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What I’ll Pray For

As soon as someone proves the existence of god and proves he/she/it answers prayers, I’m going to pray I win millions of dollars in a super lottery and that my vagina self rejuvenates. Of course, If my prayer to win the money works then the prayers of all others wanting to win the lottery will work and so having a million dollars will be like having 50 cents. Oh well, at least my vagina will look spectacular!

Funny God

There Are Other Things To Do

Hubby and I hauled our asses away from our home and went to Berkeley this past Sunday. We’d hope to find a few reasonably priced mid-century pieces. I love furniture from that era, especially desks, hutches and credenzas, and hoped to  have found something that would fit into our small living room and be within our budget; that shit can be very expensive for something that ain’t antique.  While we didn’t find furniture we could use, we ended up stepping into this tiny, funky, neatly-cluttered antique shop on Ashby Avenue. We stayed a long time talking with the shopkeeper inside—an amusing, lively, talkative writer and amateur East Bay historian—while looking through his collection of kitschy knick-knacks, unbelievably ugly posters, art, and all sorts of wonderfully mind boggling memorabilia dating from the early 1900s to perhaps the late 1970s. We spent about an hour there, and took from the place pieces of the shopkeeper’s tales of bygone local kiddy television shows, and accounts of his life as a youngster in Contra Costa and Alameda counties in the 1950s. From the shopkeeper we’d purchased a  50-year old faded cookbook with images of well dressed, smiling white ladies holding grotesque looking  gelatin molds containing mayonnaise, celery and diced pimiento. We also bought a 32-page pamphlet called “Good Cooking,” which is written as a disguise to advertise the hell out of  Dr Pierce’s medical liquids and tablets. The good Dr. Pierce–who wasn’t a doctor—sold medicines to cure backaches, stomach and nervous disorders, bad skin, insomnia, halitosis, weight loss, nausea, fatigue and weaknesses… and as an aid to facilitate fertility in young married women.  Of course the good Dr Pierce’s  medicines were a huge success back in the day. Why?  His medicine contained morphine, that’s why! Of course there are days when I could use some of Dr. Pierce’s pills, and there are days I want to force feed them to others.

We left Berkeley hungry and so drove to Albany for a late lunch. We ate at the Little Star Pizza on Solano Avenue, a trendy looking place with a high Zagat rating, and crowds to match it. We stuffed our gullet with buffalo wings,  Caprese salad, thick crust pizza with anchovies, and got tipsy on alcohol and wine and talked about the history of ghost stories.

The Berkeley/Albany area has dozens of the best restaurants and bakeries in the bay area, and some of the best book shops too, along with live theatre, art galleries, museums, botanical gardens, boutiques, antique/mid century furniture shops, parks, architecture, and some really amazing grocery stores and farmers markets.  There’s so many places in Berkeley where one can see-read-taste-eat and drink some of the best-of-the-best in the country.
So, where were my fellow Berkeley visiting/living Negroes —excluding the ones living in the low income housing units in West Berkeley—on that fine sunny day? Well, I did see a single one here and there, but they were few and far in between.  It ain’t ofen I see anyone with brown skin whenever I’m at a live play or hanging out in at a bookstore.  Well, let me tell you were the Negroes of Berkeley were…hoards of them could be seen milling around or coming out of—drum roll please—church or McDonalds,  which are about the only two places in town that are full of shit.

Now I know I’m gonna hear:  “black people don’t have the money to go plays, eat at nice restaurants or spend their money at bookstores.”  Bullshit!  Go and sell some barbeque at a Tyler Perry movie. Not only will the theater run out of seats, all the damn barbeque will sell out as well.  

Don’t get me started talkin’ about how much money those church going, McDonald munching Negroes gave the  preacher that weekend, or how much they spent on hair straightening or skin lightening products, wigs, weaves, braids, nails, or shoes, or those colorful “thingy-thingys” they use by the dozens on their little girls hair.

Black folks have more dispensable income than most people think, but our motto seems to be “it is better to look well than to be well rounded.”

What Does It Mean?

I’ve been following the daily Facebook antics of my self-absorbed, bad-ass young relative. I’m fascinated and often puzzled by what and how much she reveals of herself online, so I felt compelled to write something about her.

Many times She has left a portion of Her questionable income in the hands of beauty supply owners; Her collection of cheap wigs and eye shadows  is impressive to those in Her circle.

