Monthly Archives: March 2010

Dating Commercials are for SUCKERS

The other night I was watching TV and the standard foray of advertisements came on between segments of the show.

You know how it goes:

Laundry detergent featuring happy brunettes cheerily folding clothes; An athletic blond doing backhand springs while peddling vaginal applicators; Old men doing jittery jigs, singing the praises of male enhancement courtesy of a little blue pill; and the run of the mill online dating services.

It is the last category that had me sitting up in my seat.

“Liars!!” I screamed at the television.

These online dating services are selling the masses a lie. What do they show you? Happy couples on deck of some obscure boat, lovingly grasping each other, or my personal favorite, some pretty young thing dressed to the nines in her swanky art studio creating a sculpture with her equally good looking beau. All of them are supposedly “in love” matched by 126,980 qualities that ensure compatibility. How convenient is it that you both share  common interest and ideals? You’ll never bicker about anything! That’s not love. That’s easy. Let me tell you what real love is.

  • Your wife slogs into the house, all crippled up, bent up, stooped up and shriveled up from working 12 hour days in retail and you still think she’s hot. That’s love.
  • Your girl’s once taught belly, refined from years of running of running track, is reduced to a quivering kangaroo sack, a result of bearing your snot-nosed offspring. At night you make love to her like she’s a goddess and you tell her so. That’s love.
  • Your very clumsy mate breaks the last tea cup in your grandmother’s antique set. You look at him quizzically and offer him a big hug. Inside you’re mad as hell, but your grandmother is dead and you guys never have tea anyway. He’s more valuable in the grand scheme of things. That’s freakin’ love folks!

I have any number of friends that have tried these online dating services or paid to have a “match making” service fix them up. In the end, they always walk away disappointed. Why? Because these people are selling snake oil. Love is not a magic silver bullet. It’s an instant decision that is cultivated over time.

Muttering : *Stinkin’ online dating services making me sit here and blog about them. Bleh!*

Lies on Tap

Have you ever had a person in your life that just lied their way through their daily  existence? I mean like every other sentence is just a straight up falsehood? We’ve all told our share of fibs, Lord knows I have; but I never knew there class of people roaming the planet that told lies for breath.

My cousin used to date this guy called David that was a compulsive liar. Eventually they broke up and she kicked him out of the house…something to do with her bank account and possible eviction courtesy of his antics. She would tell me these tales, and her main complaint was that he was “such a liar!!” Me, being in my early 20s and not understanding the severity of what she was dealing with, silently nodded my head and asked myself what the big deal was? So he lied a little, so what? 5 years later, God the Master Joker placed a man in my life to show me “so what”. That man is the individual we all know on this blog as ODB: Old Douche Bag, Mr. Franklin/ Mr Frank-lyin’.

The lies this individual who would unfortunately eventually become the sire of my first born child go back to the very day we met. It would be hard to cram all of them in one blog post, so I’ll just share my favorites.

Lie 1: On the night we met, Douche Bag asked me how old I was. I said I was 25. He said he was 30.

Fact: Douchey was in fact 35 years old, and being 10 years my senior knew a 25 year old woman in her prime would never wittingly date a man so advanced in age.

Lie 2: He claimed to have been a staff sergeant in the Marine Corps.

Fact: Old Douche Bag never rose past the rank of Private First Class in the Corps. Google the differences. You’ll be amused.

Lie 3: His son was going to spend 2 weeks in the summer with him in 2003.

Fact: He had not seen his son, nor had he been aware of his whereabouts since the boy had been born 5 years before. His mom took off with him long ago, apparently because he’s always been this useless and crazy.

Lie 4: He got some chick pregnant in 2000 something, and then told her that that was not his baby because he had an “accident” when he was a kid that left him sterile. He dared the woman to call his mother to confirm.

Fact: Clearly this is a load of crap.

Let’s get to some more recent tall tales

Lie 5: When picking up my daughter, she would wail and scream because she did not want to go with him. In order to get her to stop crying, he would promise to take her to McDonalds.

Fact: He never did. Who lies to a 2 year old about McDonalds??

