Friday, April 29, 2011

The Crazy Black People Exhibit at the Zoo (aka Washington D.C.)

       There are many places in the world where Black people look crazy; the movie theatre is my personal favorite. However, there is not a single American community that can compare to the amount of sightings one could possibly experience of flamboyant and bold African-Americans than the place that I am currently in. I am speaking of a very special land, home of thousands of crazy Black people, called The District of Columbia. I am here on business, but the pleasure I have experienced from the sights I have seen have made me question why I am here in the first place.

           I must make mention that there are two people in my company whom are from the land of the East. One is Green Bean, who is taller than I am sarcastic. He has incredibly large hands, very long arms, and could very easily knock someone over. He is VERY perceptive and will openly laugh at any one whom makes a fool of themselves which always causes me to get the church giggles (when you laugh uncontrollably at an INCREDIBLY inappropriate time). The other is Buckwheat, whom is adorably muscular and occasionally walks on his tippy toes for no particular reason. Buckwheat is an ambassador for McDonald's. He has the special ability of speaking at lightning speed and has a bevvy of tennis shoes. He is sweet natured with pinchable cheeks both in the front and the back.

                  As I take time to analyze the character of Green Bean and Buckwheat, I have come to realize that there are many similarities which I have to assume are linked to their both being from the District of Columbia. Green Bean and Buckwheat both wear glasses. There is an epidemic of vision impairment in D.C.. They are both particularly LOUD individuals, not all the time, but when they choose to, their volume is at a level that is not accessible on an IPod. They both LOVE food, especially Buckwheat! They particularly enjoy this one condiment called Mumbo sauce. I had no idea what this concoction was. I had to have Buckwheat explain it to me. He said that Mumbo sauce is a combination of ketchup, hot sauce, and other unidentifiable ingredients. It's available at take-out Chinese restaurants with the purpose of being shared with chicken wings. And it's only available in D.C.. Mumbo sauce is the Blackest thing since Chicken 'n Waffles. One time, Buckwheat tried explain chicken fried chicken to me. My head was spinning by the end of that conversation.

           I think it's important to clear up some rumors about the District of Columbia. I always thought it was a state. I didn't think you could hold a separate primary election in D.C. if it weren't a state. I was wrong. The District of Columbia, I have come to find out, is in fact a Federal District uniquely created by Congress in 1790 and thus has no Senators or Congresspersons. I was glad I could easily clear this up online. Thank you Wikipedia! My other question is, is DC the South? Any place that takes only a few hour train ride to New York City seems baffling to be considered so. However, I have been debunked again because my research shows that in fact both DC and Maryland are both located below the Maxon-Dixon line thus being considered "The South". And all this time I thought the criteria for being a Southern state was whether or not your family still had slaves in the backyard.

           I, along with the rest of my company, landed on Tuesday morning in D.C., EARLY! My weakened mental state caused by my lack of sleep and the horrific experience of flying seated next to the Black Michelin Man inhibited my wherewithal. I was not in the appropriate state of mind to take in the visual overload that was about to bestow my eyes. As I walked into the terminal, there they were, thousands of Black people. This was of course no problem for me. I've been to Philadelphia, Dallas, and many places alike before. However, this was a different experience for me not because of their Blackness but because of their "freshly released from prison" demeanor. Many of the men seemed to be suffering from a severe "difference of leg length" syndrome which causes the African American to limp profusely. Normally I find this to be quite adorable but when repeated a thousand times over becomes slightly overwhelming. I must admit that there was a lovely variation in that some were in business suits, others in tracksuits (like my boss) yet all seemed to be capable of busting a cap. "People on the East coast are friendly", I kept telling myself.

          We arrived at our hotel with the exception of one of my co-workers Shoniqua. She wasn't able to make the plane because her name was spelled incorrectly on her ticket. Although my feelings went out to my friend whom had to catch a flight several hours later, I couldn't help but chuckle at the fact that the only person who's name was spelled wrong was the White one. Black people are infamous for purposely spelling their names wrong to mess with the White establishment. I just find the contradiction amusing. Our hotel is technically located in Maryland which in someways is interchangeable with D.C. because of their proximity and similar cultural. There's an East coast coalition among Black people, I believe it also includes Virginia. I also found out that it is incorrect in the Black community to pronounce the name "Maryland" phonetically. Among the coloreds, this Old Line State is to be pronounced "Merrrrrrrrrrrrrrlund" with a very distinct accent on the "errrrrrrrrrrrrrrr". I think it's very important to embrace the traditions and customs of the place you are visiting in order to fully understand and appreciate the full cultural experience. Thus I have been referring to this area as "Merrrrrrrrrrrrrrlund" all week.

