Monthly Archives: July 2010

A Hot Hispanic Mess

OMG. I saw this Hispanic couple sucking face so hard in the CHILDREN’S SECTION of Old Navy I thought the dude was going to impregnate her through her esophagus!

That was my status on Facebook yesterday. Some of my friends “Liked” it. Some had humorous commentary. One called me to get more details. Suddenly, it struck me – these folks thought I had witnessed something visually thrilling and naughty. On the contrary, what I saw was just WRONG.

Let me be clear. I am all for tasteful public displays of affection. Like when a man coyly runs his hand down his girl’s lower back while they’re in the check out line; or when a women run her hand down the length of her beau’s thigh out at dinner. I’ll even forgive your run of the mill young couple, who being starved for physical contact having been separated by, say, a day’s worth of work, takes the opportunity to steal a brief passionate kiss in the midst of total strangers.

What comes to mind  as I describe these scenarios? I’ll bet $5.00 in your mind’s eye, all these folks are neatly coiffed, showered and acceptably attractive. I’ll bet when I said the ‘Hispanic couple was sucking face’, visions of a size 2 Brazilian beauty and her curly haired mate (who carried the faint scent of Jean Paul Gaultier) darted through your head as well. Had this been what I had witnessed, where I had witnessed it, I would have done a quick double take, excused myself and my children, and returned to the (children’s) clearance section after giving them satisfactory smooching time. Attractive people get a pass in incidences such as these.

But that’s not the couple that was gob-slobbing in the area I needed to pick out a size 5T dress.

This couple was the Clayton Biggsby definition of ‘Hispanic’. He looked like he had just completed a successful drug deal, and she looked like she had just finished stripping 115 beds of their sheets at the Baymont Inn. No really. She was still wearing her maid’s uniform, and I was there when he rolled up in a chopped sports car.

As I innocently strolled over to the kid’s clearance section, I was assaulted by a series of loud smacking and slurping sounds. I thought I heard a ‘crunch’ too. I looked up and saw a 5’1′ Mexican male performing a series of pelvic vertical thrusts. I only realized there was an object in front of him (which turned out to be a 4’1” female) that was the target of aforementioned thrusts. The ‘crunching’ was the sound of her bejeweled hand palming his jean covered bottom – I mean enormous, obnoxious scoop-fulls of his arse. I stood and waited for them to realize that their grotesque make out session was impeding my shopping. They had to know I was there. Aya was commenting on how lovely all the shirts were, and Nadjah walked right up to them, silently and quizzically observing their unabashed sexual activity. It was only after she nudged them that they moved elsewhere. The man looked over his shoulder at me, neither embarrassed nor apologetic. He seemed pleased that he had had an audience. Ugh!

15 minutes later, the girls and I finished our shopping, checked out and proceeded towards our car. As I looked to my left to check for oncoming traffic, who did I see? The same sweaty couple making out in front of PAYLESS  SHOES! Again, he hand was firmly fixed on his left butt cheek and they were engrossed in each other’s face.

“For Christ’s sake, get a room!” I blurted out. I was irritated. A blond woman coming into Old Navy looked over and saw the subject of my ire. She walked into the store, shaking her head in amusement.

Let me also make this perfectly clear: There are protocols to PDA. If you must dry hump your partner in public, at least do it in areas where my children and others are less likely to encounter you…like the kid’s section at a clothing store. In addition to that, it must be understood there are some people who must never engage in public displays of affection, and by “some” I mean all unattractive people. Cletus, the slack jawed yokel from West Virginia must never slob down his mother/cousin/wife Petunia in the park where children are playing. That’s gross. Nobody wants to see Li’l Jon and any woman who auditioned for the Bus’ It Baby video engaged in amorous activity. That’s grosser.

I DO NOT WANT TO SEE 2 SWEATY MEXICANS MAKING OUT AT OLD NAVY. PERIOD.

