Saturday, August 20, 2011

(UN)Happy Feet

         I'm not exactly sure what is wrong with me (I awake with that thought often). But it seems that I got the short end of the stick when it comes to foot/head coordination. I have not met a person capable of falling up the stairs on a regular basis; I have mastered this talent. I also have a tendency to, on a consistent basis, to stub my toe. Somehow I always manage to stub the same toe making this ridiculous injury more annoying each time. Just when my bruise is on the up and up toward its enlightened path to healing is when Jesus thinks it funny to send a curb flying in its direction. That moment is one of the few which I reserve for incessant cursing. I do not curse on a regular basis, I choose only times where it is only most appropriate and classy. In my life I have had quite a slue of embarrassing foot injuries including (but not limited to) jumping and landing on my big toe (the same one I always stub), my current injury which is called a stone bruise, and even developing a severe case of osteomyelitis (a serious bone infection) in my toe which I assumed developed from my love/hate relationship with open-toed sandals. But today I would like to take you a few months to a very embarassing and silly time of my life. Only now has the trauma has finally worn off enough for me to even talk about it. I will tell you about the story of when I got glass in my toe and couldn't get it out. I will try and hold back on the swearing.

        Of course I don't even need to tell you which lucky toe had glass stuck in it. For Christ's sake, my right big toe is about as lucky as Kirstie Alley's nutritionist. Up until my unfortunate incident (which I am still unsure of how it happened) I had been hell bent on not wearing shoes or socks in my apartment; my personal tribute to K.D. Lang. My best guess is that on one drunken evening I must have been so inebriated from the copious amount of Polar Ice I had consumed that I must have been blithely unaware of the fact that I had stepped on the tiniest little shard of glass. I probably just kept it moving only to pass out on my twin sized piece of fluff (to refer to the mattress stuffed in the corner that I sleep on as a "bed" would be grossly inaccurate). I awoke the next morning and tiptoed my way to the commode (similarly to refer to that misfortune as my "bathroom" would be a joke...and not a funny one) when I felt a small prick in Big Lucky, the largest of toes on my right foot of course. Even though I had mostly sobered up by this point, I decided to ignore the pain because the it was so slight. I understand that Big Lucky has been through a lot in his life and probably just needed a little extra time to wake up; maybe he was just sore. I jumped in the shower, grabbed my Herbal Essences (which has most recently been upgraded to Dark 'N Lovely) and began washing the naps as usual. On occasion I felt what I could seriously only describe as mild discomfort in Big Lucky. I continued about my daily routine, brushing my teeth, flossing my gums, and covering my entire bi-racial body in Shea butter in hopes to become more African-American (Look Gepetto, I'm a real Negro!). As I made my way down the ridiculously long hallway in my apartment (which would be better described as a runway) I found my pace slowing down about 10 feet in. The slight discomfort in Big Lucky was becoming more and more annoying as I was making my naked entrance into the kitchen. Clearly, further inspection was required. I sat down on the concrete and took a quick peek at the bottom of my toe. Nothing seemed the problem. I couldn't find any cuts, scrapes, or wounds. Upon my discovery that seemingly there was nothing wrong I became further annoyed. "Listen you little SKANK!", I scolded Big Lucky, "I don't work my ass off 35 hours a week so you can screw with my daily routine you little bitch! You've given me trouble my whole life and I've just taken it like Pamela Anderson on a God damned boat! Now you listen here. If you don't start co-operating soon I'm gonna send you off to live with the Osmonds!". He seemed to respond well. I stood up and kept on strolling.

         I really feel that when you scold a child, pet, or random appendage that you really get the best results when you have done so in a Bill O'Reilly type tone. As I took a few steps forward I realized that my scolding had really done its job. I felt no pain. I made myself breakfast and took my multivitamin. I fell into the habit of almost taking two (like I do my Extra Strength Tylenol) and immediately spit one out. Thank God I dodged that bullet. I could have ended up like Amy Winehouse. After saving my own life, I made my way back to the bedroom to get dressed. I decided that today was not the day I would show up to work naked. I figured that I needed to wait sometime until I was a little higher up on the food chain so that my progressive act would be taken seriously by my co-workers. I also thought it would be best to wait until I have enough money to buy my own car before I go to work in the nude. I had no fear of riding public transportation with booty to the wind; people ride the New York City subway in their underwear all the time. But I hadn't heard of such an act done in Dallas and didn't want to be the guinea pig. As I  made my way back to the bedroom completely pain-free, I realized that I had a very strange rhythm to my walk. After I made it about 25 feet down the runway I realized that I was limping. "Who do I think I am, Master P?" I said to myself. I realized that I was accommodating the impending injury to Big Lucky. As I tried to re-adjust my posture and weight so I could walk like a normal human being who hasn't been recently paroled, I winced at the pain I felt yet again on my big right toe. Shit! Something was clearly wrong. I woke up my roommate Urkel (he gets the name from the striking resemblance to African-American 90s television character, Steve Urkel). You see, Urkel has one of those magic phones that can do anything. It can find directions to the Mexican border, scan grocery items to do comparative shopping, and I'm pretty sure it can even change your tampon. I knew Urkel would be capable of finding me a podiatrist and quickly. After several attempts which responded quickly with no availability and/or an answering machine I finally got a response. I asked the receptionist for the address, got in a cab, and was on my way. I was so pre-occupied with my self-concern that I did not pay attention to some very obvious signs that this place was slightly illegitimate. Upon reflection, I realized that I should have picked up on some very telling clues that this establishment may have been slightly less than par. Some of these clues, I realize now, were obvious even in my dealings with their staff on the phone. When I called the doctor's office, this is how the conversation with the receptionist went (we'll call her Consuela):