            After unpacking, we quickly got into our family van and made our way one of the most famous places among Black people, the Food Court/Shopping Centre/Plaza. We had some tough decisions to make once we exited the van. I was debating between which restaurant would give me the full Black experience of the East Coast. My choices were: Irie Cafe (Jamaican restaurant), QDoba (Mexican), or Panda Express (Chinese). Without any obvious choices such as Popeye's or Waffle House (which only exists in the deep South apparently, I had to take a few moments to select the most appropriate Black decision. I went to each restaurant and looked at the menu and judged the amount of Blackness. Once I found out that the Chinese place had wings, I was sold. Panda Express it is! I don't know about other Black people but I LOVE PANDAS (almost as much as fried chicken). Pilar went in with me. I was surprised that even though she's Mexican that she ultimately made the Blackest choice as possible. I suppose it really is all about who  you are on the inside. And in Pilar's case, it's 100% chocolate.

          We all gathered inside Irie Cafe and ate our lunch. As we sat down, I noticed something very peculiar walking outside. It was a lovely chocolate woman of the 200 - 300 pound variety. I place no judgement, I think it's important to be pushing the barriers of belt sizes. I live in Texas, so there is nothing surprising to me about the sight of a full figured lady. What was of particular disturbance to me and my co-workers were her breasts which were bigger than Expo '86. They appeared to be floating in the air wavering only slightly in the wind like two chocolate hot tubs wading though the air. Her breasts were suspended in a bra that must've been made out of plexi glass. How this woman was able to walk was beyond my imagination. I watched in complete amazement. Her hair was purple and slicked back like Sonic the Hedgehog. She had wedge heels on. I felt sorry for the wedges.

          After eating, I followed my ritual when I travel. There are certain things and priorities that are important to all of us. And I was actually surprised at myself, that I put food ahead of this priority. In any case, I knew that I was well overdue for finding a liquor store. Upon entering the alcoholic's establishment I noticed that there were many suspicious looking people in that store of many ethnicities who were supposedly "working' (let's use this term loosely). I, again, began to get this "I learned to cut hair in jail" feeling from them. I paid them no mind on account of my being on a mission. That mission was Svedka. I hadn't seen my girlfriend Svedka in a long time and was glad to be re-united. After picking her up along with some 7Up I was on my way back to the hotel where I was hoping to run into one of the cleaning ladies who would obviously wind up being one of Pilar's distant relatives.

         Two evenings later, I found my girlfriend Svedka looking a little dry. On the back of the Room Service Menu it had indicated that on Thursday evenings they have $5 martinis all night in the hotel bar. I "Hussein Bolt"ed my way to the elevator. Although, it would be arguable to any one whom knows me that I most likely wound up in the bar wearing a tracksuit on account of my being such an alcoholic that I had no interest in wasting valuable drinking time on outfit selection, this was not the case. To the contrary, I decisively chose the tracksuit as my ensemble of choice to further embrace my Brotherhood. I felt that if my boss could do it, so could I! I must say, it was a very liberating experience. It was like getting an instant tan. I had a lovely time, sitting with my boss and my boss's boss sipping away on flavored martinis and munching on mozzarella sticks! We were later joined by Pilar, Shoniqua, Green Bean, Buckwheat, a guy from Belize (whom I haven't given a nickname yet), and Applebum. It began a small intimate affair but grew as the night got later. I tell you, if you give Black people an unlimited time for $5 martinis, that is a recipe for an African-American gumbo. I had never seen so many Black people (especially men), squished into such a tiny place. In Texas, this would never happen of course, because Black people come in a much larger size down South. But one of the similarities that shocked me was Black Line Dancing making a cameo appearance on the East coast! I thought Black Line Dancing, among with being the size of the sun, was exclusively a Deep Southern tradition. I was wrong. The DJ played "Wobble" and the "Cupid Shuffle". I was thrilled! I, apparently, am fluent in these dance traditions and ended up on the dance floor with Shoniqua and Applebum cutting a rug and adding some new additional choreography to these traditional dances. There was a tiny White girl there with her Mother who looked slightly afraid but eventually joined in. I love that Black Line Dancing truly reaches across the color barrier.

         Ultimately, I am thrilled to become further educated on my Blackness. And what better place to do it than in a community where Mumbo sauce is more popular than the Slave Trade. I have always been thoroughly entertained by the brashness, colorfulness, and boldness of African-American culture. It has taught me how important it is to stand up and be yourself unapologetically, even if you're in a movie theatre. I am slowly beginning to embrace the culture and except my own Blackness. Since landing in D.C., I have worn a tracksuit everyday. When in Rome....



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