proximity to feed our bonds, to keep us together.

I am leaving. I don’t know when. It might not be for a long while, because I’m afraid. But I will find a new beach. And I will be alone. And it will be fine, as it has ever been and, Lord help me, ever will be.

Video

When We Had the Chance

1 Jun

If my parents saw this it would be a deal breaker but HEY WHITE WINE YOU GUYS.