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Archive for the ‘out and about’ Category

My Halloween costume was apparently a premonition; of sorts.  We’ll get to that, but first things first.

On Saturday night, a few of us abandoned the district for the greener sprawls of Kensington, MD.  It was the last night of a stage production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Patrick was both stage manager and videographer.

rocky horror

We almost didn’t make it.  We were all 300% sure that we were going to a) die or b) live the actual movie as we stumbled across a creepy castle in the wilderness.  With Google Maps on a Blackberry and two iPhones, we found ourselves looking for a street that didn’t exist, in a dark parking lot, trapped on a no-outlet street and followed by a minivan.

Verdict?  Google: you know nothing about Kensington, MD.

Once we actually got there, though, it was good — seamless video integration and full commitment by the actors.  We proudly sauntered in with a respectable collective load of RHPS experience.  None of us were show-virgins, which was sweet because some productions will mark a Rocky Horror virgin for easy cast access during the performance and then our fate could’ve been in the hands of alien transvestites.

When the show was over, I couldn’t help but think a few things:

1. I would like some Firefly vodka — the beverage of champions.
2. We should buy all 22 chapters of R. Kelly’s Trapped in the Closet.
3. Haven’t seen that much simulated sex since the mansion-cult-orgy scenes in Eyes Wide Shut.
4. I wish I hadn’t watched all that sex while sitting near 8 year-old children.

Let’s talk about those last two, shall we?  Cool.

It was a lot of humping.  Everybody got humped.  Everybody humped somebody.  It was also a lot of groping.  Everybody got groped.  Everybody groped somebody.  I realized I would never be an actor.  To not “show and tell” what it feels like when your parts and accessories are being worked over like a project on a tool bench is a talent with which some people are, clearly, just born.

Given all of that, it was weird that we were sitting in the crowd with at least 4 children.  Children.  Not kids; I call peers “kids.”  I mean children; as in people who had very recently spent time in a womb.

Remember how Dave Chappelle would scream, “Better not bring your kids?”  Yeah.  Saturday night was like that.  Great entertainment, we laughed a lot, but you weren’t supposed to bring your children.

They were there, seated two rows in front of us, for all of the cursing, dry-banging, face-sitting and crotch exploration.  The only scene they missed was the beginning of the second act.  Apparently, their guardian knew what was coming and decided that the tossing of used condoms was the line he couldn’t cross while holding the hands of 8 year-olds.

And we’re four, liberally-minded kids.  But seeing them see all of that?  Made us feel like the FCC did when Janet Jackson’s breast appeared at the Super Bowl.  It made me feel like a natural Mormon, not just someone who played one on Halloween night.  Somebody guessed that maybe they weren’t kids but four Benjamin Buttons, because the idea of us sitting in the midst of not one but four reverse-livers was less creepy.

Miss Bianca joked that it should make for an awesome show and tell at school this week.  There will be seven levels of awkward when ‘lil Bobby comes in with the ball gag he found in his dad’s sock drawer and Susie uses arts and crafts time to make three clay figurines that are definitely not playing leapfrog.

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i-insist-2

credit: Megan L. Nell

“No, I insist.”

I say this three different ways:

1. No, I insist.
2. No, really, I insist.
3. Doitforchristssake.

I’ll explain how this works.  Each is situational.

No, I insist.

My momma didn’t raise no fool.  Well, obviously she did.  This blog’s archives are all the proof of that you need.  But at least she taught me how to be a gentleman and I remember those lessons pretty regularly.

If you are near an open door, or the sidewalk is narrowing, or there’s an empty seat at the bar and you are not — or at least don’t appear to be, if we’ve never met — a hemorrhoidal asshat, “No, I insist” is how I let you know that it would be my pleasure to be nice to you.

No, really, I insist.

The tension is growing, here.  I’ve already told you that it was okay to walk first or sit down.  But maybe the gesture caught you off guard.  Maybe you are dumbfounded that I, unlike most strangers, opened my mouth and didn’t hit on you, insult you or just scream unexpected-crazy about how THE PURPLE LADY ALWAYS TUESDAYS WHEN I CHEESE, or something.  Or, better yet, maybe I’m saying this because you said “No, I insist” back to me.  In that case, brilliant.  We’re all getting along and living Rodney King’s dream.  However, no, really, I insist.

Doitforchristssake.

I think you know what this means.  This is reserved for a special class of people: those unable to take hints.  There are subsets of this class: really, really old people; parents with strollers that carry 37+ babies at a time like some sort of Fetal Utitilty Vehicle, but who just can’t seem to decide if they want to go right, left, forward or turn around and then make me miss the light; morons.