Lie 6: He got on Facebook and told all his friends a series of lies: My daughter is in the backyard and we’re going to grill. She loves laying in the grass. I just dropped her off for her first day of school. She lives with me Tuesday -Thursday.

Fact: He had not seen Na in over a year. She hates grass. He never even knew what school she went to until a few months ago. She just began overnight visits last week.

Lie 7 (and my favorite): When asked by a female admirer on Facebook what he does for a living, he said he was an operations manager for a trucking company.

Fact: He hasn’t had any steady employment in 3 years, and at the time this statement was made. he was jangling change in a laundry mat/dry cleaner. I think he was making $10/hr. He has since lost this job.

Lie 8 (and the reason for this post): When asked directly in court what 2 weeks in the summer he wanted to get his child, he balked and then asked the judicial officer if he had to get her for 2 consecutive weeks. Could he break the visits up? She replied that if he had an emergency, say a funeral for example, to simply explain the situation to me. I requested the dates again, and was given to separate weeks, when the court order clearly says con-sec-utive.

“I can’t keep her for 2 weeks. I was going to clean off my sister’s grave in Buffalop,” he explained in email. Yes folks. Buffalop.

Fact: That sister died of SIDS  30+ years ago, and no one in his family has visited her grave since. In fact he, told me that her grave was overgrown ans lost. Now suddenly when it’s time for you to spend part of the summer with you, after you fought so hard to get visitation, you can”t because you’re going to clean an unmarked grave? With what money?? You just lost your job jangling change!

Lie 9: Now he can’t keep her for 2 consecutive weeks because he is going to be spending the summer doing “job training” and it will be difficult to keep her.

Fact: Georgia has any number of day-cares, some of them with 24 hr service. There is no reason why he can’t keep his kid for the required time.

Folks. Men and women. If you have ANYONE in your life who lies like their next breath depended on it, DROP THEM as soon as you can. Definitely do before you possibly can procreate with them. Take it from me: a leopard never changes his spots. He just shifts them around.

For real? GOD told you that?

Maybe I’m not a “for real” Christian: I’m willing to concede that; but there are fewer phrases that make me cringe than “God told me to blah, blah, blah.”

Whenever I hear anybody, Christian or not, utter the words “God told me”, my first thought is “You’re lying”. The second, depending on the person making the proclamation is “You’re crazy”. What makes you feel this way, Malaka? Well I’m glad you asked! Let me expound in bullet form:

  • Dude. Even in the Bible, God only spoke to a handful of people and they were called prophets. So the notion that you Mr/Ms Christian-ette have a one-on-one connection with the Divine One in which he speaks exclusively to you is absurd. If He’s the same God today, yesterday and forever, why is He suddenly going to switch up His game and start a dialogue with a mere mortal, who has no real impact on society?
  • Most people who say “God told me” have an idea of what they already WANT to do, and use the phrase to explain away any failure for what God said to do not coming to pass. “I believe with all sincerity that God wanted me to date/marry this man.” No, God didn’t tell you to marry/date this man. You thought he was good looking/rich/whatever and you convinced yourself that it was God whispering in your ear. The same concept applies to people who pursue anything that they have no business getting involved in, like running for President or Congress when you have a criminal background.
  • Some of these people just don’t want to use common sense. I do believe God gives us wisdom, and that is a horse of different color. God gives us brains and a will, and allows us to look at situations and ascertain what the possible outcomes of engaging in processes or participating in certain events might be. For example, if you know that there is going to be a bar-b-que on Bankhead Highway, you can say with all probability that there will be a shooting. God doesn’t have to tell you not to go down there…experience and common sense will tell you to keep your happy behind on the North side.
  • “I can’t move, can’t walk, won’t talk unless God tells me to!” These are the words I actually heard in a gospel song, and some people actually live their lives that way. These are folks my bishop calls “so heavenly minded, they’re no earthly good.” The less I say about this group, the better.

What irks me most about this group of people is when they try to impose their assumed sense of “divine instinct” on me.  I have recently made the mistake of sharing my future relocation plans with certain individuals. I gave sound reasoning and explanation for my plan of action, complete with my husband’s approval and agreement. What did I get in return?