Before you accuse me of racism, you have to understand that race has nothing to do with my aversion. It has everything to do with class. If you’re going to visually “entertain” the public, at least have the decency to look and smell desirable.

So Much Ghana Love

God, I love being a Ghanaian, don’t you?

Although my hybrid blood prevents me from claiming to be a 100%, unadulterated Ghanaian, I am compelled to “foreskin” on that part of my heritage and claim it exclusively as my own.

Every culture has something to brag about – something that makes them unique and special. The French created crepes and edible underwear. The Germans mastered beer making. The Irish engineered a rash of violent and physical sports that are best played on county roads. Americans think they live on the greatest country on Earth. And what for Ghanaman? Allow me to elucidate:

There is nothing like a Ghanaian sunrise or sunset. Ghana sits squarely just above the equator, which means the sun rises and sets at 6 o’clock every day without fail. If the molten heat didn’t compel our citizens to retreat in search of shade at every waking moment, we might realize how lovely that hovering omnipresent orange globe we call the sun is.

Nothing beats the smell of burning wood and charcoal in the morning! Whether you live in Labone, Legon, Tema or Tamale; in the poshest or poorest of neighborhoods; you are guaranteed to be greeted by the scent of someone cooking breakfast over an open flame. If you’ve never lived outside of Ghana it’s easy to dismiss the pungent smell of outdoor cooking; but for us “been-to’s” it’s really quite comforting.

Cops and Robbers: Ghana’s police and crooks are so very predictable. To circumnavigate the antics of the police who are looking to supplement their paltry incomes at our numerous in-town borders, one merely needs to have a supply of ready cash to bribe the officer into forgiving your offence (which could be as grievous as having your review mirror skewed too far too the left). To avoid being trussed up by an armed robber, never carry a mobile phone (or large amounts of cash) with you at night. The inherent problems in both scenarios are obvious, but calling the police on you cell/mobile in the event that you are robbed is fruitless. Our boys in blue have no vehicles.

We’re not angry. That’s just how we talk! I imagine it might be really alarming for a foreigner to find himself in a room of five or more Ghanaian men (and that one too-known woman in the background interjecting ‘Ehhh! It’s true!!’ at any given opportunity) engaged in what would appear to be verbal combat. The fact is, the conversation is most likely jovial, never combative. Even a roaring and dismissive “Your modda!!!” from one conversationalists to another is done in love and/or jest. We’re just a loud, boisterous group of people. We don’t have whisper cells.

Ghana Maybe Time: If an appointment is scheduled for 2 o’clock, show up at 4 o’clock and pray the other person even decides to show up at all. It’s just understood.

Anyone can be a celebrity. Everybody is somebody in Ghana. Even our nerds think they are somebody. It only takes a modicum more effort than the next guy to be a star. If you rap, rap a little faster. If dance you, dance a little harder. If you are friends with people who are already celebrities, add more celebrity friends to your repertoire and that alone will make you a star. It’s an easy formula.

Ghanaians don’t fight: We are not Nigerians. A Ghanaian will always raise his hand and threaten to slap you, but he will never land the blow.

We’re all broke, but you’d never know it by the way we dress. That’s all.

We don’t know our national pledge: For a country that boasts to be the first to gain independence in Africa, it’s a tragic but-o-so amusing fact. I won’t even lie  – I don’t know the pledge beyond the first line myself… NO ONE does. This video proves it:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7D11QVA7yog

Politiricks: Did you know Ghana has no circuses anywhere in the country? And why would we need them? All of our politicians are clowns anyways, minus the face paint. Besides, they are far more entertaining to watch, and our people can observe the comedy they provide  for free. Politician gawking is one of the few remaining gratis amusements that Ghanaians are still afforded.