Luckily for them, if I am saying this, it is almost always internally; you know, using my thinking voice.  My eyes are like Shakira’s hips, though: they don’t lie, so you can be sure that I am trying to send eye-lasers at them like Cyclops.

If we are at this stage, you are dwindling my hope for humanity.  I am thisclose to spearing you or giving you a stiff-arm to the forehead and feeling great about it.  As a rapper might say, I’m a patient man, but I’m not a patient, man.  I do not have time to sit in the waiting room that is your indecision and read the outdated magazines, that are your facial expressions, while you struggle with the epic choice of “should I stay, or should I go.”

Just doitforchristssake.  I have places to be.

[Note: this post may appear in short form on telephone poles, street lights and storefronts near you.]

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I turned 27 yesterday.  It had been one whole year since my last birthday.  One whole year.  It felt like less.  This last year has gone by fast.  How fast?  [insert adverb] fast.  And that’s fast.

Until last year, there really was only a small circle of people who knew when my birthday was.  I didn’t even have it visible on Facebook — the measure of all things social.  I’m almost never a fan of attention.  Even with this blog; I look at it as (hopefully) entertainment for you, more than a stage for me.  So a whole day of celebrating me?  Well, that has always seemed like way too much spotlight.

But last year, on a whim, I decided to break the mold a bit and admit a closely-guarded secret: I was born, on a day.

Groundbreaking.  I know.

This year, I took another step forward towards being a full-fledged member of society and when the clock struck midnight on my birthday, I happened to be at a bar.  With other people.

Earth-shattering.  I know.

Quick recap?  I thought you’d never ask.

The night started brilliantly when, while washing my face before we headed out, I threw my name into the mix for an honorary Darwin Award.  I hit my forehead on the cabinet over the sink and forcibly removed an inch long chunk of skin from my face.

Verdict: Ouch, but hygiene still worth it.

Sporting a glob of Neosporin, a band-aid and a hat to hide it all, I stepped out with m’lady to cash-in on an invite to meet some new and some familiar faces at an oddly favorite spot: a wonderfully uninterested-in-being-awesome bar.  It was sexy.  Dim mood lighting and folk songs sung by a man as old as Ireland itself.

There were some notable personal achievements that evening:

1. As an homage to Always Sunny, I salted Maxie‘s cleave.  That’s an understatement.  But I can’t do the scene justice, since it wasn’t my nips.  You should ask her.

2. Maxie salted me back with a vengeance.  How much salt did she throw at me?

salt stainYeah.  I know it’s DC, but that’s not coke that spilled from Marion Barry‘s pocket.  That’s a salt stain on the sidewalk.  That’s what bounced off of me.

3. After a long period of retirement, I jumped back into the gum-chewing arena and produced many successful bubbles.  Below is my best work.

bubble gum4. Someone said “Asperger’s.”  I misheard because I listen poorly.  Ergo, I wanted to know how you could get “ass burgers” and whether they were as itchy as they sounded.

5. Thanks to the miracle of TV, we watched Jahvid Best nearly break his neck, during a California vs. Oregon State football game, from every conceivable angle, a dozen times.

But to everyone who texted, called, tweeted, wrote on my Facebook wall, wrote on the wall of my house, and such and such: thank you.  I’m still adjusting to being cool with taking one whole day out of the year and making it call me “daddy,” but I so appreciate that you took time to help me dominate the day.

Maybe next year I’ll grow a pair and actually have a birthday party.

This is doubtful.

The party, that is.

The pair is–

I should just leave.

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Well, not you, kids.  I know I often call you “kids.”  But today I mean my facial hairs; aka neck-sprouts; aka my-stache support system.

My beard is gone.  And I better learn how to face it.

It’s a weird time to be beardless.  At least two dudes1 with blogs of the highest repute — 12minds and JP — are starting, not ending, beard campaigns.  November is National Beard Growing Month, partly to raise awareness for men’s health, mostly because dudes like growing beards.  And so here I am, swimming against the tide.

I had “good” reason.  Saturday was Halloween and we, as a spoof of HBO’s Big Love, were Big Black Love.  Sure: you could argue that taking a shot at an entire group of people — those who play Mormons on TV and in real life — is insensitive and divisive.  But since Mormon-celebrated Brigham Young once saw fit to aggressively preclude blacks from positions of power in the Church of Latter Day Saints, let’s just call this my attempt at a little balance.

Anyways.

