See this is what I'm talking about.
Clear the aisles for another clearance sale, folks. I'm not sure yet who's to blame, but we got a problem.
So I'm in the suburbs the other day, down at the Walmart. I'm in the negro hair care aisle, perusing the bright ethnic packaging in search of a pre-emptive strike against the summer frizzies, when I notice I have guests.
It's White Mom and Hot Mess Mixed Daughter. Mom's telling HMMD that she needs something for her hair. Shampoo I guess. HMMD is beside me, looking aimlessly at the vast rainbow of Just For Me products.
White Mom: "That's the one you got last time, honey."
HMMD: ::whining something I can't quite make out::
I'm the type that in public, instead of staring, unless you speak to me I pretend you're not there, because that's the golden rule. But I couldn't resist.
Oh.My.Lawd. The child's HEAD! I gasp inside. Ok, like, you know back in the day when you cut your baby doll's hair and left it with what stylists today call "layers"? Well, HMMD is beyond that. She has a untamed upsweep...a hurricane of a ponytail that appears to have been dropped like Rikers mess hall slop onto a prison tray, ie...the side/top of her head. Straightish stray hairs stretch from said pony, splayed like whore's legs, all across her head. I know there's a rubber band or thin scrunchy buried in there somewhere.
She was a few hours out of the pool, I'm certain of it...just like her wash-and-go white mommy at her age... who would go from diving board to driving home, without a care in the hair care world.
Oh I peeped White Mom's steez too...mid-late 30s, antsy, homely, battling the bulge, auburn haired, smart aleck-know it all, who now, 8 years later wishes she had listened when her parents warned her hot azz about spreading her legs for that colored boy Leon. But White Mom's healing and dating again, and enjoys dropping off her daughter as her Nana's.
Because had the girl's father been around... had he not threatened to kill White Mom if she ever brought the girl around his mother, then poor HMMD would not have been in public looking this way. Black Paternal Big Momma woulda slapped some plaits on the brat and whupped her HMM azz for cutting 'Rachel from Friends' bangs. And mind you, we're not talking Marriah Carey texture here...shorty has India Arie hair.
The entire time I'm standing there I consciously check my body language...unfold my arms from my chest, and replace my 'shut the fcuk up $7 for some gel' scowl with a sunny disposition... a smile even. Couldnt get more non-threatening than me. And yet, White Mom does not acknowledge me.
So White Mom leaves HMMD in the aisle to select her grease or shampoo or whatever. I see her looking bewildered, as if she has never in her life seen a little black girl on a bottle...and God forbid that she could in any way identify with little bottle black girl . So I make my move.
Sweet Sistagirl Wise: "You looking for shampoo, sweetie?"
I felt so proud of myself for conveying such a genuine attempt and intent to rescue and serve. I was really touched by this moment, one I knew she wouldnt soon forget...two generations of black women from different walks of life, bound by a common goal... shopping for grease in the discount retail evil empire. I leaned in, hoping to ease her distress, lending a knowing smile, and a helping hand. Maybe even an eager ear if necessary.
And with that, the lil heffa ran off.
I mean, like Flo Jo, arms pumping, feet in a flurry...out of ethnic hair care aisle.
And with that, I grabbed my Motions leave-in and bounced.
Now before you jump down my throat with personal stories of strong white mothers of strong black daughters, I know plenty of them myself.
Before you say maybe she was rightfully taught not to talk to strangers, hear me when I say she ran like she saw Beloved standing in that aisle.
But if you want to know why Darnell and Becky pushing a stroller into The Children's Place sometimes gives me pause...Scared Shitless Hot Mess Mixed Daughter in Walmart is why.