“I didn’t hear you mention God in any of that,” espoused one woman. “I just believe that my life is led by God; I’ve seen him work so many miracles in my life. If God was really in this plan, it wouldn’t go the way you’re saying; it would go this way.” She then proceeded to lay out exactly what God’s plan would look like. I could take better consideration of this woman’s words if anything she said God said was going to make happen EVER. ACTUALLY. HAPPENED.

Another woman lambasted me over e-mail.

“Well, I wouldn’t move my family half way across the world without a direct word from God.”

Really? A direct word? What the heck does that mean anyway?? Is God supposed to open up the heavens, come down on an escalator, sit at my dinner table and say to me “Malaka, I and God and I want you to move half way across the world!”

I dunno. Maybe I’m just a little too pragmatic. I have a God-given brain. I don’t need God to tell me to brush my teeth. I don’t need God to tell me to send my kids to school. I don’t need God to tell me to get a job. I don’t need God to tell me whether or not to get my tubes tied: I live in a 2 bedroom house on a fixed income.

I do believe God speaks to certain people, but not as many as are running around claiming He’s talking to them…and I’m humble enough to admit my spiritual life is not strong enough to claim God speaks to me on any regular basis. I wish more people would do the same or shut up.

United Airlines goes to GH!

Oh my gosh.

I was so giddy when I heard the news that a new airline would be offering service to Ghana. 6 or so years ago, when Delta began offering direct flights from NY to Accra, it was a huge deal. No longer would we be forced to be routed through Europe with 4-8 hour layovers, confined to the 8 walls of the terminal. You could leave NY at 8 am and be in Accra by noon local time the next day.

The Delta began to play the rough.

What didn’t they do to show their scorn for we hapless Ghanaian travelers? Lost baggage, stolen personal items, canceled flights, missed connecting flights, and trekking us from one gate at one end of the airport only to be told the plane was at the other end and we’d have to trek back to board became the norm.

I’ve only flown Delta twice. During its first year of service, the first plane I took was top class, and the service was brilliant. The second time I flew Delta the plane was being held together by spit and tape and the stewardesses made it a point to let me know they hated my stinking guts and that they were only there to serve my black heathen African arse because it was their job, not their pleasure. So I quietly took my money to Lufthansa; and although I had to endure an 8 hour layover with 2 toddlers, I was welcomed aboard and treated like a valued customer.

Every Ghanaian I know hates Delta. Now that United is joining the frey, lets hope that they have taken a few lessons from Deltas impending demise. Ghanaians are extremely fickle, and not renown for brand loyalty. We switch cell phone and internet providers like we change underwear. However, when we find something that works, we stick with it. A 12 hour flight and $1400 (at a minimum) per ticket is nothing to sneeze at. If United can keep up its customer service, ensure we don’t miss our connecting flights and manage to make us feel welcome, they will reap the benefits of a loyal customer base. There is nothing Ghanaians love to do more than to give our money to white people.

The Clean up Woman

Recognizing that I am not coping well with this whole 3 kids in 4 years and a 4th on the way thing, my husband has offered me something that no other man has given me before: maid service.

“I have a surprise for you babe,” he said gently, rubbing my shoulder. “Tomorrow morning I’m having some people come clean up the house.”

“For real?” I said through parched, ashy lips. “They’re going to dust and everything?”

“They’re going to do everything,” he assured. “Vacuum the stairs, dust the fans, mop the floors…they’ll even change the linens on the bed.”

As he started listing all the things that were “wrong” in the house, I took a mental snapshot of our home. It was filthy, wasn’t it? Filthy I say! This sent me into a tailspin and I spent the next hour trying to make my house look less like a disaster area. I know the point of hiring a cleaning lady/crew is to let them clean, but there is nothing worse than a woman, or a band of women, coming into your house and have them silently judging you…or judging you openly in Spanish about your poor housekeeping skills.

Ooooo, I can hear them now:

Look at her nasty baseboards.

Dios mio! Is that pubic hair on the floor next to the toilet?

I think I’m going to be sick.

