Finding "Home"

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

BIG NEWS:

I am moving.

Soon.

Alone.

Just me and my dog, Spyder.

I need to find an affordable apartment.

Fast.

Any inside connections or direction would be GREATLY appreciated!

I prefer to live:

  • anywhere along the L in Brooklyn at any of these stops: Bedford, Lorimer, Graham, Grand, or Montrose.
  • anywhere in Manhattan below 100th Street
  • in Manhattan, I prefer Lower East Side, East Village
  • wherever I move next needs to be considered a potential home for a long time
  • with rent around $1300/month
  • but I am open to any great suggestions or direction
  • roommate situation is acceptable, temporarily

HELP?

Swallowing Racism

Reading time: 5 – 8 minutes

I wish I knew better how to handle the societally-accepted racism from some pockets of Black people toward other races. Racism exists among all races, and in varying degrees; I know that. But more and more I am seeing blatant, entitled acts of loud, violent, and unwarranted acts of public racism from Blacks toward other races. A week doesn’t pass without my hearing a Black person make a derogatory remark, LOUDLY, about another person, based on color of skin, and probably not a month goes by without my seeing a violent act against a non-Black person from a Black person.

What can we do to keep from taking this giant step backward?

1. WHAT’S THAT SMELL!
Clem and I went to Coney Island on Easter Sunday with a few of his friends and had a great time. The Cyclone is AMAZING! I loved it so much more than I expected, but nothing beats the old, wooden coasters vs these modern contraptions that have you so secured and on such a smooth ride. As we stood in line, we were among many, many Black people, which, of course, didn’t occur to me until, loudly, a group of them loudly stated, “God, I hate that smell… smells like White People!” WTF?!

2. RUN FOR THE BORDER, BITCH!
Within minutes of the same loud comment above, another set of Black people violently began pushing an Hispanic couple to try to cut them from being able to ride on their turn for the Cyclone. The Hispanic couple were confused and just continued climbing into their coaster car, even as a Black girl screamed out at them, “Go back to your own country, bitch! Run for the border!” Not only was this awful and shocking and ignorant, but as the car pulled away, one of the Black guys running the ride cheered the Black girl on! I know that worse things were said, but I was in such shock, I can’t remember a lot of it.

3. PAY YOUR TAXES
As I walked home from the grocery store just this past week, I heard a lot of screaming and shouting. I saw that it was a bunch of Black teens being obnoxious and thought nothing much about it, even as I noticed they were whooping and hollering in a mass of about 30, on bikes, tearing up the street from behind me. Across the street, walking in the opposite direction was a young guy who lives in my building. The swarm of teens crashed into and around the young guy, shouting at him. They pulled at his headphones, kicked at him, tore at his clothes, like animals attacking prey. They started shouting at him to give his money to them because he “owed taxes for walking on THEIR sidewalk.” I didn’t really know what to do, so I pulled out my cell phone to try to discreetly call 911 as I continued walking, but they saw me and someone shouted, “YO! He’s callin’ the police! GET HIM!” Inside, I was utterly terrified! Outside of me, however, (and I don’t know HOW I do this), I remained utterly calm and unaffected. One of them was running up fast from behind me with his arm extended, holding a club-like weapon, and another one shouted out, “YO! Don’t hit him, yet!” I was ready to fight, even though my hands were full of grocery bags, and I was trying to call the police, and I was scared out of my mind. Dialing was no longer an option as I had to now defend myself. Several of them swarmed around me and began tearing at my clothes, kicking me, and threatening me. There were too many to fight, so all I did was WALK. I just kept walking against the assault, being knocked, HARD, against one who would then kick me back into another, but I pulled out my keys and approached my apartment building doors. Someone yelled out, “YO! He’s pullin’ out his keys!” I don’t know why this distracted them, but they suddenly dropped the assault and started riding and running away, whooping and screaming, shouting out, “YO! We’ll get you NEXT time!”

I looked back to the other guy who had been attacked before me, and he was safe, but standing, overwhelmed and in shock, I am sure. I think he was dialing his phone. I got inside my apartment building doors as fast as I could and dialed 911. Well, I tried to dial. Suddenly, all of my calmness left me and I was shaking SO much; I couldn’t dial! I was so shaken that I missed walking past my apartment floor and walked all the way to the rooftop doors! When I finally dialed and got through to the police, I was horrified that the response was, “Well, sir, if you aren’t still with your attackers, there isn’t anything we can do. Call if they attack you again.”

WHAT!!!!?????

And all of this happened in the bright daylight of the afternoon with plenty of people around.

This is no less than the third attack I have witnessed from Black people upon other people in just the past 6 months, from group beatings, theft, and shooting rubber bullets at people’s heads as they drove by. And all of this just on MY block!

The only violence I have ever seen imposed so freely and openly upon another person or persons has come from Black people upon other races, motivated by the racial difference.

Why is this happening?? Why is this so freely overlooked and dismissed? Why is it perpetuated and tolerated?

For instance, if any other person of any other racial origin had said similar racist things as what was said so freely at Coney Island, there would have been a riot. I cannot imagine saying (or THINKING, for that matter), that I “hate the smell of Black people” or shouting out to a Black person to “go back to Africa!” and being cheered on.

I seriously hope this is just a social pendulum swing effect that is the result of our (as in, “all people,” not just White People) idiotic history of violence and racism toward Blacks and that we will eventually find a balance that is good and healthy for everyone. I really hope I live to see that.

Until then, how is the average, kind, evolved, socialized Black, Hispanic, White, Asian, etc. person supposed to deal with such entitled acts of hostility and violence? As a White person, my concerns and complaints are the fastest to be dismissed, as it is generally accepted that I either deserve the attacks just by the very fact of my skin color, or that I am exaggerating.

