Sunday, November 29, 2009

Last Night a DJ Saved My Life or Super Lesbian to the Rescue!

"Kenny Loggins is fucking dope!!!! Seriously"
That is a text I got at 1:42 Saturday afternoon from my best friend Brandi. She was driving the long 8 hours back from South Carolina clearly deep into song 3,124 of her 6000 songs on her ipod. Kenny Loggins? Really? Well to each his own.

I texted her back to see what time she would be home and to text me when she got in. I wanted to be sure she got home safe. She texts back asking if we were going to go out when she returned. Now let me just say that brandi shelton be playin with a chick's emotions. She knows good darn well she is not going to feel like going out after driving back from her folks house. But I haven't been out dancing in so long I jumped at the opportunity and crossed my fingers that she wouldn't back out when she got home. So I jumped on the internet to the hub of my entertainment information, facebook of course. I found out that DJ Jahsonic was going to be at Eighteenth Street Lounge. I first saw Jahsonic at Marvins on the Monday of Bassey Ikpi's birthday celebration Part Deux: The Eatonville and Marvins Edition. He played a mix of soul, R & B, classic hip-hop, and rare grooves. I woulda sweat my perm out if I had a perm! So I knew ESL was the place to be if he was going to be spinning there. And since brandi was currently pumpin the Kenny Loggins, I figured she would appreciate the variety.

I figured out what I was going to wear. I got these new jeans this weekend and with all the turkey and mac and cheese I ate this week, my ass looked PHENOMENAL in them. And I say that with the most humility I can muster.

So the night was so much fun! We got in and because of the crowd or management or both, Jahsonic was playing some housey, no lyric music. But we got in for half price (gotta appreciate that dredloc'd family hook-up), so we were going to have fun regardless. We head straight to the bar and decided it was going to be a Jack and Gingerale kind of night.

So much fun happens with my man Jack! So after a couple of cocktails we find a place to sit and take in the sights. Right at that same time Jahsonic starts playing the hell out of some music boy! Prince, Eurythmics, Run DMC. Everybody was jammin'. Brandi and I start dancing and singing. And because I must have "I date white boys" written on my forehead, random drunk ass white boy comes up and starts talking to me. As of this writing I have no idea what he was talking about. I know he said that he was Irish and thats why he was drunk. He kept saying how I was gorgeous, and that he didn't know how to dance. Yeah word to Plies. Just a P.S.A. public drunkenness is not cute.

Just as I had taken as much hugs and slurred words as I could from this dude, I take the opportunity to give Jahsonic the side eye to remind him about my song. He gave me a head nod and a hand shake and kept playin what he was playin. I should have known, the deejays I know hate it when you request songs. Side note: Jahsonic has the softest hands ever. What kind of moisturizer you use, son? I get back to my spot and I see brandi looking all pissed that I left her with the drunk dude. His posse is leaving so he tries his hand a little touchy feel feel before he goes. Um, no dude. not having it. Here's a hug for you and a hug from brandi, now get to steppin.

We keep dancing and decide to go to the other side of the room, just in case drunkey mcdrunkerson comes back. We get to our new spot and brandi tousels the hair of this dread as she walks by. Well, needless to say thats who she was dancing with for the rest of the evening. Me, I danced with the sweater vested, tie wearing Trini who was a good 3 or4 inches shorter than I was. Its not a problem. I'm pretty tall for a girl. So I'm used to being the same height or a smidge taller than dudes. But catch this. He uses the most fabulous short man pick up line ever on me. After we were dancing for a while he says in my ear, "I see you're not too tall to have a short conversation." Wow. No words. I don't know why I thought that was awesome, but it was. Like Brandi says, I'm a soft touch. We danced all night until the lights came on. I don't think thats happened since college.

Anyway night over, we race back to the garage where we were parked to retrieve the car. It was 2:56 and the garage closed at 3am. We get in the car and head back to Maryland. We get a couple of blocks and brandi says, OMG I think we're running out of gas. I look at her gas guage and it says she still has a quarter of a tank left. I said, "you can't be running out of gas. the guage says you still have some." Then I feel what she's talking about. The car isn't moving as she is pressing on the gas. It won't get beyond 2nd gear. We pull over to the side of the road. Ever the voice of reason, I say,"I think we can make it. Can't we make it to a gas station?" Okay not the best advice but to my defense I was 3 1/2 Jack n' Gingerales in.

