See y'all over there. Bring a bottle or something...
|Hands down the best subway system I've been on. No rats!!|
|An unimpressive DJ in an even more unimpressive Leicester Square club.|
|And I really didnt feel silly for being a clique.|
|Nope, didnt go on the Eye. Mine are large enough.|
|Big Ben actually refers to the huge bell, but the clock and tower are what we normally think of.|
|Imagine getting married HERE instead of your lil AME church home.|
|RIP That Bottle|
As my eyes first strained to keep up with the scroll across the screen, I immediately knew what he said (duh) and how he said it (unfortunately). Since I wasn’t watching the game that night, I was delighted to finally see the video (thanks, Dan)…yikes:
One of the best parts of watching sports is the real shit that TV cameras often pick up by accident: errant snot, a scrotum shift, a trip and fall, offbeat trash talk. If you’ve ever been to a game in person and sat close enough to be sprinkled by a player’s sweat or even just felt the static cling of their almost psychotic game-time energy, you’ve been privy to some prime (primal?) entertainment.
But there was truly nothing funny about Kobe’s dialogue. So it was hard to chuckle when listening to sports radio today to hear callers weigh in with all manner of oblivious opinions. Though there was a remarkably diverse set of comments expressed, both for and against the $100k fine, what struck me was that most people were not willing to concede that the great offense was that he spewed a gay slur.
“He shouldn’t be cursing at a ref; that’s an authority figure and a lot of players have been fined for badmouthing refs.”
“The cameras caught him and ‘the groups’ are upset, so I get that (NBA Commissioner) Stern had no choice but to punish him.”
“$100,000? For saying what a lot of people say?? That’s not right.”
"Kenyan Martin threatened to KILL Mark Cuban. What was he fined??"
Heat of the moment—I get it—this is how people get when they’re upset—yes, I know…but son was at his place of business, and never mind that Carl the Camera Guy was on the case.
And God forbid I point out that calling someone a “fucking faggot” is fucking vile.
People use this word everywhere, feel no remorse about it, know it’s probably wrong to say to someone who is actually gay, but don’t give it much thought otherwise. I actually buy the idea that people still don’t know better, and that they may not see anything wrong with saying it. But this is precisely why a steep fine and no-tolerance approach is necessary. Not just to make a point, but to make a statement…that THAT statement is not fucking acceptable. This, my gay-as-in-happy friends, is how you help make that point publicly to the recesses of the Bible belt, Midwest and beyond.
Inevitably, the obvious “nigga” analogy was all over this one.
“Kevin Garnett was caught on camera saying the same thing AND the n-word and nothing happened to him.”
“These young guys say it where they come from so it’s not a big deal.”
I don’t see why a conversation about offensive language always has to veer left onto Martin Luther King Blvd and include nggas and their ngga shit, so I don’t want this post to make a wrong turn into the hood either. But I will say that I find it counterproductive for folks to allow hood ass shit to permeate institutions that are meant to uplift. Like (
HBCUs) college, for example. What sense does it make to let a kid come to your school if you’re going to stoop to the level of their high school in an effort to “reach them,” rather than teach them that it’s in fact not ok to wear pajamas and Timbs to class.
If you’re a professional, act like one. And indeed Mamba Sauce did just that this morning (brought to you by Adidas), and is to be commended for taking responsibility as the face of the League should.
Whether or not YOU think so using the word 'faggot' is indeed offensive and there should be no tolerance in the matter. I applaud the League for making a swift and …stern response and I think the amount was appropriate. Just because you don’t agree that it’s not THAT bad, doesn’t mean it isn’t. Maybe you should reevaluate why you don’t think so, rather than accusing the NBA of pandering to the LGBT community. And what the fuck is so wrong with that anyway??
Also, suggesting that because past offenses like Garnett's in '08 weren't punishable that this one shouldn't be either are valid. However, as our society grows and progresses, much like these athletes do, it is to be assumed and even expected that changes will be made, views will have shifted and interpretations of precedents set will be reevaluated accordingly. Bringing up old shit only serves to shift the conversation from the actual, albeit difficult, issue at hand. We should always be asking, 'What have we learned? How do we proceed?'
Asking whether Kobe would have been fined if Camera Guy had caught him saying “fucking nigger,” is a whole other conversation, and it does little to analyze this one. I believe in a case-by-case basis on issues that venture into cultural grey areas.
My question: Why is it so hard for folks to acknowledge that there is in fact something wrong with making slurs against gay people? Is it because so many of us do it without a second thought?
Will this ever be fucking settled?