Beware: that valuable trinket by your bedside is no longer there when She leaves your house, and in time your locked home may be opened by Her friends while you’re gone.  The belonging of others are hidden while She’s on her way…there.

Her education is poor, Her language is bad, Her friends are numerous and Her multiple children have fathers who do not visit them anymore.  She will choose Her new man by the pristine condition of his expensive sport shoes and the amount of money and open bottles of Tequila he displays on Facebook.

Her housing is subsidized where the rent is low and crime is high, and Her favorite cheap white wine is bought at a little store around the corner from Her house, where flirtatious men with red eyes and dark yellow teeth stand outside and drink from cans and bottles wrapped in small, brown paper bags.

Her new man She calls “boo,”  Her old man She calls “a dog,”, Her girlfriends and girl enemies She calls “bitches,”  and Her mother She calls when She needs a babysitter.

She loves Her children and dresses them well, and every weekend when She goes out clubbing , She leaves them with those who love them too.

She has stayed some months in jail, guilty of robbery in order to buy “those shoes” and “that hair” and to hear her friends ask “how much did that cost?”

On Her chest and arms are 4 or 5 tattoos, fading like shadows drawn with a black Sharpie marker on Her dark brown skin.

She’s a self proclaimed bad girl, She’s volatile and an alpha woman, and every day a few female followers must tell Her how beautiful She looks in Her new wig, lipstick and huge drugstore earrings.

I don’t know what She means when in anger She calls someone else “ghetto”.

Please God, Will You Do This For Me?

Dear God,

Please bring down the murder rate of young men in St Louis; Oakland, Calif; New Orleans, LA; Detroit, Mich;  Richmond, CA;  Baltimore, MA, to anywhere from 0 to 20 for one just one year…oh wait, you don’t grant that type of request…ever.

Okay, how about this: please God, make most of the people in the hood speak and write well in English, so they may be able to get jobs, or better paying  jobs, and be able to teach and take better care of their children…oh wait, you don’t do that type of thing either. Hmmm…

Then, God, please make people in the hood stop spending their extra money on hair weaves, wigs, lottery tickets, manicures, pedicures, tattoos, grills, body piercings, night clubbing, cheap alcohol, drugs and guns, and instead spend their money on educational books and tutorials, savings accounts, museum tickets, science exhibits,  vasectomies, condoms, swimming lessons, and yearly vacations with their kids—vacations to exclude trips to big Mama’s house in some damn poe-ass town, or to Chuck E Cheese…Oh, wait!  What was I thinking, that’s not your thing, is it God? Sorry for asking. Well, let me try another…uhh…

God, will you make young baby papas and mamas stop saying they take care of their kids when in fact their kids are being cared for by a combination of subsidized housing (projects/Section 8), food stamps, Grandma, Medi-Cal, the streets, day care, i.e, public schools; and television. Oh wait! Sorry God, you don’t do those kinds of requests, either. My bad,

Okay, God, here’s a good one…how about you make parents replace child beating with common sense dialogue and disciplinary reasoning in order to correct misbehavior. Opps…oh, wait. That won’t work either, will it God, because you advocate not sparing the rod on children, and misbehaving women should be stoned (see the book of Deuteronomy), so it ain’t like you’re against hurting or killing the weak (children) and unclean (women having periods and/or not being virgins), for being weak and unclean.

Please God, make black people stop going to church…oh, wait…

2nd Grade Level Adults

So sad that many on “my Facebook” page can’t read nor write above a 2nd grade level.  Some believe they’re excluded from the best jobs because their skin is dark. Perhaps that is the case…sometimes.  But more often than not their lack of education is blocking their access to gainful employment. For example, they see nothing wrong with the sentences I’ve enclosed in brackets. Who would hire and pay them well? I wouldn’t. [We went to there house because they had you’re stolen furniture their. Your coming with us, right? Don’t be afraid, there not going to hurt you. I’m glad you’ve changed you’re mind and are coming with us.]

RIDING AMTRAK


I travel about 70 or so miles by train about once a month to visit my son and his family. On my most recent trip the following messages were delivered by the conductor via the on-board intercom. Please sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.

“Do You Have a Ticket”?