I was a black Mormon and Miss Bianca was my wife-one-of-three.  For her costume, we spent a whopping $7.90 at a thrift store for some of the frumpiest clothes seen since Laura Ingalls Wilder adorned her mother’s hand-me-downs.

black mormon_For me, there’s a picture.  I don’t think it does our idea justice so lemme ‘splain.

No jewelry, contacts instead of glasses, backpack, super-pleated pants, gold-buckle belt, tie, name tag that read “Jebedias Pious,” The Big Black Book of Mormon and propaganda/spirituality cards that read either “Want God? We deliver,” “Ask me about our underwear,” or “More V for your P.”  I handed a few of these cards out; one to a lady in nun’s clothing at a nearby table who looked like she’d understand the joke on a deeper level.

But to top it all off, I shaved the beard for that fresh-faced, full-of-joy look.  Problem: I don’t even own a razor or shaving cream.  I only have trimmers and clippers since, like Tim Taylor, I believe in power tools.  So — *braces self for embarrassing admission* — I had to borrow shaving gear from Miss Bianca.  That meant a purple razor and Skintimate.  I’m not proud.  I mean, my face now shimmers with the glow of lavender oil.  At least it’s oh-so-touchable, though.

So I’m starting this month with a naked face; a face that hasn’t been truly naked in a year.  And it’s a cold, cold world like this, kids (this time I do mean you).  Sure: I look more “professional.”  But I’m also probably going to start getting carded all the time, now; even when I only ask for beer-battered cheese fries.

_____________

1Edit: Phampants is in, too. Anyone else?

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It’s not like I live in a metropolitan area or anything.  I mean, everyone knows DC’s reputation for being the boondocks.¹  We’re unimpressed with sewage treatment and as for running water, well, we prefer our water wellish,  stagnant and chock full of encephalitis-carrying ‘squitos.

So I should not have been surprised, on my walk home last night around 5:30, to see the latest in a long line of public urination on DC’s streets.

I was standing right where this marker is

As you may have already noticed, that’s not exactly a shady part of town where one comes to expect random acts of excretion.  But as said above, I should’ve known better.

So I’m standing there, waiting to cross, on the phone with Miss Bianca, and in the little park in front of the old Greyhound building there’s a little girl-child without any pants on.  I’m confused, because at first I don’t see any parental-like figure.  But in a second, he appears.

The dad says something to her and she starts emptying the tank in the grass.

In broad daylight.

Without cover of shrubbery², bench or trashcan.

Just lets a river run through it.

And the dad applauds her.  And I realized he is teaching his 3 or 4 year old daughter that public urination is part of growing up; that it’s the stage after diapers.

Let me make this clear: there are people all over the world teaching their cats and dogs to use the toilet in their homes.  Yet, this man is teaching his human daughter to use any patch of grass she can find.

We are moving backwards, people.  I take this one moment as irrefutable proof that we are raising a new generation of confused children.  And we need to act quickly to buck the trend.

Hence, my newest invention: the bathroom.

Bathrooms are great.  You can put them in virtually any building.  They welcome just about anyone without judgment.  Here’s hoping this catches on like wildfire.

_____________

¹Not the Aaron McGruder kind.  The cow-tipping kind.

²If you’re a fan of wildly inappropriate humor and/or saying “TWSS,” you’ll understand why I couldn’t use the popular synonym of “shrubbery” in this context.

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you are not my hair

Dear DC metro area,

If you think I’m hairy, and you wanna groom me, come on, city, let me know.¹

I am not hairy.  And I don’t mean “I am not hairy” like a creepy guy who insists “I’m not that hairy; my mom says I just got visited a lot by the Hair Fairy when I was a baby and that’s why I’ve had a Geraldo Rivera mustache since I was 3.”

Lip sweater made from real Rivera wool.

Lip sweater made from real Rivera wool. Or, six sheep were killed in the making of this nose scarf. Pick your own caption.

I mean “I am not hairy.”  Not that there’s anything wrong with being hairy.  Except for dramatically increasing the chances of something like this scene from Along Came Polly happening of course:

Yet, it’s like you, DC, have assembled some secret Hair Paramilitary Force (HPF) to stalk me on your streets.

Years ago, for example, what I thought was a homeless man stopped me on New Hampshire Ave. and vociferously insisted I cut my hair.  I now realize he was one of your agents in full camo.

Last week, you got me twice, DC HPF; twice.  First, you got me at work.  A coworker looked at my arms — again: not hairy; I can produce affidavits to that effect — and joked that she wanted to cornrow my arm hair.

Not four hours later, you got me again DC.