We’re the best of friends: Part of Ghanaian culture that has many other nations beat is our brand of friendship. Name 6 other places in the world where you can walk in on a friend, unannounced, find that friend eating and have him/her smile at your uninvited and unexpected presence, point to their food and proclaim “you’re invited!”. At your leaving, said friend will then “lead/throw” you as you go home. To ‘throw’ someone in Ghana is the process of walking with them to an acceptable point in the direction of their next destination. If they’re taking a cab or tro-tro, your job as the host is to wait with them and make sure they board safely before you turn and walk home. I’ve spent hours ‘throwing’ friends. It was one of the few justifiable excuses that delayed me from tackling my housework.

I love being a Ghanaian! A handkerchief toting, chaley wortey wearing, kelewele eating, oware playing, hustling for my money Ghanaian! :)

When Friendships Expire

(Put away your harps and violins, lads; it’s not that kind of post today)

Make new friends x2

But keep the old

One is silver and other gold

That was the refrain from this ghastly melody we were forced to sing as “obligatory” Girl Guides. We were “obligatory” because it was mandatory for every girl from 4th grade and up to join the Guides in my primary school during the 1989 school year. Amongst  all the crafty things we were expected to master ( like putting out forest fires with a red rag that doubled as a neckerchief), it’s the words from this song that’s stuck with me over the years.

It’s not easy being my friend, and I recognize that. I have a cruel and twisted sense of humor; I’m unnecessarily loud and somewhat boorish; my morals have been hijacked by the Republican party (which indirectly makes me a Republican leaning ‘Uncle Tom’…how dreadful!) and I am unwavering on anything I am passionate about. My public persona is far more affable though. Public Malaka is cordial, humorous and generic. It’s because of this dichotomy that  I have hundreds of acquaintances, but very (very) few people who consider me their friend, and vice-versa. I believe I can say that I have no more that 5 real friends at any given point in my life. I am fiercely loyal when it comes to my friendships. I would go to the gates of Hell and spear the heart of Satan and all his minions if a friend needed me to. I love my friends – and so when I loose a friend, I mourn their loss as one mourns the death of a loved one.

Everything comes to an end, but I’ve just come to realize in my 30s that that includes friendships as well. Camaraderie carries an expiry date! *Sniff!*

My first clue into this bit of insight came when my gal pal from high school came to Atlanta a couple of years ago. She grew up insanely rich – like her dad ate dollars for lunch and crapped pound sterling after dinner. Despite our economic divide, we were part of an insanely close knit clique that had no rhyme or reason. We hadn’t seen each other in 4 years at the time, as she’d gone to England for college and I’d come to America. When she announced she was coming to town and asked me to pick her up so we could go out, my elation quickly turned to panic. I called and warned her that I wasn’t driving a BMW and a Mercedes. I had a Dodge Neon with no air and a cracked window. I actually apologized for my car. She assured me that it was ok and commanded me to pick her up anyway. I ferried her around Buckhead and all the poshest sites in town, as she made it clear that she didn’t just shop or eat anywhere. And then after that, I didn’t hear from her for 6 more years. I assumed it was because of our class differences, and her failure to answer any of my emails just to say ‘hey’ just left me wondering.

My next clue came when a woman that I have known since we were both 8 and had hitherto referred to as my ‘cousin’ defriended me on Facebook. Now, I reject friend requests and do a Facebook cull myself every 6 months or so, but there are a core group of people who I will never scrub from my friends list, unless they have committed some unspeakable and unforgivable act. So of course, I asked her what I’d done to be banished from her friends list. She offered me a candid explanation, but said that we were still cool in real life…we just couldn’t be FB friends anymore. After I mulled over it a couple of days, I decided that wouldn’t do. If you don’t like virtual Malaka, actual Malaka must be an even more bitter tonic to swallow. I curse you for this Facebook!!!

And now – NOW, the worse is to come. I’ve made the decision to relocate with my family and again my delight has turned to distress. A year and a half ago, I was a bored and lonely housewife with too many children and too much solitary time on my hands. I was socially idle, miserable and ready to leave Atlanta. It had lost its shine anyway. Again, after much prayer,  God pulled out his wacky Rolex and provided me with what I consider two true friends – or at least hardcore allies in the daily Mommy Grind. The unfortunate part is that He did this AFTER I had made the commitment to move. It can’t be undone, and now my girls will grow up without their current best friends and all that is familiar to them. I can’t help but wonder if I’m acting as a spoiling agent and causing their friendships to expire before their time as well.