Consuela: Hello
Me: Hi, I'm not sure what is going on with my big toe but clearly there's an issue. I need to make an appointment. Things are only going to get worse.
Consuela: OK
Me: Do you have anything available today?
Consuela: Yes.
Me: So when can I come in?
Consuela: You can come now.
Me: Well.....Don't you need my name?
Consuela: Sure. What is it?

         I blocked out the rest of the conversation from my memory. I can't believe I didn't realize the ridiculousness of the situation before I got in that cab. How shady is it to not be asked any kind of information to make an appointment at a podiatrist's office that is not even part of a walk-in clinic? Once the cab pulled up to the street we had difficulty locating the address. We were on the correct block but both of us were having trouble finding the doctor's office. I checked the address again and looked up. Apparently we were right in front of it. I'll start with the outside and work my way in.

        I cannot make it clear enough that this was NOT a doctor's office! This could not pass for a drive-through bagel shop! This looked like the house from Hansel and Gretel (minus the candy). In fact, a few candy-canes hanging from the roof probably would have mildly distracted me from the horror I was witnessing visually. The truck that was parked outside lengthwise in front of the building was almost wider than the shack itself. I heard the cab speed away from behind me. I don't blame the little Paki. This whole situation was very Jeepers Creepers 3. As I slowly paced myself towards the "establishment" I was for a moment thankful of the fact that I was yet to nourish myself that morning making the inevitable diarrhea a less unfortunate onset. I maneuvered my way around the truck to end up in front of the entrance. Atop the roof there was a small clearly handwritten sign that said "Martin Luther King Foot Clinic" with a phone number at the bottom. "Well I sure hit the jackpot!", I thought, as I patted myself on the back. I assumed the MLK association was just a simple nod to the street it was on with the same name. This was an assumption that would be proven incorrect a few moments later. I  begrudgingly knocked on the door. Normally one would let oneself into a doctor's office but being that this was merely a trailer park posing as an office of podiatry, I felt it more appropriate to knock on the door and waited for someone to answer. I waited some time for a person to answer but to no avail. I shrugged my shoulders, took a deep breath, turned the knob and entered. Before I could even get one foot in the door I was immediately greeted by a cat. "Are you a licensed podiatrist?", I asked the feline. She, the little black ball of fluff, just stared at me. "Meow!" finally came out of little Pussywinkle's mouth after an awkward silence. The little bitch tiptoed her way inside the "office" so I followed suit. I closed the door behind me immediately in fear of the Pussywinkle making an escape. I was unsure as to whether or not Pussywinkle actually lived in the doctor's office but I was not going to risk the chance of being held responsible for losing someone's pussy (I learned that lesson the hard way when I was 11). I blocked my eyes from the unsightly vision that my eyes were bestowed with and turned directly toward the glass plated window to my right. There was a small Hispanic woman sitting a desk behind the glass. I assumed this must be Consuela or possibly Shakira without make-up.

          "Do you realize there is a cat running around aimlessly in here?" was my first sentence spoken to Consuela. "Don't worry, she's friendly" was her response as she giggled at my ignorance. I was appalled. I suppose this would have been a cue (after several others that had lead up to that moment) to cut my losses and call the Paki taxi-cab driver to come pick me up and take me to a feline-free office of podiatry. I needed to be at work in an hour and I really needed to get this shit taken care of and quickly. So I decided to grin and bare it and just get through this situation as quickly and as painlessly as possible. Why I hadn't put some vodka and 7 up in a glass jar in the house and taken it with me for moral support is beyond me. Live and learn. I quickly filled out the form and handed the 3 pages back to Consuela whom I noticed was wearing what appeared to be floral pajamas. Consuela instructed me to sit down and wait for my doctor. She left the room.