I’m standing on the corner of 14th and Irving in Columbia Heights.  Older black dude in a medium-charcoal double-breasted suit and a baseball cap walks up — no — rolls up (there’s a difference) on me while I’m sifting through mail and Twitter.

He invades my personal space.²  He puts his hand in my face, offering to shake, and says “Black Soulja.”

Happy_Gilmore2At first, I’m thinking I’m about to get an informal invite to join The Nation of Islam.  Until I look down at his hand.  It looks like the fake hand Chubbs had in Happy Gilmore, except, you know, an ashier, crustier version.  Let me be clear: it looks like this man had “washed” his hand in cement and then let rats nibble off as much concrete as they could once it dried.  Whatever was left, well, that was his hand.

Reluctantly, I shake because it’s what dudes do.  He leans in even closer, as my head leans back, and

dude: You got a beard.

me: * w *

dude: You got a beard.

me: * t *

dude: You got a beard.

me: * f *

When he says “You got a beard” for the fourth time — and for a fourth time he does indeed — he pulls a used — USED — beard trimmer (bare, no packaging) from his left double-breasted suit jacket pocket and a complete set of trimmer attachments from his right pocket.

I say, “I’m good, bruh.  Good look, though.”  He walks off.

And there, DC, is why I have had enough.  You got greedy.  You thought you could just recruit anyone but this guy blew his cover.  He was too creepy to fully execute his mission.  Or maybe he got distracted by his want to hustle me and lost focus.  Whatever the case may be, I’m on. to. you.

Oh.  And the beard stays.

_________

¹And if you think I’m corny — (for paraphrasing Rod Stewart) — and you wanna scold me, come on, people, let it show.

²If “the invasion of personal space” had a Facebook fan page, I would not join.

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(This is a true story and so I tried my best not to be unnecessarily graphic, but if real blood loss isn’t your thing…)

I was looking right at him but almost didn’t notice when he fell.  It just happened so fast.

We were walking home, headed east on New York Avenue, just about a third of a block from where the major DC thoroughfare hits 1st Street NW.  The lights were green east and west on NY, while the cars on 1st were lined up waiting their turns.

And he just fell.  He was standing on the sidewalk.  And then he just fell; into the street.

From our distance, honestly, it looked like another drunk guy had stumbled and fallen off of the curb.  But as we got closer, we processed more; we remembered more.  We remembered he hadn’t used his arms to break his fall.  He had just fallen headfirst.

As we neared the intersection, the driver of the closest vehicle stopped at the light on 1st Street was still in its car.  A bystander had rushed to the man’s aid and was supporting his head.  The man was bleeding — a lot and quickly.  It was enough blood that someone in a car from five feet away would’ve been hard-pressed to have missed it.  And no one could’ve missed the fall the man took.  Yet, the person in that car remained a person in a car, unmoved.

Miss Bianca took my plastic Safeway bag and I gave the helpful bystander the cloth in my briefcase to press against the man’s head.  I grabbed my phone and called 911.  Meanwhile, the person in that car sat there.

As soon as someone picked up, I gave our location first and described the scene.  About 20 seconds passed.  When I had just about finished, the operator spoke again.

operator: police, fire or ambulance?

me: uh?  ambulance.

A lot was wrong with this.  First, what I told her was the equivalent of “emerg-e-fucking-cy.”  It is her job to get first responders out there.  Second, if it really is my job to evaluate the scene and make the determination about which branch of emergency responders I want to speak with, then, damnit, tell me that before I waste 20 seconds while a man in his 60s is bleeding profusely from his skull in the street so that an ambulance can be on its way while I relay other information.  Third, I’m pretty damn sure that if I didn’t say “we need an ambulance” that anyone listening to what I’d just said would’ve figured out that it wasn’t a fire, for instance, and sent an ambulance.

While on the phone, I was watching the attempt to help and others are jumping in.  One man stopped at the light got out and pulled some sort of fabric from his trunk and brought it over so we could change the “bandage.”  He didn’t ask any questions first; he just did.

The cops got there pretty quickly.  They had been less than two blocks away.  We could see them pull out of the alley and come down the street.  And, soon, an ambulance was there, too.  We gave some witness info and it seemed like everything was under control.  We walked the rest of the way home.

But, to the waste of chromosomes in the car that watched the whole thing and did nothing, and to the operator who didn’t listen enough to what I was saying to realize that “man bleeding from head” didn’t mean “fire truck,” I hope you never need emergency care.  Not that we wouldn’t help you; because we would.  But karma has a really odd way of not being nearly that nice.

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