*Shudder*. I hope I can get some sleep tonight. I’m suddenly having an urge to break out the Comet, bleach,yellow gloves and a gas mask. Lawd help me.

Are Americans Just Arrogant, Ignorant or Both??

I should probably go ahead and apologize to my American friends for what I’m about to say. I should; but I won’t. I mean every bleeding word.

Americans, without a doubt, are some of the most obnoxious people on the planet. They are also some of the most gracious, which allows one to forgive their otherwise unsavory behavior. I have overlooked American antics for the last couple of years, because after all, America has been “good” to me? I mean, where else in the world can you get a coupon for a free burger just for befriending some dude on Facebook? I am humble enough to admit that America will reward you generously for your efforts. If you’re willing to work and implement an idea in America, your gains will be phenomenal. But to suggest that this is what makes America the greatest country in the world is absurd.

The problem with most Americans is that they have never been outside of America, and they therefore believe the propagandist hype of the pundits and pastors on cable TV and pulpits. I heard one minister declare that if you opened all the ports in the world and told people to choose where they want to live, America could not sustain the droves of people who would choose this country first.

“America has the best workers in the world!” they proclaim.

“Americans work the hardest.”

“We have the brightest students.”

“We make the best products.”

On, and on, and ON.

Face it America: The hardest workers in this country are the Hispanic and African immigrants who scrimped and saved (and yes, came here illegally) to do the jobs you won’t do. If I’ve seen a “hard working American” this year, that person was not under the age of  52. Most Americans are lazy. The smartest are the Asian kids, either directly off the boat or recent descendants of those off a boat some 30 years ago, who outshine you in school every semester. You would be hard pressed to find a product, any product, proudly baring the label “made in America” on your shelves. Why? Because the best workers are overseas, and corporations don’t want to deal with the bureaucracy of your politicians. Which brings me to my other point: If America is so fabulous, why are American companies sending millions of American jobs abroad? Take a cold hard look at yourselves people. Something does not compute.

It’s great that America enjoys freedom of speech and all that. But as a hybrid Ghanaian, I find myself appalled by what these people feel free to say. The first problem is that the majority of Americans cannot construct a proper sentence, or employ proper grammar; the second is that they cannot formulate a thought worth hearing. Have you listened to these guys debate on CNN? It’s terrifying.

Now you may ask “Malaka, why do you suddenly have your panties in a twist over all things American? If you don’t love it, leave it!” Believe you me, nothing would please me more than to find myself at the departure gate of Hartsfield airport screaming ‘I dey take Yankee give you!!!’ Unfortunately, I find myself in debt to the Federal government, courtesy of 4 years’ worth of student loans. And the Federal government is not a forgiving lender. Which brings me to another point: Why is it SO bloody expensive to get a quality education in this country? Is that why most of its public school students can’t add? Ugh.

The reason I have my panties in a knot is this: I recently confided in an elderly American friend, telling her I plan to relocate to Ghana in the near future. She was incredulous.

“Why would you do that?” she asked.

I explained that it was never my plan to stay here beyond 10 years, I’m homesick, and that as students we are given a mandate to come back to our country and help develop it. I believe in our education system, because it works. Furthermore, no Ghanaian in leadership would get on TV  like Al Gore and instruct teen and preteen students “Not to listen to their parents” because “they know a lot more than their parents do”.

“Well I don’t hear God anywhere in that.” (I’ll talk about that in another post.) She continued by launching into a missive, questioning what work I would/could do in Ghana, questioned our economic stability, etc. She quickly caught herself and admitted that America’s economy was failing and that there were no jobs…but that didn’t stop her from setting out to make me seem like a fool for wanting to live anywhere but here. I didn’t bother to inform her that Ghana had the best performing stock market in the world last year and that there are plenty of opportunities for personal fiscal expansion if you can raise the capital. This concept would be lost on an American with a savior complex who still sees Africa as a dark continent with pot-bellied children, flies dancing on their scabby sculls to complete her prejudiced vision of my beloved continent.