‘Mom of Five’ and ‘Angry Island Lady': To say that I’ll miss you when we’re gone is an understatement, but there’s no other way to say it.

I guess you can pull out the violins now. This post took an unexpected sentimental turn.

Retta is Rockin’ My Rold (World)

(Because Asians can’t pronounce “world” properly)

My new bloggie buddy is a gal that goes by the moniker RRR/RunRettaRun. You may have heard me rave about her blog on WP, where she shares get in shape and healthy recipe tips. Retta and I have forged an unlikely alliance – we’re merely online friends. We’ll probably never meet, and our insights about one another will be limited to what we deem appropriate to share online. And for me, that means anything. And so when I found out, quite by accident, that Retta was Asian (Vietnamese), I did the typical [inappropriate] Malaka thing and made an ethnic joke. I mean, I’m Black. I’m allowed to do that right? WE get a pass on all things concerning race. To my surprise and delight, Retta not only laughed, but returned the quip. An Asian girl with thick skin?? Who ever heard of such a thing. I <3 ‘ed her immediately and threatened to write a ‘Vietnamese Expose’. She said she’d be waiting for it; and guess what? Gave me FUEL for my piece! Love it.

So here I sit, ready to pen something horribly stereotypical and mildly witty concerning all things from the far East. The only problem is, the more I’ve mulled over their stereotypes, I found that there are a startling number of similarities between Africans and Asians. This is scary, so hold on to your seat belts:

1) Not all Asians are good at math and science: Retta said she is walking proof of that. Oddly, not all Black people (Africans) can dance/rap. I’M walking proof of that.

2) Not all Asians have good manners: This was exhibited by a porpoise of a Japanese boy who rudely hit me with his flipper/leg at the pool and just kept swimming like I wasn’t standing there. Had he been Black, he would have asked my why I was standing in the pool in the first place.

3) Asian women will do your hair/nails in their kitchen/salon: Dude! That’s where we do our hair too! The hot comb shares a burner with the skillet bubbling with fish grease! Uncanny…

4) If given the opportunity, an Asian is not likely to object to marrying White (ditto for Africans): Add to that – Asian men are highly unlikely to marry a Black woman- which is just astonishing, because Black men are highly unlikely to marry a Black woman either.

5) We both LOVE hot sauce: And by ‘hot sauce’ we mean dousing our food in molten chilli peppers. Keeps ya regular, ya know? It’s how Asians and Africans stay so thin and limber.

6) You would think Asians are the only people who eat dog, right? Wrong! Check it – A couple of African tribes eat dog (and cat) meat too! Retta made a joke about eating her dog, and NO ONE laughed (but me of course). Because I get it. It’s funny. Har-har…

7) We’ve BOTH suffered discrimination in America: I realized this only when I was watching Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story this weekend. How about Jason Scott Lee (ummm) squinted his slanty eyes and mocked “Hoo…Sho sholly mister white man! You wan’ I make Chinese foo’ fo’ you mister white man?!?! Hoo..!” That’s how Asians were portrayed in the movies for decades. As bumbling, buck toothed miscreants. Their men were libido-less and their women were sex crazed. Somehow, Black women are the new picture of hyper-sexuality (or hostility) and our Asian sisters are seen as servile, sweet daffodils. Wrong! A trip to the salon where I get my eye-brows arched with dispel that notion.

7b) The US Government has done us BOTH dirty: Remember after Pearl Harbor was bombed? The government seized the homes and assets of thousands of Japanese-American citizens and moved them into camps. Right here! In America. Ever heard of Black Wall St in Tulsa, OK? I bet you haven’t, because the government sent a couple of B-52s and bombed the crap out of it. Gotta keep the yellow and brown folk in their place, you know?

