Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Brave New Day

I've moved my blog to Google! Now I can "monetize" it - post ads that might just make some revenue for me. I can also add a Paypal link, so folks who feel so inclined and motivated by great wit and charm can send me money, just because they want to.  I do plan to import my old blogs, but I'm not sure yet how that works. I'll let you know. So, all that being said, I have something more profound to share today.

My favorite biblical character is Elijah. The very concept of some nice old Jewish man wandering the earth captivated my imagination long ago. Last night Elijah came to me in a dream. For those who know me, it's not at all unusual for spiritual figures to reach out to me in that fashion. It is very meaningful to me that this time Elijah did so. I fell touched to the depths my soul.  He took me wandering and we saw many wonderful, exciting, fabulous things. I was awestruck as he showed me events that were on the verge of occurring in my life, places I would go, things I would do.

What has me wondering, though, is that in each and every place, I encountered absolutely filthy bathrooms. I'm not sure if it was required of me, or if I simply felt compelled, but I did gladly clean to sparkling, each of those bathrooms. Finally, Elijah took me on my last visit to some friends, Pat and Jim Walker. I am pleased to say that the Walker's bathroom was spotless! I was thrilled. Not that I minded cleaning all the others (this is a dream, please don't choke on your laughter), but I was so happy that my good friends did not suffer with a worldwide problem.

So, what on earth can this dream possibly mean?  I'm open to suggestions. The overall feeling was of wish fulfillment, great joy, laughter, hard work, and relief when the work was finished. Maybe that's just a view of my life to be. Let's hope so.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Born Again Virgin

I just read that Bristol Palin has made a vow of chastity.  Isn't it just a little late for that?  I mean really?  I'm not one to ridicule or make light of another's profession of faith or good intentions (although I have often scoffed at any number of New Year's Resolutions), but this strikes me as just bizarre beyond belief. Bristol Palin is a teenager who has a child, born out of wedlock. Given the very basic meaning of the word chaste (in 5 out 5 dictionaries consulted, chaste was defined to mean "a virgin, a person who never had sexual intercourse"), she just doesn't qualify. How can she now vow to be something she can't ever be again?

She can't. It's just that simple. So why do we care?  We don't. Her mother cares. Her mother is running for financial improvement of her current circumstances and doing so on the conservative, religious right money train. Therefore, it matters much to the financial constituents of Sarah Palin that her daughter be pure. Or appear to be pure. Because Sarah, and her cohorts, exhort us all to be pure and to raise our daughters to be pure, because those are the terms for collecting the political pay check on the religious right money train. We are good and our daughters are pure. Virgins.  Or in Bristol's case, Born Again Virgin.

What is the big deal about virgins?  I agree that we do want our daughters to make good, informed decisions and to not have unplanned pregnancies, however wanted the offspring might be. But anybody with a brain and a memory knows full well that teenagers not having sex just isn't going to happen, no matter how hard we try to legislate otherwise. In fact, I would venture to say that the only parents in America who really don't have to worry TOO MUCH about their child having sex are Barrack and Michelle, and I say TOO MUCH because more often than not, their child is never alone, but is always, always, always shadowed by a secret service agent. Except for when she isn't. She could sneak away. She could manage it. I hope she's well informed, and careful, and uses safe sex practices (all of them, especially abstention), but the day will come. Even twenty-four hour secret service detail can't stop teenagers from getting a little wild on occasion (note the Bush girls, college years).

What bothers me the most is that Bristol Palin isn't notifying the world on her own and for herself of her intentions to make better choices. She didn't notify the press, her mother took her to the Oprah show and announced it there. I feel for Bristol. There is nothing I wanted more at her age than to keep my sex life (or lack thereof) private. I would have rather DIE (horribly, gouged, dragged, beaten, skinned, drawn and quartered) than to even hear to the word SEX, much less discuss it in regard to ME, ON OPRAH!

Truly, this is the smallest, pettiest, most meaningless of all my many objections to Sarah Palin. It is, however, a great glaring example of how absolutely stupid and fucking mean she really is.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Yoki's Dadday

I moved to Atlanta in January of 1966. I left a world I knew intimately, but didn't always like very much. I was excited to move. A big city. A big world. After a small town childhood, it seemed like a dream.  I left Hampton, SC, a low country hovel of a town, where separate was anything but equal. I was constantly in trouble for drinking out of the Colored water fountain, playing on the wrong side of the tracks, and knowing songs by a guy named Hambone that no little white girl should know - at least not back then.

One of the first things I did to meet new friends was join an acting school. Actor's and Writer's Workshop, affectionately known just as Workshop, was a little school in an old Victorian house on Juniper Street. Most people would know it today as the school run by Julia Roberts' father. It was there I met Yoki, my first real Atlanta friend.