If you ask any African who has been here 10 years or more, they will reservedly admit to you that America is not all that it’s cracked up to be. From a distance, it’s shiny and glittery, but upon closer inspection this land is naught but fool’s gold. Some have been here working for 20 or 30 years, and all they have to show for it is a used Honda and 3 bedroom house that the bank may still own. Tell me, where in America will someone offer me a lift, no strings attached, while I’m walking in the hot sun? Whose house can I just show up at uninvited; and being uninvited, will the occupant stop all they are doing to make me feel welcome? Can America boast of some of the most disciplined and respectful children you will ever meet, where this behavior is the rule and not the exception?

And show me one kenkey seller!!!

Tsssseeewwww.

I’ll say it again. I dey take Yankee give you.

Chile, you obviously don’t know me

I’ve figured out what makes raising kids so hard.

It’s not the messes they create, or the feeding schedules if they are infants, or the incessant questions if they are toddlers/pre-schoolers…it’s the mere fact that you and your children are strangers to one another. It’s true. Yes, you may have brought them into this world with love and had hopes and expectations of a certain type of character heaped onto this person you call your baby; but the fact is, your child is an individual with their own crazy thoughts, quirks and behaviors. You yourself had your own quirks and behaviors before you became a parent.  You were somebody before you became “mommy”. It takes five years for a child’s personality to be shaped, and it takes about that long for both of you to acknowledge, recognize and respect yourselves as individuals. How do I know this? Because my eldest daughter showed me just the other day.

Take my hand. We’re going back in time to 7 a.m., March 2nd.

At 6:45 in the morning, I rolled naked out of bed, my body sore from having slept crazy the night before. My 3 yr old and infant son had both decided to wake up at 4 a-freakin’-m and had called for me specifically.

“Mooooommmiieee!! I don’t want to be asleep anymore!” Aya declared. This of course roused the baby. I took them both downstairs, gave the boy some milk, and firmly informed my insane toddler that she could not watch TV – it was 4 in the morning! At 6 o’clock, I left her sleeping on the couch and tried in vain to get 40 winks in myself before I had to drop her sister off at school.

As I sat there on my porcelain throne in the dawn hours of the day, with legs akimbo and the sunlight filtering into the otherwise dark bathroom, I contemplated the craziness of the morning. What a start to my day! I thought things could not get any worse. Suddenly, my eldest child burst into the bathroom, flicking on the light and forcing me to confront in the mirror the image of my naked, battered body, crowned with a one-side flat afro. She picked up her toothbrush, looked at the floor, looked at me and admonished:

“Look at this bathroom floor! It’s disgusting! Do you just want to have a disgusting bathroom floor with dirt and hair on it? And look at the tub! It’s not clean too. Why don’t you ever clean up?”

She was only half-way through her tirade when I felt my right hand twitch. I was about to involuntarily provide her with the first and dirtiest slap of her life, but I restrained myself. Nadjah didn’t know Malaka Gyekye was sitting on the toilet that morning. “Malaka Grant” aka “Mommy” hadn’t woken up yet. Instead of towing (slang in Ghana for slapping) my 5 year old that morning, I heard a voice come out of me that had been dead for a long time. It was Malaka Gyekye, from 1995.

“Do you clean anything in this house?” the bush girl asked in a thick native accent. “Do you?!? And do you know why my floor is dirty? It’s because you and your silly sister pour soapy water on my floor and make it dirty!”

Ms. Gyekye’s biceps tightened.

“In fact, before you leave this house today, you will clean. And you don’t talk to grown-ups that way, do you understand me?”

Nadjah, obviously confused by the presence of this bush, naked Ghanaian woman sitting in her mother’s bathroom, nodded in understanding and silently brushed her teeth. Malaka Gyekye, who had stopped urinating to listen to this 5 year old’s drivel, finished doing so, sucked her teeth and took a hot shower.

******

So folks, when you’re going through tough times with your kids, don’t get discouraged. They are just travelers on this earth, blindly trying to figure out who they are – and until they achieve that enlightenment, your kids will seem insane. I tell you what though: if you occasionally introduce them to the person you were before you became “mommy” or “daddy”, those incidences of appearant insanity will be fewer and further between.