“We will be collecting tickets in just a few minutes. Please have your tickets out and available for us to collect. You must have a ticket to ride this train. Now I’m a real nice train conductor, but I can get real ugly with people who don’t have their tickets before boarding.  If you don’t have your tickets I’ll have to force you to pay extra for a boarding fee. So, if you don’t have a ticket, you need to get off right now, go into the station and get a ticket. You must have a ticket if you wish to ride this train. If you have luggage with you on the train it must not be placed in the seat nor in or near the isle. We need to keep the isle clear and free of luggage, and extra seats must remain available for other passengers.  I repeat, do not place your luggage or any other items in the isle. The isles must be keep clear of your personal items.”

(about a minute later)

“You need to have a ticket if you want to ride this train. If you don’t have a ticket get off this train, cross the tracks and purchase a ticket in the train station. Anyone whose final destination is not:  [she mentions the  6 or so towns in which the train will stop]…must get off of the train NOW.  This train will be leaving the station in 5 minutes. ”

(about a minute later)

“We will be collecting tickets shortly. Have your tickets signed and out and available for us to collect. You must have a ticket to ride this train. If you don’t have a ticket you cannot ride this train. This train is for ticket holding passengers only. Visitors must leave the train NOW.  Each passenger must have a valid ticket.  If you are not at your seat, please return to your seat NOW so that we may collect your ticket.”

Whew!
——————————————————————————————–
Another Amtrak, Another Day

“Shut the F*%k Up”

Me (seated near  a  couple of passengers who are talking excessively loud on their cell phones. An Amtrak staff person is nearby and I stop him.):

“Excuse me sir, I was hoping to getting a little writing done and was wondering if there was a ‘Quiet Car’ on this train?”

He: (Amtrak staff ) “This will be a ‘Quiet Car’ if you stop talking.”

—————————————————————————————

Another Amtrak, Another Day

“Throw Mama Off The Train”

She:  (Train employee, shoulders erect, hands behind back, and cap pulled down, almost covering her eyes. She lifts her head at an authoritative angle and looks down at me.)

“Where’s your ticket? You aren’t supposed to be on this train without a ticket?” Her face is almost expressionless.

Me: “I’m sorry but I was told I could buy my ticket aboard the train.”

She: (train employee) “ I don’t like giving out tickets on the train. You know,…” she says in a low, but menacing tone as she slowly sits down next to me.  She folds her arms and sends her gaze to front of the train and keeps it there, “…I can have you thrown of this train if I want to…for not having a ticket. How do you think it would feel to suddenly be off this train?”

——————————————————————————————

Amtrak, Another Day

“Silent Night”

He: (train personnel) Stands to my left, looking down at me, saying nothing. Clearly, it ain’t his day.

Me: “Would you like my ticket?

He: “Yeah”, he exhales quite audibly, then takes my ticket, punches it, then leaves.

——————————————————————————————–

Another Amtrak, Another Day

“Don’t Worry, I’m Coming”

Me: Standing at the head of a small, but growing line at the onboard café counter, waiting for the  “Café Staff Person”—who is quietly wiping the café counter—to take my order.

The “Café Staff Person” turns his back to the line customers, leaves the café and disappears into the next car. After about 2-3  minutes another Amtrak employee walks by us and someone in line stops him and asks if he knows  what happened to the “Café Staff Person.” The employee tells us that “Café Staff Person” is on his break and will return in about 15 minutes.
————————————–
Another Amtrak, Another Day

“X Marks the Spot”

Angry Train Employee: “Your ticket isn’t signed. You see right there, that’s where you are supposed to sign and it isn’t signed?  You must always sign the ticket before you board the train or the ticket is no good to me.”

Me:  Signing the ticket and wondering when Amtrak change their policy and tickets had to be signed.

————————–

“ALL ABOARD AND ENJOY YOUR RIDE WITH AMTRAK”

Poop Town

I moved to this shitty little town about 10 years ago because I wanted to get away from the big city bullshit…to escape the frequent sounds of emergency vehicle and police sirens, honking horns, and passing motor vehicles emitting  boom-booming-bone-rattling rap music. I wanted to get away from the dirty, crowded streets, buses and  hoards of shoppers and commuters, the police, beggars, and crime. I wanted  to move to where grocery stores, gas stations and emergency medical treatment providers were within walking distance.  I wanted more access to parking without coin guzzling parking meters, without street sweeping  day warning signs, which I often misread and subsequently given a $40 reminder by an angst ridden parking enforcement officer. I wanted to live in an area largely populated by pockets of open spaces filled with wild flowers, colorful birds, and dense patches of trees—trees and fields where my dog could poop unseen and  I could get away with leaving it there. So I bought an affordable home where windows display views of squirrels scrambling through trees  instead of neighbors scrambling away, pretending they weren’t watching me doing stuff I had no business doing with the blinds open.  I wanted to belong to a community where nary a street person asked me for spare change all the time as though I was a coin bank offering free withdrawals with no deposits.