8 ) They built the rail roads and we picked cotton. America would be no where without us.

But here’s what I don’t understand. How is it that with all our similarities, my Asian sister, Retta and her ilk are now seen as intelligent, motivated, gifted and valuable members of this society, and us Black folk are seen as…well… a scourge. Shoot, there are days when even I don’t want to see or be around Black folk. I mean everybody loves Thai/Chinese food. But nobody wants to have a bite of my fufu and groundnut soup. Is it in the soy sauce?

Heck if I know.

Of Baby Naming and Tribalism

When I was about 14, my sister and I got this poster that we hung on our bedroom closet that listed the ‘Great Queens of Africa’. It featured your usual suspects: Nzinga, Nefertiti, Queen Nandi and Yaa Asantewaa.

With their faces staring back in the moonlight, I used to wonder what their majestic lives must have been like in ancient Africa. Every durbar I’d hitherto attended in Ghana featured some 200+ pound something queen mother being hoisted about in a palanquin, clad in gold and kente. I imaged these ‘ lives must have been the epitome of luxury. It wasn’t until I did a little research on my closet decor that I found out I was completely wrong.

Nzinga spent much of her reign rebuffing Portugal’s invasion of her lands. After disappearing for 14 years, it is believed that Nefertiti returned as a cross dressing male and ruled Eqypt as a “man” until she was murdered a few years later in an attempt to return Egypt to more “traditional” values. Nandi fought tooth and nail to have her bastard son (fathered by her 1st or 2nd cousin, I believe) enthroned to rule over the Zulu nation. And then there was my favorite – Yaa Asantewaa, Queen Mother of Ejisu, who after the men of her clan feared/resisted open combat with the British (in)famously said:

Now I see that some of you fear to go forward to fight for our king. If it [was] in the brave days of Osei Tutu, Okomfo Anokye and Opoku Ware, chiefs would not sit down to see their king to be taken away without firing a shot. No European could have dared speak to chiefs of Asante in the way the governor spoke to you this morning. Is it true that the bravery of Asante is no more? I cannot believe it. It cannot be! I must say this: if you, the men of Asante, will not go forward, then we will. We, the women, will. I shall call upon my fellow women. We will fight the white men. We will fight till the last of us falls in the battlefields.


Asantewaa

Gangsta!

So, as an impressionable pubescent girl, I decided that if I ever had a daughter, I would name her Yaa Asantewaa. Simple enough, right? Wrong.

When my second daughter, Aya, was born on a Thursday, I thought “What luck!” I could fulfill that youthful dream and have a child named after a warrior queen. When I called to ask my father’s council (as I often do with most things under the label “Ghanaian”) he shot down my lofty notions immediately.

“You can’t name her Asantewaa,” he said with finality.

I was bewildered.

“Why not??”

“Because we are not Ashantis.”

Well…that made sense. Or at least it did until I thought about all my very Ghanaian school chums with names like Christabel, Archimedes and Phineas. They weren’t English, Greek or Crete either, but I suppose it’s far more acceptable for a Ga to call his son “Phineas” than to name him “Osei”. My father suggested I name her Yaa Otubia after my great-grandmother. There were only two problems with that: I didn’t (and still don’t) find Otubia a particularly attractive name, and the only memory I have of my great-gran was meeting her in the market where she was a trader. Make no mistake – a market trader is indeed a noble profession (people’ve got to eat after all), but it hardly compares to a gun toting, trash talking queen mother who was ready to duke it out with the Imperial army! So in compromise, Aya was outdoored as Yaa Owusua, much to my father’s satisfaction and to her great-grandmother’s delight.

I thought my dreams of giving the Queen Mother of Ejisu another namesake died that week in 2006… until I gave birth 2 weeks ago on another Thursday. When the nurse handed me our birth certificate sheet to fill out a few days later, I looked tentatively at the phone. With a swiftly beating heart, I filled out the form and handed it back to her an hour later. I didn’t really want to hear Kwasi Gyekye’s mind or opinion on the matter, and as they say “it’s easier to get forgiveness than to get permission”. He’d understand, right?

