Archive for June, 2009

Where were you when

When I heard the news I was in a meeting interpreting from English to Spanish on the fly because our trainer spoke only English and some participants spoke only Spanish. I was intent on my task, glued to the spot when suddenly my phone started vibrating. Normally I would have ignored it but something, a small still voice inside, told me that I should not overlook this particular text! I look at my phone and see only one line. Michael Jackson died today. My homie has an odd sense of humor so for a moment I took it as a jest taking a second to reply with some sort of “for realz??” reaction. Sadly the news returned in the affirmative but I had to set my mourning aside as I continued with my meeting.

Later that evening a friend was helping we move some boxes into a garage to then move them into my new place next week, a nice exercise in transitional dadaism. Of course we turned to the topic of Michael Jackson as she shared with me that the first concert she ever went to was a Jackson Five concert her sister took her to. Reminiscing and talking about what Michael Jackson did for Black People The World Over we smoked our cigarettes sharing a spontaneous moment of silence.

Later still that evening I was kicking it on the stoop with a different friend. It was significantly later. And I was feeling good, I’d been partying sall good. My friend is very obviously queer. You can’t look at hir and be uncertain, you will instantly assume and you’d be right to think ze’s queeeeeerer than a two dollar bill and proud of it.

So the neighbor comes over tells us he’s gonna kick it with us. He is obviously drunk as is his friend. They launch into a long story about a ticket they got for loitering because they were drinking at the park and not 21 and who knows what else they were up to. They’re young and stupid but not malicious. Just kickin’ it No bigggie. So then The Friend starts talking about the cops and then starts launching into how they are Fags and Homos and Lovers. He’s saying this to an obviously queer person yet he has no malice against us. He may have been reading my friend as male or he may just be responding to the odd misogyny/objectification/constructionof masculinity and machismo that makes it okay for females to be gay but gay men are a threat. Either way he’s going OFF.

Then an amazing thing happens. The Neighbor silences him. Tells him to knock it off. Not in a “you should not use homophobic language because in doing so you are participating in the system of oppression that also keeps us brown men down…” but in a quick and efficient way. And everytime The Friend made some asinine gay bashing comment The Neighbor was like nawww man. Including when he was expressing his concern that he thought the cops were going to “touch his cock.” Yup. I had to refrain at that point from remarking.

And apparently part of what defused the tension with the fuzz was The Neighbor making some kinda comment about Michael Jackson’s death. Complete with a reeeediculous little high pitched thing he thinks sounds like him. Right. So of course we have to linger on the subject. And The Friend is talking about how people were crying and shit about Michael Jackson’s death. Not him. He didn’t cry. No way man he wasn’t about to cry. Apparently he will admit to crying when Anna Nichole Smith died. But when he got the text about Michael Jackson he didn’t cry. He assured us repeatedly naw man he didn’t cry. He was cool. He didn’t cry. Not him. He’s a man. Then he went off on some molestation rant. Yeah The Friend’s got some issues. And finally before I managed to escape (my friend had managed to bail) he went into a long story about summers spent with his sister and his nephew and his grandma and going to Houston and the great times he had and how he hates summers now. So much sadness. I managed to extricate myself with the help of The Neighbor and wish them both a good night.

So much sadness. We be so broken and fucked up.

Including Michael Jackson.


Teacher Camp Out LAUSD

This is going on at the Middle School my school feeds into and several other schools in the community.  More to say on it but just thought I’d post since I saw the cameras and drama as I was coming back from a meeting today.