          Unfortunately I had no choice, as I was all alone in a chair in the waiting room, to be forced to analyze every single detail of the hideous surroundings that encompassed the entire periphery of my vision. Even before I stepped into the place I knew it was clearly an "urban" establishment (The cat gave it away). I have this problem that as long as my eyes are open I can't stop staring at things that are disturbing (intoxicated or not). My only saving grace of course was that I would be detailing this in a blog at a later date once I had seen a therapist. I will begin with the right wall and work my way left. It began with a small sign hanging to my right saying "Dallas BLACK Chamber of Commerce 2007". I suppose this really went well with the "MLK" theme. Above that was a very large picture, almost a mural, of a Black man skiing. This I found quite disturbing. Since when do Black people ski? You can barely even get them in the water. Why would someone hang this up in a doctor's office? In Texas? And most importantly, who the Hell was this random person and why was he on the wall in the first place? I started to put things together as I gazed towards the center wall. There was a picture of another Black man playing football. I wasn't sure if this was the same man or not until I looked at the photograph on the left wall with a picture of a Black man going fishing. It was clear to me that fishing Black man and skiing Black man were the same Black man making it plausible that football Black man was the same Black man as both skiing Black man and fishing Black man who were the same as each other making all three pictures the same Black man. However, I still was not sure who this Black man was. Surely, no one could be so narcissistic as to put pictures of THEMSELVES up at their own doctor's office? I mean, I've done that to my bedroom but it's my BEDroom. You wouldn't see me barricading an office cubicle with life-sized posters and statues of myself. I was more than slightly concerned that there would be the ultimate possibility that my podiatrist had spent more time creating a shrine to himself in the waiting room than he did creating his hand-made sign outside what appeared to be his own shack. I didn't want to venture inside my imagination to even think about what was to come inside the actual patients quarters. I would find out soon. I needed a drink.

       I heard footsteps coming down the hallway into the waiting room. I held my breath in anticipation of meeting my new found mystery self-obsessed podiatrist. It turned out to be a false alarm. It was only the cat making a return to the scene of the crime. Pussywinkle jumped up and sat beside me. I considered petting her but then remembered a story about fellow Canadian Pamela Anderson contracting a severe case of Hepatitis C. I sat patiently for several minutes to be greeted by Consuela. "The room is ready", she said as she pointed me in the direction of the office. She sat back down at her desk and I made my way to the chamber of doom. Pussywinkle just sat there frozen. The little bitch didn't even come for emotional support. Felines are such skanks.

        The doctor's "office" consisted of a patient's chair that was clearly broken, two other small chairs, a small basket, a desk with drawers, a window with broken blinds, and a small clip-on fan propped up sideways on a book sitting on the desk. I wanted to start crying but I stopped myself in fear of the doctor coming in soon and seeing me. I needed him to take me seriously. The second emotional feeling that I was overwhelmed with was a similar one. Diarrhea. Again, thankfully I had not eaten anything so I knew this was a false alarm. I sat down very carefully on the patient's chair, removed my socks and shoes (not in that order) and patiently awaited my fate. In he walked. It was Black Man! Just like in the pictures! For Christ's sake, this doctor actually plastered pictures of himself all over the waiting room. What a psychopath! Although, to be fair, would there have been a better alternative as to who that was in those pictures. Perhaps a secret gay lover that he lived vicariously through because of his affinity for sports but lack of ability to perform on account of his very hectic podiatry schedule?

           Doctor Black-Man was old, slow-moving, and hideously inarticulate. I wish he had come with subtitles. I have an easier time understanding Flava Flav when I have loud gas (This happens often for the fact that watching any television program with Flava Flav usually causes the onset of gas). "I think I may have stepped on something but if I did, I can't find it. I'm not sure. But it hurts." as I pointed to Big Lucky. Doctor Black-Man seemed disinterested. He put on sterile white gloves which I will admit is a very difficult task even for those of us who are not elderly. He was finally successful with the gloves after what felt like enough time to watch the director's cut of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. Doctor Black-Man began examining Big Lucky. He seemed quite confused (Doctor Black-Man not Big Lucky). He kept touching it so much I think my toenail got "blueballs". Doctor Black-Man then left the room unannounced. I suppose he needed a break after such a long fully committed stretch of work. He returned shortly after with a companion. I was hoping it was Pussywinkle who probably had a better idea of the scope of the situation. Unfortunately it was Consuela. I was very confused as to what business Hispanic receptionist in Doctor Black Man's lair. " Is she going to clean the sheets or possibly change the towels in the bathroom?" were my first few thoughts (Actually they were my second thoughts. My first thoughts were too inappropriately racist for publication). Doctor Black-Man mumbled something in the style of Charlie Brown's school teacher to Consuela who reached into the desk and pulled out what appeared to be a needle.

           At the time, it was not my first concern that Consuela apparently performed dual roles at the Martin Luther King Foot Clinic as both head receptionist and podiatric nurse. The concern at the forefront of my mind was that a Hispanic teenager with nothing more than weekend training in Microsoft Word looked like she was preparing herself to inject me with something! "Consuela! What the Christ is going on here?". She laughed as she looked away and began shaking the needle. "I'm serious! What is THAT thing for?" I demanded. "We think there's a piece of glass in your foot and we need to get it out." she stated. Great! Big Lucky has a piece of glass in him and now I have get it removed by Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Shakira. Weren't there phones that needed answering? You think I would have been slightly relieved to see Consuela hand the needle over to the doctor but given that Doctor Black-Man was older and slower than time itself it was no relief as I was concerned that he may have slight Parkinson's (or the "shakes" as my Nana refers to it). Instead, Consuela's job was to continually spray a cool mist atop of the wounded area to ease the impending pain. This was getting to be more and more absurd by the second. It was at that moment when I started to come to the realization that I was sitting inside of a non-air conditioned shack in the middle of nowhere on one of the hottest days in June in Texas. I began sweating profusely. My face looked like a Whitney Houston concert. I threw my head back on the pillow, flexed my foot, and gazed out the window. "Take a deep breath", said Consuela as she began to spray. I placed my thumb in front of my mouth, violently began biting my nail, and took it like Kim Kardashian on videotape.