Brandi decides not to risk it and instead moves into a parking spot on the side of K street. Okay here is the moment that all single girls dread. You're stuck on the side of the road, who do you call? I was for sure not going to call my Dad or my brother. Because even though I knew they would come, I sure as hell didn't want to get the lecture on the way home. So I called the only male person I know that would probably come and get us without to much of an attitude. And I say male, because I still am under the impression that there is certain things that are just male duties. Like taking out the trash, killing bugs, putting together furniture, and tonight: rescuing damsels in distress. So I call him, and: no answer. I text him: no answer. Brandi closes my phone in disgust and makes her phone call. Not a dude, but the next best thing. Someone you think of when you think of someone handy, take charge, and down for whatever at after 3am: a lesbian.

Yes, she has a name. No I'm not going to tell you. And she is much more than a lesbian she is brandi's home girl and clearly reliable. So after a phone call to wake her up and to let her know our situation, she is on the way to pick us up. And she arrives shortly later like an angel in a knit cap, blastin' Tupac's Thug Life in the car. She drives us home and kicks our drunk asses out when we get to the house. Yaaay, rescued! The next morning my would be knight in shining armour called to make sure we were ok. He had missed our call and slept through the text. I was glad he called to check on us. But happier that we were able to handle it ourselves.

The moral of the story: ladies, you don't need a man to bail you out of situations, all you need is a handy lesbian with access to a car.

Or Triple A, whatevs

Friday, November 27, 2009

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner! Thanksgiving 2009

I'm writing this knowing this will only be funny to my sister, brother, and other family members who were actually there to witness the hilarity.

So I roll up to the house sans children. My first Thanksgiving without the children. But one thing about family, they have a way of wrapping you up in their love and make everything alright.Anyways, I noticed my grandfather and his wife's car in the driveway. Great! I know there will be wine. His wife brought her son with her. Both puerto rican, they go back in forth in spanish. And she gives my grandfather the side eye every time he pours a glass of wine. She told him, "I can see the wine in your cheeks!" What the hell does that mean?

My mother has a very good relationship with my grandfather. He's not her real father, but the only one she knows. They have an awful abusive history, but as I said families have a way of letting time make everything all right. Its like they share this terrible secret, and they have to be nice to each other because you have to trust the keeper of the secrets. Bleh, this isn't funny at all.

On to the next. Okay, time to eat! My sister and her kids arrived with her parts of the meal. There was a flurry of work and movement before it was time to eat. I arrived with my fork and my apetite. And I of course sat on my ass the entire time. My neice and I conspired to get the turkey legs. My brother and my other neice always "call" the legs. So I let it be known that no more will the fair skinned Grays monopolize the turkey legs. I always try to make everything racial. Its funny because my neice is biracial (black and white), my mother is biracial (black and mexican) and my brother mysteriously light skinned for no particular reason. And of course my grandmother is puerto rican. So its the friggin U.N. up in this piece, but like my brother says, "we're all niggas". heeheee! He actually said that.

So the topic of conversation was about my sister who had invited her old high school friend over for dessert. Okay, a little back story. My sister dated this dude in high school, they reconnected through facebook. He started calling her regularly and came to visit. Holly realized that he wasn't as stable as she had hoped. He is pre-occupied with race (told holly about his black nanny who he was trying to get in touch with). He is socially awkward and often scripts future conversation. And we're pretty sure he's already planning his and holly's wedding.

Eventually, Holly left to go pick up said wack job. While she was gone Andre and I (step grandmother's son) kept talking about what was going to happen when he got here. We talked about scenarios where he accidentally might use the n word and then we would have to give him the beat down and toss him out. then Derek realized that we couldn't say the word either, cuz thats just awkward in front of white folks. And to let you know Derek is addicted to the N word. This is fitna be hilarious.

So Holly and strange boy arrived. I say strange boy really loosely cuz dude is 40 years old and looks damn near 50. Let me paint the picture. Picture a partially balding Dr. Evil in a 3 piece suit. Derek and I kept doing the scene where Dr. Evil tries to do the macarena (duka duka duka duka oh oh oh). He says as soon as he arrives, "Wow, here I am in the Gray household after 20 some years!" Like he's been waiting to be back in all 20 years. He says the same phrase like 30 times. "here I am back in the gray household after 20 years!" He sits himself next to Hannah and begins to tell her how she should consider going to college in Georgia because he lives there and he could be her benefactor of sorts.