Yoki took me in as her friend. She saw a loneliness in me, that she was loathe to allow in her presence. Nobody was allowed to feel anything but wonderful when Yoki had anything to say about it, and Yoki always had lots to say about everything. Because of her, I was invited places, included in groups. It didn't take long to lose the loneliness.  It didn't take long either to realize what an extraordinary thing was happening to me. Yoki was Colored. In my old world, she would not have been my friend. I would not have invited her to my house. She would not have invited me to hers. But in this brave, new world, anything truly was possible.

Humor was the great equalizer at Workshop. We did a number of small, silly plays, often written by Mr. Roberts, and performed in the streets, parks and neighborhoods of Atlanta. At one such event, a man snarled about white children playing with black children - "Aren't you afraid that color will wear off on you?"  We all looked around at each other. I don't remember who started it, but someone pointed to a freckle and yelled "HELP! IT'S WEARING OFF! I'M CATCHING THE NEGRAS!"  Well, we all chimed in on that. It became standard fare any time racism popped its ugly head, we'd all chime, "HELP, I'M CATCHING THE NEGRAS!" Racism just can't hold a candle to taunting children.

At a party at Yoki's house once, I started to dive into a bowl of nuts when Yoki yelled out "Don't eat all the Nigger toes, girl!"  My eyes assumed the size of platters.  Surely to God, that was a word you simply could not say at Yoki's house.  I about wet myself. The whole room got quiet.  Yoki's daddy sat down with Yoki and me and began picking through the nuts. He picked out several Brazil nuts and handed us each some, and started eating his share. "Why you think folks call them that?" he asked.  "I don't know I said," gratefully munching away, starting to relax. "It never made any sense to me." Yoki added.  "Me either." He dug around the bowl for a few more.  "They always look more like white people toes to me."  Examing my nut, I had to agree.  "They're brown and all with skin on," he noted "but you rub them just a little bit and they're just as white as can be underneath."  He clearly was right, and had obviously given the matter some thought. "I think maybe it's just like people." he mused, while we all munched away. "Rub them a little bit and you'll find we're all pretty nice underneath."

After some recent reminiscence on the web about the old day term of Nigger toes, I shared this story with a friend. She was amazed and rather awestruck at the end of the telling, not so much by the story, as by the people in it. Yoki was Yolanda King, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s oldest child, and one of the finest people to ever breathe. I'm blessed to call her friend. I am richer by far for having known her at all, and richer still that she also called me friend. "Wow." my friend said. "You actually KNEW Martin Luther King, Jr."   "No." I said. "I didn't. I never once met the man. I knew Yoki's daddy."

Friday, January 8, 2010


I had a fight with a friend on Christmas Eve. It was, for me, pretty much the last straw. I won't say what the fight was about - in truth, it sounds petty, as most fights with friends sound after the fact. In truth, it isn't petty. It's pretty serious. I know she won't be reading this. Even if she had the link and knew I was blogging, she wouldn't look. Besides being entirely computer challenged, she's become entirely self absorbed. She's smart, fun, kind, compassionate. She was there for me many times when I needed her. I've been there for her as well. Only now, she's just not there anymore. Now, she's a drug addict and an alcoholic. There is no there there.

I know my friend is in there somewhere, buried underneath the beer, the wine, the pot, the hydrocodone and oxycontin. Somewhere in there. She might even be listening to me. She might even hear what I say. She might think she's powerless to do anything about it. The monsters may have such a hold on her she can't crawl out. She may not even see the need to do so.

It's not like I haven't tried to tell her. This was not even our first fight. It may not be our last, although I had pretty much steeled myself to that. She's the one who said she was out the door and wouldn't be back.  OK, fine, I said. Don't let Karma bite you on the ass on the way out, I yelled.  I regretted it immediately. I don't care how angry I am, I really don't wish harm to anyone. Every time I've used that clever little quip, harm has come, albeit pretty much in the form of Karma biting. Then, I always have that little glimmer of "I told you so" sanctimonious glee (no matter how hard I try not to) and then, of course, Karma bites me.

Christmas night my friend was pulled over, arrested, charged. Open container, DUI, possession.  Ouch.  And yes, a teeny, tiny, little glimmer of glee. I hate it, but there it is. I'm glad. She had a big, fat wake up call that will be a reminder to her every single day for quite a while. She will have to go do DUI school and may actually learn something. Her insurance premiums will sky rocket and she'll be reminded every time she pays that bill. She may lose her license, a serious concern since she needs her car for her work, a daily reminder of what she's up against. She didn't have a wreck. No one was hurt or killed. Maybe, just maybe, I still have a friend.