        Doctor Black-Man, true to form, took his sweet little time with each poke of the needle. He didn't put all of the numbing medication in at once. He would slowly put the needle in, inject a little bit, pull it out, and then repeat. Was he afraid he was going to get me pregnant? I debated as to whether or not this was an appropriate time to make him aware that I had my diaphragm in. After 5 minutes of Big Lucky being raped, my face was like a salty Niagra Falls. I couldn't stop sweating. I began swishing my head back and forth on the pillow as I felt my eyes rolling back into my head (I guess I really was turning into Kim Kardashian). A feeling came over me that came as a complete surprise. I felt overwhelmingly nauseated. How could this be? I hadn't eaten anything! I tossed and turned as Doctor Black-Man continued to stab away at Big Lucky. "I need a bucket", I said to Consuela. "I think I might be sick." I should point out that Consuela had stopped spraying the cooling agent a long time ago and was just standing there watching. You would of thought I had asked her to drive to the grocery store to pick me up some fresh lemongrass! Clearly annoyed, she left the room at a pace similar to that of a tranquilized manatee. During the time she was gone, I began to feel even worse. I really thought I was going to vomit. I was partially thrilled on account of being able to go to work later looking like Nicole Richie but it was difficult to revel in that excitement when I didn't have a bucket to be sick in. After a painstakingly long amount of time, finally Consuela returned with a small woven basket. Unfortunately I did not end up being sick after all even though it was pretty touch and go for a while. I guess I would have to remain at the same body mass. A girl can dream....

          I looked down at Doctor Black-Man who had taken a break from raping my big toe. He had something in his hand and was examining it closely. He seemed both confused and astonished. He looked like he had just found Osama bin Laden (this was a few weeks before the bearded maniac was killed and then buried in a pile of hummus). Doctor Black-Man showed the spec to Consuela who examined it for sometime also looking like she had stumbled upon the cure for premature ejaculation. I really wanted to know what all the fuss was about but I was enjoying the break from the toe rape so I kept my mouth shut. Consuela gave the spec back to Doctor Black-Man who placed it in a napkin, walked close toward me and presented me with the gift. "Is this the glass you were talking about?" he said. I could barely hear him over the fan. "What?!" I exclaimed. He repeated the question. I couldn't believe it. What the Christ was he thinking? Was I supposed to be able to identify the piece of glass that was plaguing me. As if I had fully examined the shard before I voluntarily shoved it up my own toe! This was absurd! After rolling my eyes and taking a few deep breaths I looked at the two geniuses and said "Well I suppose so!". I figured it was better to avoid any possibility of further needle penetration. I just prayed that whatever it was I was staring at (which was so tiny it could pass as the life and career of Jamie-Lynn Spears) was in fact the little bitch that I had somehow stepped on the night previous.

        After a quick sterilization and gauze wrap, I was well on my way hobbling back toward the waiting room. When I approached the front desk, Consuela was already there seated ready to take my payment. "Oh my gosh, you again!" I acted surprised. Thank Jesus that I have health care and that I had to suffer through that absolutely tragic nightmare of a doctor's visit for the bargain of thirty dollars. I handed her my VISA card which she quickly handed back to me. "We only take cash" said Consuela. "Do you have an ATM?" I asked. "No." she said quickly. "Well unless you happened to find thirty single dollar bills inside my toe when you were searching in there, I'm not sure how you expect me to pay you." She said that she would make an "exception" and allow me to send them a cheque at a later date (as if that was going to happen) and let me go. I said goodbye to Pussywhistle, called a cab and was on my way home.

          I have no idea how a business gets away with being such a disaster. If I kept my house in the kind of shape that the doctor's did in their office, my neighbour's would call Childcare Services to take possession of my goldfish. I actually don't have a goldfish but the joke really lands well. Of course the most important thing is that Big Lucky was okay. I took him immediately to get a get a full rape exam (not the first time) and enrolled him in rape counselling. He really went through a lot! I sincerely hope that no one has to go through the kind of nightmare that Big Lucky and I had to go through all because I missed a spot while sweeping. I suppose it's a sign that K.D. Lang is not relevant in this current decade. Woolen socks are now a personal requirement of mine in my living quarters. Wearing socks while otherwise being completely naked is a new feeling for me yet completely appropriate giving its African-American roots. Black men LOVE having sex with just their socks on. Just ask Heidi Klum.