And with that, Liya Malaka will be outdoored as Yaa Asantewaa, Queen Mother of Roswell, GA next week.

Grandma – The Ninja Assassin

If you’ve ever lost your family, or had no family to begin with, perhaps the best thing that could ever happen to you is to have someone adopt you. That, or hijack someone else’s clan and claim them for your own.

Over the last few months, I have come to know and love the Joseph family (our kids go to school together), whose matriarch has wriggled her tiny Island frame into my heart and home. She’s known simply as “Grandma”. Like all mothers, her given name has faded from public knowledge. She is “Algie’s mom” or “Kayla’s grandmother”. I myself have known her for nearly a year, and all I know is that her name begins with an “R”…or is it a “P”?

I digress.

Grandma has taken the place of my own mother, since I’ve been on the outs with her for the last seven or so years. When I have gone to visit the Josephs with my kids, waddling up their cobblestone steps, she would greet my kids and I from her downstairs apartment, and then briskly whisk my son Stone away to fatten him up with goodies that she’s prepared. As I sit here and type, she has absconded with my son to the grocery store to give me a bit of reprieve so I can contend with my new born.

I call Grandma the Ninja Assassin for a few reasons.

1. She always wears her shoulder length hair in a bun, as though she’s about to whip out a household tool to do some menial, but much needed chore.

2. She’s of Asian and Black descent, and her piercing slanted eyes burrow into your soul, compelling you to tell the truth or conform to her smallest request.

3. She’s 4’1″ and 110 pounds (sopping wet). She can glide silently across the creakiest of floor boards undetected. I discovered this the other day when she walked up the stairs to my room where I’d fallen asleep with my week old infant in my arms, much to her displeasure. After watching me for 3 minutes, she walked (I think she floated) over to my bedside and jarred me from my sleep saying “You wan’ me to take the chile?!?” It was a demand in the form of a question. I hurriedly passed the baby over to her and feigned sleep. I can hear ANYTHING. I thought to myself. How could I not have heard her?

4. She cooks a mean meat soup. And got me to eat bull foot. I don’t eat ANYBODY’S feet, ya heard? But like I said, she has magical ninja powers, and by afternoon’s end, I was gratefully staring at the bottom of an empty bull foot soup bowl.

In 2008, I lost my last surviving grandparent – my grandmother who lived in Larteh. In God’s  perfect timing, He sent along a surrogate granny who would do all the things that the late Antie Emma would take pleasure in, like bathing my 1 year old son and simultaneously changing poopy diapers. Like yesterday for example.

Stone had left a steamy, gooey gift in his diaper, which Grandma expertly tamed and banished. 5 minutes later, Liya left a midget sized payload in her diaper as well.

“You wan’ me to clean up her diaper too?” she asked in her sing-song accent.

I have 3 more years to wipe backsides and change diapers, I thought to myself. So YES, I want you to clean hers too.

“Yes Grandma. Sure…If it’s not too much trouble.”

The words had barely left my mouth when she scooped up little Liya and had her repacked in seconds. Like a what?? Say it with me – Like a NINJA.

It’s a little too soon, but I know the day will come when I will muster the courage to utter those three forbidden words to our new Grandma. Whether she says them back or offers me a chocolate turn over instead is fine with me. It’s all love either way.

I’m Sorry

It’s been almost a week since I could bring myself to write anything. I have been sick with heart ache since Ghana “lost” to Uruguay last week in the World Cup. Inspiration, joy and the desire to write a single sentence left me momentarily.

But Ise back now! It still hurts, but the pain has been lessened  by the thrashing that the Dutch meted out against those volley ball playing Uru-guys a few days ago. Thank you Dutch boys.

MUAH!!