I blame time for changing my perception  of small town utopia. Time opened my brown eyes and I began to see this town as is: the overpopulation of super-sized SUVs with lone passengers pulling into KFC drive thrus, I see the whiter-than- white police officers who’d seem to get a hard on shining their blinding flashlight beams into the eyes of brown-skinned people caught walking at night.  I see this town’s grocery stores with big ass shopping carts being pushed by morbidly obese people wearing Walmart clothing and Payless shoes, who fill their kitchens with Swanson’s frozen dinners, margarine, bologna, diet sodas, American cheese, and Budweiser.   I am forced to look at my community of boxed-hedged lined “identi-houses”… it’s what I call indistinguishably themed dwellings that take the “unique” out of uniqueness.  Sadly, the homes in this town were built to showcase the occupants ability to accommodate two to four cars in a garage, thus little thought went into exterior color, landscaping, style, diversity, and artistic self expression.

This town holds too many dogs whose owners—adverse to walking themselves when there is Fox News, wrestling and infomercials to be watched– release their canines  to wander alone in the streets  where they deposit mounds of soft, pungent matter on the sidewalks for night walkers like me to leave footprints in. Their big fucking, animal factory purebreds don’t have the same charm to their owners  they once did as cute little puppies, so they are relegated to the backyard during the day then let out in the evening  to leave huge clumps of post-digested bargain basement kibble with essence of meat-by-product on the streets, sometimes right next to the walnut-sized wild turkey shit and other mystery animal shit piles (raccoons, possums, skunks?).

Gone about a year ago was the town’s only non-Christian bookstore —the unoriginal franchised type, which I greatly miss.  That bookstore was my only in-town nighttime escape, now it has been replaced by another mega store food outlet supplying the masses with high fructose corn syrup products, canned foods  and fatty bargain meats.  But do we need a bookstore in a town where most  people  seem to favor literature found at supermarket checkout stands? There seems to be little interest  here in reading books about people or places who aren’t on reality television or on Oprah.

Gone too is the nearby emergency treatment hospital, its buildings left vacant thanks to rising health care cost and the massive number of  the uninsured and, of course, by the monopolizing influence of Kaiser Hospitals.

Sometimes I dine out in places where the patrons have no desire to smother their discriminating taste buds with chow from Chili’s, Sizzlers, Applebees or Outback, which means I have to go back to the big city where I’m confronted by beggars, street people, strange smells and blasting car stereos.  But I don’t much mind all of that these days, in fact I sometimes find the unpredictability of it refreshingly welcomed. Unlike my small town, individuality in the big city is embraced, and its bookstores and restaurants are often as varied as the people who own them, and its where I enjoy getting lost in a sea of  “un-sameness.”

So, why do I still live in this shitty, little homogonous town?  Because although my home has never been worth much, it is now worth a lot less than what I owe on it. So one day I may just walk out of my home for good and accept the consequence.  However when I do move, my hope is to relocate outside of this violent, close-minded,  fanatically religious, corporate-owned  “God blessed” country.

Poop Town

I moved to this shitty little town about 10 years ago because I wanted to get away from the big city bullshit…to escape the frequent sounds of emergency vehicle and police sirens, honking horns, and passing motor vehicles emitting  boom-booming-bone-rattling rap music. I wanted to get away from the dirty, crowded streets, buses and  hoards of shoppers and commuters, the police, beggars, and crime. I wanted  to move to where grocery stores, gas stations and emergency medical treatment providers were within walking distance.  I wanted more access to parking without coin guzzling parking meters, without street sweeping  day warning signs, which I often misread and subsequently given a $40 reminder by an angst ridden parking enforcement officer. I wanted to live in an area largely populated by pockets of open spaces filled with wild flowers, colorful birds, and dense patches of trees—trees and fields where my dog could poop unseen and  I could get away with leaving it there. So I bought an affordable home where windows display views of squirrels scrambling through trees  instead of neighbors scrambling away, pretending they weren’t watching me doing stuff I had no business doing with the blinds open.  I wanted to belong to a community where nary a street person asked me for spare change all the time as though I was a coin bank offering free withdrawals with no deposits.