Monday, August 15, 2011


        I have always been very open and honest about my childhood tragedies involving the ever growing Chia pet on top of my head. After nearly 25 years of keeping the beast at bay I am slowly acclimating myself into the world of African-American hair. There is no better place to witness the limitless possibilities for the naps than in the Southern United States. However, most recently, my focus on this subject has shifted from a personal investment to an interest that caters toward my lovely chocolate friend Evangeline, whom turns 26 tomorrow. Evangeline is emotionally committed to hair pieces in a way that puts my co-dependent relationship with Ketel One to shame. It made perfect sense that my quest for a birthday present for Evangeline should not do without a trip to an African-American wig shop. Dallas, I have experienced from several trips on public transportation, is the Mecca of detachable hair. I had really hit the jack pot. It did not take me long to discover the crème de la crème of wig suppliers. This establishment located in the heart of Dallas, Texas is better known as Gold 7 Beauty Supply!

          I'll start from the beginning. First of all, Gold 7 is located in a cul-de-sac of sorts in North Dallas (one of the more "urban" sections of the city). In this small array of businesses on Forest Lane includes not one but several African-American beauty related establishments. As I google mapped my way to the location I was bombarded with two beauty shops, a wig store, a place for supplies, and right in the center of the strip mall was Gold 7 Beauty Supply, the Jesus of Black wigs. I had imagined that a store solely dedicated to hair that isn't yours couldn't possibly be any larger than a CVS. I pictured a small room filled with some hair care products. At the end of the room I imagined there would be a counter with a friendly Black woman. Behind her, I envisioned a small selection of wigs and hairpieces that could be requested to be pulled off the wall for further inspection. I really thought this place was going to be a quaint little shop with some Black ladies looking to get their wig on. Apparently, I slightly miscalculated.

         Gold 7 Beauty Supply is the size of Kirstie Alley! This was no CVS, this was a WAL-MART for Black hair! When I walked through that door, I immediately collapsed. I can't remember which knee gave out first but I was too overwhelmed to care. There was just long flowing hair as far as the eye could see. Was this a horse ranch? The small counter that I had envisioned in my mind in fact went around the entire perimeter of the store. All four walls were covered with displays of different pieces with varying lengths, colors, textures, and styles. In front of me were aisles upon aisles of God knows what filling the shelves. Surely there couldn't be this many options for things to attach to your own head. This was one of the few times in my life that I couldn't fully absorb every detail of what was in front of me. There was just too much to take in! My vision was overstimulating with synthetic abundance. Yet, I had travelled all that way so I had to pull it together. I was determined to somehow make some sense out of all of this chaos to emerge triumphant in my quest to retrieve a shiny new hair piece for Evangeline's birthday. So I slowly ventured forward.

          Because of my awareness of the fact that I clearly had no idea what I was doing on account of my being a weave-virgin, I discovered quickly that I needed to escort myself to the nearest person of customer service located all around the perimeter of the store behind the counters. As I made my way around the room in total astonishment of the bevvy of wigs, weaves, and phony-ponies in search of some help, I couldn't help but notice that the persons whom appeared to be working for Gold 7 Beauty Supply were 4'11''. I am not sure what would interest Asian people to sell hair to Black people other than the obvious lucrative aspect but clearly Crouching Tiger Hidden Ponytail Weave is in the making. I walked around the store staying on the periphery witnessing each and every customer service representative who had clearly just arrived off the boat from Beijing all suffering from the vertically challenged syndrome. As I continued to make my counter-clockwise surveyal of the establishment I had ultimately confirmed that everyone employed by Gold 7 Beauty Supply was Chinese and that every person whom was shopping was...well...NOT! All the customers were Black women (plus me). This was ludicrous! Black people need to boycott. How can we let the Asian community take over the one thing that is unique to our culture? The way our hair grows out of our own head is unique only to Black people and yet we're letting the Chinese profit from our nappy needs! Really? Yet, I was quickly reminded by Jesus that I had ventured from far and wide to find Gold 7 Beauty Supply not to make online political statements at a later date but to find a new ponytail weave for Evangeline. Let the journey begin.

        I asked one of the Asian midgets (redundant yet funny) behind the desk that I needed some help, let's call her Beijing. "What are you looking for?", Beijing asked (Unable to pronounce the "r"s of course ). "I'm looking for hairpieces", I said flatly. She stared at me not moving a muscle. I'm not sure if this was because of the Botox or the fact that she's Chinese. I needed to provide more information. "I need the kind that attach to the back of your head with pins", I said as I gestured to the backside of my scalp. "You need ponytail?" she asked. Smiling quickly ensued. I was very glad we were finally on the same page. "Aisle 1" she stated. So I made my way over to Aisle 1 where I expected to search the shelves to find the section that housed pre-packaged ponytail weaves where I would have to make the simple choice between long or short, curly or straight, black or blond and then be on my way. I arrived at aisle one. This is when reality set in. The ENTIRE aisle was filled with nothing but ponytail weaves! Can you believe it? Shelves upon shelves just filled with different assortments of the phony-pony! There were limitless brands offering several varieties of color, shape, texture, length, buoyancy, personalities, and odors. After a deep breath I decided to just take it one weave at a time.