Broadway: “He would have never got on that train if he knew you would’ve blown him. And I hurt for him for not knowing.”
Wise: “I would have. Unequivocally. But he would have left still, albeit fully aroused. Undoubtedly. And that’s why I am absolutely smitten.”
It reminded me immediately of this spot on Greene Street that I used to go to all the time when I first moved to the City. Except on this night in 2011 the city was London, not New York circa ‘99, though I was quickly drawing a convincing comparative analysis between the metropoli. Located in the Trans-Atlantic analogous neighborhood of Soho, my company usurped my rapt attention.
If I was a younger me, still beholden to the imagined shackles of what-ifery, I would have taken solid and copious mental notes. I’d remember not only the name of the drink that made us both pause in pure delight, but the pleasing ingredients. Instead, I blocked access to the left lane of my brain, the one leading to mindless infatuation, and instead focused on the components that helped us settle into a comfortably relaxed and disciplined conversation: equal parts liquor, laughs, and lust.
Back in the Greene St. days, conversations with a handsome young man would veer ultimately toward career: How long you been in NY? Where did you go to school? Where do you work? Tell me about the company you just started. But fast forward a decade and these convos almost always take the scenic route through a discussion about relationships: Do you date? Is marriage on your radar? I thought everyone wanted kids. Though the talk has shifted, the Vaseline effect of whatever liquor is flowing hasn’t changed.
Have you ever met a famous person and been dumb confused about what the fuck just happened? Like, when you discover that dude from TV who is mad fine is also mad midgety.
Better yet, what about how making real-life introductions with old internet buddies is NEVER, ever what you imagined. They’re not as funny or sexy, the conversation not as fluid when spoken words replace LOLs and #weirdcatchphrasesyallthinkyallmadeup, and they have a nervous tick that was impossible to detect even via Skype. This was not that. The evening began in the hotel lobby when he stood up and was not, as I had
expected feared, eye-level to Gary Coleman (RIP).
On the short ride on the subway that makes NY’s look like an underground shithole, we sat close enough to nudge flirtatious elbows, but didn't; a simple statement established boundaries like a pull-down arm rest.
“I started seeing this woman recently, and it was interesting trying to explain how I ‘know’ you.”
[Begin Chapter I of "The Story of My Life: A Tragedy" by So Wise]
The following progression was appropriate: first, a noisy British pub, pretending I couldn’t handle a whole pint of Stella and accepting a half, taking sips of his gin. Struggling to protect the sinking secret that I’m not as awesome when there’s no typing involved.
The crawl then progressed to the Soho spot. It was down this slightly dodgy alley (with cobblestones that didn't quite agree with my heels) and beyond the unassuming façade, in the center of a foyer that felt warmed by an open fire, that we took off our jackets for the first time that evening.
There’s really nothing better than a good drink with someone good-looking.
Even if you can’t have them.
The truth is, I didn’t even allow myself to imagine my face rubbing against the inside of his strong thighs. That would have tainted the pleasure of the improbability. Instead, I relished in the fulfillment of my long-suffering wanderlust and a great drink matched with even greater convo.
There was another bar and another drink afterward, but I choose to end my recollection here, in Soho--UK not NY. Seated, loose, unencumbered finally by the anxiety of whatever conclusions he’d drawn of the me sitting across the table and not across a computer screen. I traveled across an ocean and spent an evening drinking with a man I had had a crush on for five years or so. And he exceeded every expectation, whether real or digital.
Isn’t that what travel is? What it does? Lets you stare into the eyes, study the surface of the lips, examine the intellect and humor, ogle the
crotch landmarks—without guilt of covetousness—of a space that is not your own, but is yours to explore.
A decade ago, in the Greene St. days, I would have lost my way in his confident eye contact, stopped his lips mid-sip and pressed them to mine, completely defenseless against his acute observations and effortless sense of humor and sturdy frame and manly ass and familiar Caribbean accent and alarmingly rugged handsomeness. Today, my boundaries and respect wouldn’t even allow me to take a picture with, literally, the man of my damn dreams. A lesser bitch would have been happy to swallow.
London is a lot like NYC, and I immediately felt like I had been there before…yet had no idea where I was going. Still, I was utterly smitten.
Or no, maybe I shouldn't watch the time, in the event that there might be a new angle this year. Sometimes things get changed up.
What is constant though is the fact that the caller will make me giddy. My lips will chafe from stretching, my teeth in full display. I'll feel like a kid again -- and Lord knows I need that -- and my mind will race like young me, wild and free through the backyard on a cool spring day.