I blame time for changing my perception  of small town utopia. Time opened my brown eyes and I began to see this town as is: the overpopulation of super-sized SUVs with lone passengers pulling into KFC drive thrus, I see the whiter-than- white police officers who’d seem to get a hard on shining their blinding flashlight beams into the eyes of brown-skinned people caught walking at night.  I see this town’s grocery stores with big ass shopping carts being pushed by morbidly obese people wearing Walmart clothing and Payless shoes, who fill their kitchens with Swanson’s frozen dinners, margarine, bologna, diet sodas, American cheese, and Budweiser.   I am forced to look at my community of boxed-hedged lined “identi-houses”… it’s what I call indistinguishably themed dwellings that take the “unique” out of uniqueness.  Sadly, the homes in this town were built to showcase the occupants ability to accommodate two to four cars in a garage, thus little thought went into exterior color, landscaping, style, diversity, and artistic self expression.

This town holds too many dogs whose owners—adverse to walking themselves when there is Fox News, wrestling and infomercials to be watched– release their canines  to wander alone in the streets  where they deposit mounds of soft, pungent matter on the sidewalks for night walkers like me to leave footprints in. Their big fucking, animal factory purebreds don’t have the same charm to their owners  they once did as cute little puppies, so they are relegated to the backyard during the day then let out in the evening  to leave huge clumps of post-digested bargain basement kibble with essence of meat-by-product on the streets, sometimes right next to the walnut-sized wild turkey shit and other mystery animal shit piles (raccoons, possums, skunks?).

Gone about a year ago was the town’s only non-Christian bookstore —the unoriginal franchised type, which I greatly miss.  That bookstore was my only in-town nighttime escape, now it has been replaced by another mega store food outlet supplying the masses with high fructose corn syrup products, canned foods  and fatty bargain meats.  But do we need a bookstore in a town where most  people  seem to favor literature found at supermarket checkout stands? There seems to be little interest  here in reading books about people or places who aren’t on reality television or on Oprah.

Gone too is the nearby emergency treatment hospital, its buildings left vacant thanks to rising health care cost and the massive number of  the uninsured and, of course, by the monopolizing influence of Kaiser Hospitals.

Sometimes I dine out in places where the patrons have no desire to smother their discriminating taste buds with chow from Chili’s, Sizzlers, Applebees or Outback, which means I have to go back to the big city where I’m confronted by beggars, street people, strange smells and blasting car stereos.  But I don’t much mind all of that these days, in fact I sometimes find the unpredictability of it refreshingly welcomed. Unlike my small town, individuality in the big city is embraced, and its bookstores and restaurants are often as varied as the people who own them, and its where I enjoy getting lost in a sea of  “un-sameness.”

So, why do I still live in this shitty, little homogonous town?  Because although my home has never been worth much, it is now worth a lot less than what I owe on it. So one day I may just walk out of my home for good and accept the consequence.  However when I do move, my hope is to relocate outside of this violent, close-minded,  fanatically religious, corporate-owned  “God blessed” country.

The Cat’s Gift

While reading the posts of young women on Facebook, many of whom are related to me—and who are in the habit spreading their legs for men who’d qualify for “The World’s Most Ineligible Bachelors Contest”, if there were such a thing— I’m reminded of a conversation I had some time ago with an acquaintance of mine: a young, single woman I’ve known for years. To me she expressed her dissatisfaction with the types of men she’d been dating. She said to me, “The men I meet don’t do anything exciting… it gets boring”. I asked her, “What is it you do for fun? What are your hobbies?” Her response was, “Nothing at the moment.”  She’s like many of the women in my family, who’ll pray for the right lover to come into their lives…and stay awhile, but it’s unlikely any of them will ever become involved with a respectable, loving, and kind man because they themselves are “inactive”. They don’t read or write much, don’t travel too far, paint or draw, they don’t see plays, and they don’t know much about art, history, current or world events; their lives are predictable and dull. In the end they will do what most of the women in my family do eventually: settle for what they can get, which ain’t nothing much better than what the cat dragged in half dead and left behind on floor. We are with the person we deserve to be with.