Football Breeds Forgiveness

Anyone who has spent any amount of time in the hospital has witnessed the varying levels of compassion and incompetence inherent in all hospital staff. Because I have several good friends who work in the nursing and medical fields, I make it a point to treat my caregivers with utmost respect and cordiality. I mean, my life is literally in their hands. Every once in a while, however, some one in this group takes my lax attitude for granted, and returns my kindness with craziness. That’s precisely what Nima, the night nurse did a few evenings ago during my “vacation” in the hospital.

When she introduced herself as ‘Nima’, I should have known I was in trouble. Nima is the name of a slum in Accra, and the parallels between that slum and her lack of professionalism were much too stark for my liking. Nima (the nurse) was a bronze skinned woman with a high forehead and a thick sew in weave. Her features suggested she was from Kenya, but her accent said otherwise. It was like she had been living in America for too long and her speech had become an abhorition of its former self. I first came to dislike Nima when she came sauntering into my room at 8:30 pm, thirty minutes after I had requested my dose of percocet. (If anyone has had any sort of major surgery, you know very well that not receiving your meds in time can do horrors for your attitude.) She was semi-apologetic, saying that I should have called to get the medicine, and not just relied on the fact that the nurse she had relieved an hour before said she would tell her to bring me my pain killers. I just looked at her.

“But not to worry!” she said reassuringly. “We will make it right this evening.”

I tried very hard to be cheery. I forced a half smile.

“Ok. Thanks.”

“So your next dose of percocet will be at 1 am. You’re scheduled for Motrin at the same time. Do you want me to bring them together?”

“Yes. Please!”

I was relieved. Maybe she would indeed make it right. Maybe I was too hasty in judging her as an incompetent human being. She had recognized the problem, apologized (sort of), and was looking for a way to redeem herself. I greedily swallowed my pain pills and settled in to watch TV. Soon, I fell into a deep, peaceful sleep.

At 2 am, I was awoken by a sharp pain in my abdomen. Shuffling into the bathroom, I got looked at the clock and realized it was TWO in the morning…and I had received no pain medicine. I called the front desk.

“Could you send Nima in with my percocept please,” I croaked.

“Sure!”

20 minutes later, she came into the room, smiling sheepishly. I immediately went on the attack.

“I thought you said I was scheduled for Mortin at 1?!?”

“Yes…I came to the door, and you were sleeping. So I let you sleep, because I didn’t want you to frown on me.”

And do you think by NOT bringing me my medicine, I would be inclined NOT to frown at you?

I looked at her like she was mad.

She handed me my medication, and then dropped one of the pills on the floor. We stared at each other.

“I can get you another pill if you like, unless you don’t mind taking this one from the floor…”

Lets see. I could wait another 20 minutes for you to reappear with my medicine, or I could just brush the track marks from everyone else’s feet that are clinging to my pill and have some immediate relief.

“I’ll just take the pill,” I sighed.

She smiled.

I looked at her badge at noticed her last name wasn’t Kenyan at all.

“Where are you from?” I asked.

“Sierra Leone.”

That explained her crazy accent.

“I see. So we’re neighbors…sort of. I’m from Ghana.”

She lit up.

“Oh! So you are carrying us for the World Cup, aren’t you?”

“Yep. It’s all on us. The Cup has to stay in Africa this round.”

We smiled at one another. The tension in the room lifted between us.

“Thank you for bringing my medicine,” I said.

“Ooo, you’re welcome,” she replied.

She packed up her nurse belongings and headed for the door.

“I’ll see you later in the morning before my shift ends,” she said.

“Great! See you then!”

Seven hours later, a woman with curly, mousy brown hair walked in and wrote her name on the board. Nima had not come to say good-bye…but then I hadn’t really expected her to. Gotta love my fellow Africans.

Sir? May I Lend You My Balls?

About 2 weeks ago, Chris Brown was scheduled to have a concert in the UK and was denied a visa entry into the country. He immediately got on Twitter and lamented over his professional woes by saying no one would give him a second chance, blah blah. He blamed his tanking career on radio stations refusing to play his music and his fans for not buying his records. Then he ended his Twitter bitch tirade on June 7th by saying “think ima go away!!!”