        I started with the shelves on the left filled with weaves hanging in different packages. As I began to read the different labels investigating the styles, brands, and prices I immediately became confused on one non-important yet incredibly intriguing aspect of these products: the brand names. I was perplexed because it seemed to me that in one row of similarly packaged weaves, there would be a different brand-name at the bottom of each one. "Amy", "Star", "Candice", "Urethra".... it was very confusing. Upon further investigation I discovered that in fact these were not the company brand names at all. Please take a deep breath because what I am about to tell you is quite disturbing. The weaves have names! I am not kidding. The weaves themselves are personally named. No last name, they're like Cher or Madonna. I was beside myself! I think it's weird to name a goldfish but a synthetic piece of plastic, this was too much! However, in my state of disbelief I became distracted by an alluring little piece of heaven named Amy. I must point out that although the weaves were packaged and air sealed in like Kielbasa sausages, the store conveniently displayed one of each hairpiece out so you were able to touch and investigate every nuance and idiosyncrasy of the weave. Amy was the shit! She was about 8 inches long (completely flaccid) with very dark and extremely tight ringlets that just flowed like a bouquet of flowers spilling out of my Grandmother's vase. I was immediately hooked. Amy was the one. However, it was made clear that the lovely arrangement of synthetic fibres I was touching was merely for display purposes which meant I was required to locate its accompanying package on one of the several shelves behind it. This would prove to be quite difficult. After several minutes of trying to compare the government-plastic wrapped hairpiece with the chocolate locks of love of love I was currently holding in my hand I became somewhat frustrated that my fully committed rummaging proved to no avail. There were billions of weaves everywhere and it was nearly impossible to locate the accurate phony-pony. I came to find that there were in fact several versions of Amy which under layers of Saran wrap were nearly undetectable to see if she was the exact one as the clump of illustrious strands I was currently holding. Upon further assessment, I noticed that the version of Amy I was holding had a small tag on it with an encrypted code comprised of an intricate combination of letters and digits. I figured out I could simply match that code to the pre-packaged weaves and I would find success. Quickly I found Amy in her package with the same code as display Amy. Surely this had to be the correct one. Or so I thought. I noticed that there was just one discrepancy between the two phony-ponies. Display Amy was labelled with the color "1" which I figured out is a universal numbering systems for weaves all over the country which indicates that the weave is black. This seems ridiculous to me. Clearly one can see that a weave is black just by looking at it, right? The pre-packaged Amy appeared black to me yet was labelled 1B. I eventually found a packaged Amy labelled 1 (no "B") and compared them side by side. I could not tell the difference between the two phony-ponies for the life of me. I needed Beijing to sort out this confusion. "1 is black and 1B is natural black", she said plainly. This was a disaster. What the Hell is "natural" black? I figured that the blackest of black is like Mortisha from the Adams family but still I don't see what would be "unnatural" about that. People have black hair! This was ridiculous. I asked her to take hair pieces out to show me the difference. She begrudgingly did so and I don't blame her. The removal of the vacuum sealed phony-ponies really was a full day commitment. Not only were they air locked (for freshness I assume) but they also had magnets on them that were bolted through the packaging so people couldn't steal them (I guess it makes sense to be paranoid about people stealing things when they are willing to wear hair that doesn't even technically belong to them). I felt like I needed a magnifying glass to see the very tiny strands of almost brown pieces of the supposedly "natural black" 1B version of Amy. What's so natural about that? Nobody's hair grows with random brown streaks in it! This was absurd. Mortisha it was! I was settled. "How much is Amy?" I asked. "$7.99" plus tax. "WHAT?". I couldn't believe it. You can transform your entire head for $7.99. Was there a Canadian weave-virgin discount I was unaware of? I asked Beijing to hold Amy for me. Clearly this was a sign from Jesus that I really needed to stock up!

               Truly I had only made it an eighth of my way through the fabulous land of the pony tail weave aisle of Gold 7 Beauty Supply before finding Amy. I had a lot of work to do. So I ventured back to find some new treasures for Evangeline (and who knows, maybe a few for me too). I discovered a tiny clearance box in the middle of the aisle and realized quickly that I had urges to further investigate the unknown. As I dug through the mound of unwanted, abandoned synthetic misfits I came across a rather sophisticated little bundle of joy amidst the pile of last season's naps. This was one was unnamed (because everything in the clearance box was out of package). She was a small bun with intricate little patterns of weaved strands of hair that criss-crossed along the landscape of this perfect round cinnamon bun. She was too cute and 5 dollars. I had to get her! Feeling completely elated by my new finding I continued to venture through the shelves of hanging display ponytail weaves feeling delighted by every run of my fingers through these synthetic masterpieces. Although I was completely entertained by the bevvy of options, I still did not feel the similar excitement with any of these pieces that would compare to my emotional commitment to Amy. As I made my way to the end of the aisle (about a half an hour later) I was almost ready to checkout with Beijing when I came across a little discovery on the opposite wall. There was yet another un-named piece just hanging unobtrusively on a hanger. She was pretty. She was simple. There was nothing about her that I can put into words that stood out to me yet for some reason she really grabbed my attention. As I slowly became intrigued by her I realized that she too was staring right back at me! Was this love at first weave? I paced myself slowly toward her as she swished back in forth in the wind (the Chinese just LOVE having that air conditioner on full blast at all times). As I gingerly ran my fingers through her (feeling like a pedophile) I realized that there was something shockingly different about her. SHE WAS REAL! I knew this wasn't possible but she felt absolutely, totally, 100% authentic! I had to investigate and figure out what the deal was. I matched her code and finally found the correlating brand in a small package on the shelf behind her. This product, as I found out, is made by a company called Shake 'N' Go and she is made of 100% Indian hair (Slurpee Indian...not Casino Indian). I couldn't believe it! Some poor little girl is walking around India bald right now so that I can bask in the glow of this fabulous headpiece and let me tell you IT IS SO WORTH IT! It's hot in India. Plus, bald is the new hair extension. Sinead O'Conner is hugely popular in New Delhi. She was absolutely perfect. As I continued reading the package, I discovered more great news about Shake 'N' Go. She is versatile! Because of the fact that she is 100% human hair, you can flat iron her to make her completely straight or you can use water to scrunch her up into tightly knit curls for a bouncier more adolescent look! Perfect for R.Kelly fans! This was too much to handle. I was very close to peeing but I retained my composure (insert second R.Kelly reference here....again redundant but highly enjoyable). I quickly skipped my way to the register to pay for my findings. Beijing was busy helping out another customer so she handed my Amy and told me I could go to the register in the wig area. This was something I was not emotionally prepared for.