At 12:10 pm in 5th grade I convinced my teacher to let the class sing happy bday to me. The exact time of my birth.
I am nothing if not motivated by acceptance and love, so birthdays suit me quite well. I make grand gestures of the dates of birth of those close to me, mostly because the joy of celebrating ones life is an emotion I hold dear. But part of me is probably calling in a favor.
Remember me on March 24.
There was one year there was no call. Well, no, there was a call, but I was the one who made it. I had to dial in to get my own birthday wishes.
As time inches toward noon, I'm overwhelmed and overwrought with the pride of a woman much simpler than I. My arrival in this world 30-something years ago, my family squatting like Major League catchers, ready to field me at home plate. Future friends in bassinets sprinkled across our town, across the world even, settled in, preparing to round the bases where our paths will inevitably cross someday. Others still simmering in the gut like last night's lasagna, ready for release. Others still not even a thought or misstep in their parents' daily walk.
At 12:10 pm my mother might call me. To tell me I wasn't a mistake. That missteps I've made are a part of life, and that she's proud to claim me. That my father was a mess when I arrived and that he's proud of me too. That it's ok to miss him.
Or she may wait until the kids are home or siblings pass through so that one call can be made. Kind of like all those calls placed during holiday meals that I missed over the years.
That God has seen fit to deliver me to this world, in this way, at this moment in time, is why birthdays are the best gifts. Ever. Like Easy Bake Oven* or Snoopy Snow Cone Machine* best.
The days and months leading up to today have been a This is Your Life exercise set to dim lights and dark harmonies. But today, even for this one moment at 12:10 pm, I am sure that this is in fact my life, whether I'm pleased with the rough cuts or not.
I trust that the moment is yet to arrive. But it's coming...
(*my parents, anti-dumb American shit Jamaicans that they are, did not believe in either toy and therefore would neither field nor dignify inquiries or requests for them or any other dumb shit that American kids cried for.)
***Updated: The call came in at 12:28pm...and I was notified that it is "Officially my bday," because I was in fact born on a Thurs. She was waiting all morning to call and will call me again when the kids get home so they can tell me how great I am. :) ***
That’s me (quit looking at my privates!!), sprawled out naked inside a restrictive box (ok, make it fast!). A more morbid me would suggest perhaps it’s a coffin; but in essence, it is an illustration of my journey traversing the world as the proverbial circle in a square peg. Quite frankly, the more I continue to grow and stretch, the deeper my fingers seem to press against the boundaries of what yall muhfuckas call reality.
Welcome! Take off your shoes, admire the photos on the wall, giggle at my baby pics, sift through my DVR, admire my porn collection and multi-cultural art, rummage through my drawers, laugh if you must but we've come so far so no tears, get nosy and thumb through my journal…if you can find it.
I won’t go all ‘80s-sitcom-jump-the-shark on you and pretend like I
wasn’t an infant last season and now I’m in kindergarten [see: “Growing Pains,” “Family Ties,” et al. didn’t pull a fast one and up and disappear for a year. Like folks didn’t try to step beyond the blog/reality line and contact me to make sure I was still alive (shout out to Epsi and CNel). I won’t pretend that during my absence I wasn’t engulfed in a fulfilling yet challenging relationship that consumed me and my desire to write here. That I didn’t become completely bored by most of what I was reading from you. That said boredom didn’t reflect in my own written observations, and lack thereof. I will admit that I’m adverse to change, and that the influx of new jacks and new jack intentions altered the game and therefore my desire to be a part of it. In summary, I miss the old neighborhood (Blah, we're so *here*).
But the world out there, beyond my laptop’s screen, it stretches far beyond the power chord. The world doesn’t shut down, doesn’t standby or depend on my keystroke to function. It is fueled by interactions that I cannot control, rules that no longer require my engagement, rampant idiocy. Foolishness, to which I am particularly hostile.
Simply put, I have no place else to go. I am playing prodigal, running up the blogspot stoop at top speed, slamming the door shut behind me as god awful status and locale updates, reprehensible ring tone rap, loathsome politics, trending topics and technological advances pound on the other side, hunting me down.
So here I am, in fuzzy socks, nursing a jack and ginger, chuckling at all the memories, blowing away the dust from this blog that conceals the words "Dear Diary." Let's see if I remember how to work this thing, cuz I'm feeling real square out there in the world, and this blog here is my circle.
So if you're new here... Welcome! and all that, but please go fix yourself a plate and put your feet up. This is a strict no-coddle zone. Otherwise, you know the deal. Loosen your belt so we can catch up. But please excuse the boxes...I have some unpacking to do.