Acts of violence, whether fueled by Racism, or not, are awful for anyone. Acts of violence, whether physical or mental or verbal, are awful for anyone. Believe me, my skin color doesn’t protect me, and attacking lil ole me, or a young, Hispanic couple minding their own business, isn’t going to help heal our historically ignorant past…

…but it does keep all of us stuck there.

Sock It To Ya!

Reading time: 2 – 3 minutes

Something funny:

Today I am working from my laptop while at a cafe because I am waiting for my dog, Spyder, to get her hair all groomed up. We had to be at the groomer’s by 8am! Yikes! Spyder and I stayed with Clem last night so we could play in the dog run near his apartment, which meant that I had some clothes with me in my giant back pack this morning.

Well, to make a long story short, I had to unexpectedly buy some woman a coffee this morning.

As I had been setting up at a table, pulling out my laptop, keeping my coffee balanced, finding a spot for my big back pack, I had also whipped out the power cord. I suddenly heard a woman’s confused and startled voice burst out an, “OHhhhhh!” and then a, “OH my GOD!?”

I only wanted to glance with half-interest at whatever drama she was having, until I realized I was the cause of it.

As I had whipped out my power cord from my bag, flinging off of it, and sailing a short distance… was one of my dirty socks… right into her coffee! All I could do was share in her horror as I recoiled at the sight of a sock hanging from a venti coffee, slowly soaking up brownness. I didn’t even respond appropriately, at first, because I have weird reactions to gross things, so my first reaction was to wince and scrunch up my face, looking away, then looking back, then looking away, as I tried to comprehend a SOCK hanging out of a coffee, let alone MY dirty sock!

I bought her a replacement coffee immediately and she gave me my sock back.

Then, we both laughed, and laughed…

Good Morning, New York City!!

Ps. For what it’s worth, my dirty clothes hardly ever actually smell or look dirty (cuz I’s so clean!) but still… it was a dirty sock.

An Angel on Ruskin

Reading time: 2 – 3 minutes

My Day has been made:


Elizabeth Fraser “sings” LIVE with “The Bathers” on Scottish Television!

(NOTE: be patient as it loads. REFRESH the page if it doesn’t load right away)
(TIP: press pause until you see that at least half of the video is loaded, or completely loaded, then press play again)
If you have a hard time understanding Elizabeth, here are the lyrics to this song. She “sings” in an entirely unique way:
The Angel on Ruskin
Believe it or not there’s an angel on Ruskin
I saw her up there with my own green eyes
She danced alone among the chimneys
Her golden wings caught the evening sun

// ELIZABETH SINGS:
Hardly knew if I was still breathing
As I lost my way on the eastern stairs
She trashed my car she trashed my paintings
Oh As ribbons flew from her midnight hair //

I was always in love’s power
yes, yes, down in love’s power
down on my knees

All was lost and
All was broken
Brought to heel
Like an anxious guest
On the eastern stairs
I stole some token
I chased a kiss
On her golden crest

I was always down in love’s power
Yes yes, always down in love’s power
Down on my knees
You would fall
Should you look into her eyes

Believe it or not there’s an angel on Ruskin
I hear her laugh and I hear her sing
There’s evil abroad there’s a stranger on Ruskin
And memory lies like a girl on the wing

Insularity is not Hilarity

Reading time: 2 – 4 minutes

Well, in addition to all of the work I have to do to catch up, I also have to begin my serious interest in learning Spanish as my second language. I know a little French because of two years in high school, but I could hardly call it a second language. I’ve always wanted to learn a second language FLUENTLY, but I just never did. I’m sure that’s familiar to many.

However, now my interest in learning a second language has moved from being an interest, to being a necessity. I am confronted at least twice a week with a situation where I cannot communicate to anyone around me, especially in my neighborhood. Over the years this situation has extended from a social level and into the service industry, and unless I know Spanish, I am unable to communicate to those who are offering the service.

I think it is specifically limited to more insular communities, such as parts of my neighborhood, and I’ve seen some of this in New Jersey, too. It’s not limited to Spanish-speaking communities, because I also remember not being able to find anyone who spoke English in parts of Queens where Chinese is the primary language. I think it is the insularity that promotes this extended lack of ability to speak English, which I believe is just fine, but not in the service industry.

Just today, it took nearly 10 minutes for someone to be able to understand my order at a MACDONALD’s. (Yes, I know, why am I at a MacDonald’s in the first place, LOL!)No one around me spoke English, and none of the workers who were available spoke English. I was kept waiting while they searched to find someone to translate and speak English. This was the second time this has happened in this particular MacDonald’s. Unless all I have to do is point at a number for my order, I cannot order what I want. The reason there was confusion is because there is a new promotion for the way MacDonald’s offers their coffee. You are supposed to indicate whether you prefer “SMOOTH” or “BOLD,” and if you want cream and/or sugar to be added. No one could understand what I was trying to order, even though it was high-profile promotion that prompts a response!

Little things go a long way in creating an insular community. Even the gross Taco Bell in my neighborhood has no promotional posters in English.

By the way: yes, I like fast food. Gross. But I do.

I think if I live in a primarily-hispanic/latin community, or a primarily-Asian community, I expect to see and hear a lot of Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc, and I want to learn to speak what I can, but I don’t know if it’s such a healthy thing for a community to move into such insularity that it cuts out the rest of your world.

This prompts me to want to learn other languages even more, because insularity on a small scale is one thing, but the United States is insular on a larger scale, and I don’t want to contribute to that.