         The Wig Shop which is a branch, if you will, of Gold 7 Beauty Supply is an animal unto itself. If you are brave enough to go back there you need to fully understand that you may not make it out alive. The Wig Shop is a secretive area of the beauty shop with walls on four sides to protect the identity of the women whom enter this area. You see, the bulk of Gold 7 Beauty Supply is set up like a CVS with several aisles carrying products, pieces, accessories and wigs that are packaged so you just simply shop around, find what you're looking for, pay, and leave. The Wig Shop section is a whole other kettle of fish (African-American fish....maybe Black cod). The Wig Shop is set up like a salon. The wigs are displayed on mannequins all around. Women sit in front of a vanity with lights and office stools so they can fully investigate the possibilities of each wig in complete and utter secrecy unbeknownst to the passers by on the other side of the wall innocently buying ponytail weaves for their friends. Honestly, I couldn't take in any more visual detail than what I have just described on account of my fear of being shot. I immediately felt that I had invaded these women's personal lives by entering their wig sanctuary. I moved VERY swiftly to the register as to be undetected by the onlookers. Guns are VERY popular in Texas. I'm just saying. "Debit or credit?" Shanghai asked me. "I don't give a shit. Just run the card before I get killed!", I was desperate to get out of there. After what had felt like an eternity I finally was able to sashay at an accelerated pace to the exit. I breathed a sigh of relief once I made it through those double doors and metal detectors. Even though I had successfully made it to safety, I thought it prudent to make my way to the bus stop as quickly as possible. Bullets can go through windows last time I checked.

            After over an hour spent inside a world filled with long flowing pieces of detachable pageantry, I feel that I have grown so much as a Black woman. I have a better understanding of the full commitment needed to have a full head of wind-blown hair. It is necessary to devote countless hours and hard-earned dollars coupled with fully investigated research and development if you truly want to look like Shakira from the forehead and beyond. If White people only knew the dedication that Black women and their boyfriends whom pay for this shit have just to take care of and/or disguise what grows out of their own head they would immediately double their annual donation to the United Negro College Fund.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Homeless Swagger

            I've always been a big fan of homeless people because they remind that my life is comparatively so much better. I have lived in 4 major cities and in all of which I have come across a bevvy of jobless wonders. Quite frankly, it always pulls at my heart strings to see an individual with no place to go, nothing to eat, and no Facebook account to login to. I am very lucky that I have never been homeless but my family has cut it pretty close in the beginning. I definitely know what a food stamp looks like. Thus, I do feel an affinity toward people who have less than I, which causes me to always give food when I can. Over the years I have seen a spectrum of toothless people across this great nation. I have listened to loud Christian rants from a homeless Jamaican woman on the NYC Subway. I have been approached by smelly men in Vancouver questioning me where the best place to buy crack is (I am not exactly sure what about my Ora exudes the idea that I know where the good drugs are located. I was wearing plaid that day for Christ's sake!). Although, on most occasions I have resisted the temptation to give money to any of these people, I have most often donated whatever food that happened to be in my backpack at the time. I ALWAYS carry a banana on me at all times for this reason. You never know when you will meet someone whom will need that banana more than you! (I think that's in the Bible somewhere, around page 100....). It always fills my heart with joy and satisfaction to see someone whom can appreciate something so simple like food. It reminds me how lucky I am to be afforded the finances to purchase several bananas a week. Only when graced by the presence of someone whom doesn't have such a luxury does one truly realize his true fortune.