A’ight.

Go.

I was never a Chris Brown fan in the first place, and even less so after he beat Rhianna to a pulp. What? Because she said some hurtful things to him? Because she threw his keys out the car window? Whatever dude. Grow some balls and learn how to trash talk back when a girl is ragging on you. Or better yet, let me lend you my gonads, seeing as mine are hairier and heavier than most young men’s lurking in our society today. You get no sympathy from me because your career is in ruins and you couldn’t finish up “Man in the Mirror” at the BET awards. That’s right. Take a good long hard look at the man in the mirror and return to the music scene when that boy staring back actually becomes a man.

What has got my knickers in a knot? As usual, I am SO glad you asked.

I have spent the last month or so ferrying my daughter’s daycare teacher to and from work, as she has no car. As is to be expected, two Black women have plenty to chatter about during the morning rush hour. The other day, she recounted a story so vile, I was ready to head out and ram my car into the first thug I saw on the street. Here’s how the story went:

Girl. The other day I was walking with my son on Holcomb Bridge and saw this young couple arguing in the parking lot. The little girl couldn’t have been more than 16 or 17, and the dude was a little thug, y’know. Well, she was holding a baby, and as she opened her mouth to say something, this little punk punches her dead in her face with the baby in her arms.

“Say something else,” he said. “Say something else bitch, and I’ll f*ck you up like I did last night.”

The girl stood there sniffling and crying. Well, I didn’t have no cell phone, so I couldn’t call the police and I just had to keep walking. Like I said, I had my son with me.

Wait a minute. In a parking lot? At Taco Bell? In broad day light?? And NO ONE came to this girl’s defense? I was furious. Now, seeing as this had happened days before, these people were phantoms and there was no way I was going to be able to search out this low life myself. So when I got home, I went looking for the next best thing: Reassurance from my husband that if I ever witnessed such a thing, it was okay for me to hit the dude with my car.

“No,” he said. “You can’t do that.”

“But babe. This poor girl had a baby in her arms. What kind of a bitch n*gga hits a girl with a baby in her arms??”

He stared blankly at me.

“Ok. What if I came home and told you what I saw. Would you head over there and straighten that little punk out?”

He looked at me like it was a ridiculous question.

“No. And go to jail over some thug? Nuh uh. Our society is too quick to sue.”

“Ok. So what if it was one of our girls?” I asked.

“Well then that’s a different story. I’d lay him flat.”

“Ok. So what if he punched me?”

“Well then he’d be dead, and then I’d go to jail.”

“So what if this little girl has no father, no brothers, nobody at all to look out for her? And you’re there and can do something about it? Is she just supposed to take it on the chin??”

He sighed.

“Malaka. It’s one thing if I was there and saw the dude hitting her. It’s another for you to come home to tell me about it and then for me to head out there to hit the guy.”

“Well, it shouldn’t be.”

*********

About 2 years ago,  John Quiñones did a special on ABC concerning the very same topic. The segment was called “What would you do?” if you saw someone being bullied, discriminated against, etc.  In one scene, a couple was arguing in the park. The scores of  passers-by witnessing the scene seemed uncomfortable, but kept jogging/walking, not wanting to get involved. When the actors were instructed to escalate the intensity, the man grabbed the woman and started screaming in her face, presumably about to hit her. A middle aged White guy walked up to him, pulled him aside and said there was “a time and a place for everything” and that if he wanted to hit her to do so at home. Eventually, it was a woman that stepped in and asked the female actress if this man was bothering her and refused to leave her side, even as the man continued to spew  insults in a verbal rampage. The stranger threatened to call the cops, and that’s when the ABC team came out and revealed it was all fictional.

It took a woman to stop a man from beating up another woman in public.

So I’ll ask again: Are there any men who need me to lend them my balls? Because it takes a real pussy to beat up on a woman (if she hasn’t hit him first) and puss-cake to walk by and let it happen.