Hello I believe I"m in the twilight zone!

Then he says, "you know I knew all of Martin Luther Kings speech by heart! But Holly didn't want me because of that. She wanted me because I was so cute and charming." At that point I fall out on the floor. Then he also proceeds to tell my niece that she is so exotic looking. And then to complete the awkward white guilt statements, he says, "my family and I have always color blind, saying a racial slur would be the only thing we would get in trouble for." At that point my brother comes over and whispers, "nigga, nigga, nigga" in my ear.

So here we are in the Obama era. Several races represented together in one family. And one awkward white boy, who makes the topic of conversation how different we all are and how he's totally okay with that. And it gives me the feeling that if someone would ever accuse him of racism, he would point to the fact that he was in a negro home for thanksgiving and how he was completely accepted as one of the family.
Man, I love Thanksgiving.

Oh and just a few other tidbits:
I spiked the holiday punch with vodka
Grandmother's son used to have a gold tooth which mysteriously disappeared, and my mom wondered if "he mighta sol' it"
Derek and I did the two step, poorly
My aunt pat did nothing funny whatsoever (darn) and came with a new set of teeth (fabulous)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Rose By Any Other Name

I dropped my married name off of my facebook last week. A small thing. But kind of a big deal for me. It was precipitated by me spending a good part of my morning with my former in-laws as we were having them take the yearly grandchild christmas photos. My mother-in-law does this every year. I appreciate her because most of the formal pictures of my kids, she has arranged. But it was awkward because just prior we had some back in forth that was kind of negative. The photo session went fine though. A little awkward but fine.

After the photo session I went to my parent's house which is the norm on Sundays. I felt so at home there. I laugh so much there. When I am there I am indeed a Gray. As I was leaving, I felt so overwhelmed by the joy that my family has when we're together juxtaposed to how awkward I had felt earlier, I decided then to change my name back. It was clear that I was no longer a Codrington.

One of the reasons I had kept my married name was the children. I didn't want them to think I was divorcing them along with their dad. Also, I felt self conscious being by myself with these two boys, I was afraid of the judgement I might face if people thought that I had children out of wedlock. Like I wanted to wear a shirt that said "I am divorced, not a single mom". But the reality of it is, I am a single mom. I am divorced and I am raising these boys alone. Part of me wants to change the boys last name too. But I know that is just selfish Michele talking. They are as much a part of him as they are of me.

So this is me. Celebrating little victories.

So hmm, what else is going on. Not much. I have two half written stories to finish. I haven't been in a very quiet space to finish them. Perhaps during the Thanksgiving break. I am enjoying where I'm at right now. Got in a comfortable groove of working, playing, caring, and creating. Try to do a bit of each thing every day.

I have been speaking alot to Fred. And by speaking I mean facebook chatting. Since he is far that is probably the only kind of communication we will do. At least for now. I don't know about him. But I am interested in finding out about who he is. He hides alot of himself. Its just a feeling that I get. I dunno. Maybe thats how people are meant to behave in the beginning. I kind of have gone the opposite route. I put myself so far out there, just so I can be proud of myself that I'm not self conscious about it. Its a way for me to win a bit. Because not so long ago I was embarrassed by every move I made.
Sometimes I get envious of folks who get to go off to different places. My responsibilities keep me pretty much stationary. But the one thing that this little life of mine has taught me, is that every day that I get up and move and grow is an adventure. I am responsible for two other lives besides my own. I almost was evicted, I was unemployed, I was employed again, I was married, I was divorced, I've moved on my own, I started playing the violin again, I write, I cook, I create. And on really wild days I laugh and I laugh and I date and I kiss. I drink mimosas, I play scrabble, I grab boys' natty hair, I have sex, and I bought a bed. This coming weekend I'm going to get new needles and yarn to start a new knitting project, and I've ordered some art supplies because I've decided I'm going to try my hand at collage and painting.
Quite an adventure I am on. Yes, I am happy with this life I am building for myself. And I'm excited to see what tomorrow will bring.
Michele Lee Gray: Mommy, writer, educator, sister, lover, friend, somebody's child, adventurer . . .