             Amidst my long relationship with the people in unfortunate circumstances, I have recently had a falling out with a member of the homeless community. I must first explain that the homeless people in Dallas are like no other. They are incredibly aggressive, extraordinarily hairy, and speak at a volume that will deafen the strongest of ears! And they LOVE McDonald's. I cannot emphasize this enough. I have never met a group of people that appreciated Ronald McDonald so much in my life. Enter at your own risk in Dallas because you WILL be accosted by Black people that will demand that you buy them a Big Mac! (They will probably ask that you give them the change too). Although, the homeless people here sometimes come across as slightly bolder than the rest, I have still maintained my unwavering attempt to feed the mouths of the hungry with my banana (I feel like I've heard that sentence at the beginning of a pornographic film once. Nostalgia is weird....).

             One day, I was at the Pearl Station, a train stop in downtown Dallas. It was a late night after a long day's work. I was standing at there waiting patiently with my friends Buckwheat (a native of D.C. whom is mentioned in an earlier blog) and B-More (a lovely lady, friend of Buckwheat, from Baltimore HOLLA!). We, the dynamic trio, were standing there enjoying our evening, waiting for our ghetto form of smelly transportation just like everyone else when a homeless man approached us. He was wearing a very large orange t-shirt; this was the first sign something was wrong! As he moved towards us, I noticed there was a very strange rhythm in his walk and he was leaning to the side slightly. I wasn't able to tell if this was a limp caused by some sort of war injury or if that was just his "swagger". Only Jesus knows. Homeless Swaggapants came over to the three of us and started in immediately. I am not sure what it is about the "urban" Dallas community that equips them with the ability to talk for 5 days straight just to make a simple plea for money. A simple "Gimme yo coins BITCH!" would have gotten his point across much more easily. Instead, Homeless Swaggapants decided to take the three of us hopelessly defensive victims through an INCREDIBLY long-winded explanation of why he felt that we should fork over our hard earned money to his triflin' ass. I tried to black out the memory but I do remember something about him trying to go the shelter to get food but they were closed at a certain time and they were overcapacity...blah blah blah! I nodded off half-way through his declaration of co-dependence. When I woke up he was still talking. I screamed a silent Hallelujah to myself when I finally heard him take a breath. This was my cue. "Excuse me Mr. Homeless Man. I can't offer you money at this time, however I do have some delicious food in my bag if you would like some.". Now, I thought this was Homeless Swaggapants's lucky day! You see, I didn't have a banana in my backpack, I actually had a full meal that I had not finished! I had prepared earlier in the day a wholewheat fettuccine with home-made marinara sauce with mushrooms, garlic, onion, green peppers, and eggplant. Delicious and nutritious! I was so proud of myself to provide a meal to someone whom truly needed it! He couldn't get this shit at the shelter. I couldn't wait to see the look of surprise on his face. This is when things took an ugly turn......

            I must first mention that I actually handed Homeless Swaggapants this freshly home-cooked meal in my personal Tupperware container and metal fork for him to take with him with the full intention of not having it returned. Only an angel sent from baby Jesus would be so willing to make such a humble sacrifice for the good of a smelly homeless man. I handed Homeless Swaggapants the Tupperware dish and his utensils. His response: "What is it?". I responded quickly, "Whole wheat fettuccine with home-made pasta sauce". He reluctantly looked at the dish and said, "I don't eat spaghetti". At this moment, I would like to relay to you my feelings in that moment by telling you what I truly wanted to say:


              Please allow me to re-iterate that the previous response was the imaginary one that I wish could have come to fruition. But because I am a man of Christ-like qualities, I decided to take the Holy road towards Jesus. So instead I simply stared for a few seconds in disbelief. I truly could not believe what I was hearing. I am standing in front of a homeless man who is refusing food because he doesn't like spaghetti. Was he on a gluten free diet? I had to choose my words carefully. I said to Homeless Swaggapants, "You don't eat spaghetti? What do you mean? You have no money and no food, you're on the street with nowhere to go and you're telling me you don't eat spaghetti? Listen! Beggars can't be choosers". This was the point when Buckwheat and B-More lost it. At the time, I didn't know what came over them. The train arrived very quickly. I left with my half-eaten fettuccine in tact but my pride officially had been stamped on and crushed.

           As I sat down next to my two partners in crime, Buckwheat and B-More, they were still shaking with laughter. "What's so funny!!!???". B-More had to break it down for me. She explained to me that I was completely in the right. She agreed that it was absolutely absurd for a homeless person to be so rude to someone whom was offering to help them especially when asking for nothing in return. However, she summed up the reason for the great hilarity felt between she and Buckwheat. She explained, "I completely understand why you believe that beggars can't be choosers. It's just I've never actually heard someone say that to a beggar!". Laughter ensued between the three of us.

             I only have Jesus, Mary, and Joseph to thank that I have yet to be homeless. I have been blessed with the fruits of the Lord with food, a bed, and an IPhone. I actually don't have an IPhone, it just seemed so right to say that. Even after my falling out with Homeless Swaggapants I am still a giving, nurturing, and devoted Christ-like being. Swaggapants was sent to me from Lucifer to test my patience. He failed miserably. Although, I may have been detoured for a moment, I still have kept my heart on the path towards salvation. The lesson I have learned on my journey to righteousness is even in the face of homeless adversity to always keep an open and generous heart for all of God' children.....even the unemployed ones. Just don't give them fettuccine....