So we wake up and make our way to breakfast. Duck bought a Groupon for a restaurant called “Back Alley Waffles”. We took a bus and a train and found the spot that was indeed on a back alley. It had exactly 4 items on the menu: Waffles, chai latte, smoothie and coffee. That’s it. But it was a great waffle with fresh churned butter and real maple syrup. We ate and then we made our way to the Supreme Court. The other participants were already out there. The Fast and Vigil is sponsored by the Abolitionist Action Committee which is a collection of organizations that are fighting to abolish the death penalty in America. They were about to have the opening ceremony in the HOT HEAT and though my skin was sizzling like bacon in a frying pan I learned a lot. Then we went and did touristy things like going to the Smithsonian of American history. My favorite exhibit was on Thomas Jefferson and the Hemings family. I am fascinated by the relationship between Sally Hemings and Jefferson and what it means for their ancestors and our history. Melissa Harris-Perry, professor at Tulane, political aficionado, author, mom and one of my she-ros, teaches a class on First Ladies and include Hemings among them. That is so powerful! And I wish I could take that class. Anywho, I also got chills when I saw the Inaugural gowns of the First Ladies and got to the end and saw Michelle’s fierce dress there. Got chills just thinking about it.
We left there and met one of my Twitter friends for Happy Hour. I had never really met anyone of Twitter before but she is always really nice yet snarky and really intelligent. We had a great time as she brought her friend and the four of us talked about everything from politics to television. Duck had to be back at the Supreme Court so we made our way but on the metro I realize that I lost my phone. She calls the restaurant and they had it so she continues on and I make my way back. I try to walk to the Supreme Court from there but it was really hot. Along the way I see a woman with a “Got Drama?” shirt on and the front says DC Black Theatre Festival. She was also with a man and I knew he was an actor but I couldnt place his face. So I walk up and say “Hello My name is_____ I have a degree in theatre from NC A&T and if you need any volunteers I would be happy to help.” She says yes we need volunteers and invites me to an event they were having that night where she would connect me with the volunteer coordinator. I was so excited!
Once I get to the event I end up making fast friends with a guy named Viktor. Great energy, dressed to kill. He told me that he’s a visual artist but his heart was pulling him to theatre. We talked and talked and it was just good conversation. the one act plays started and Lawd Ham Ercee!!!! Some of it was just BAD! But I commend the playwrights for getting their work from page to stage. My linesister met me there and we decided to go to U Street for dinner (thats where all the fine brothers were the night before ;-)) We choose to eat at Alero’s, a Mexican restaurant. Mind you, it was 10:30 at night and it was still 100 degrees! The wait to eat inside was 40 minutes and we were both hungry and couldnt wait that long so we get a table outside. We order our food and margaritas, munch on chips and catch up. Our food and drinks come and my LS was still telling me her story. I ate one taco and just as she took a break to get into her enchilada I look at the street and things start looking really ominous. The sky was dark but it had a pink haze and the wind was blowing the trees so hard. I dont know what it was but something in me told me to grab my stuff and run inside! She had seen enough movies that she followed suite. In fact everyone that was eating outside except for one table ran inside. (They had heels on and were too cute to run…:-/) When I was sitting there I had kicked my shoes off so I had to go back out and get them. When we went back out to the table my LS’s margarita was in her plate and our food was covered in debris. She hadnt even taken one bite. She was tight and hungry! We made our way to the lobby to figure out our next move and the sky opened up. In minutes people were running in looking like they had just gotten out the pool. It was crazy and a little frightening. We waited about 20 minutes before we braved the lightning, rain and wind to get to her car.
Keep in mind that Duck and I are separate as she was eating with a friend also. Luckily I find her even though she refused to pick up her phone. Come to find out she ran out the restaurant just as it started pouring to find her friend, got soaking wet and messed up her phone. Her friend slowly drives us back to where we were staying and we are amazed by all the trees that are down, the police sirens everywhere and the lack of power. I was praying that we had power but of course we didnt. We showered by candlelight, which is not as romantic as it seems, and laid down. It was still so hot but we were so tired that it didnt even matter. We just went to sleep and hoped the power would be back on tomorrow.
Im not sure if this is a post, an essay, a poem or a song.
Im not sure if this will be short or if this will be long
All I know is that it is mine to decide.
Life is Choice.
This thing called life is nothing more than a collection of choices, both conscious and subconscious and their subsequent results.
While in DC I had an awesome talk with a woman named Ann. I pretty woman with brown eyes, short brown hair and an easy smile. Catholic and pro-choice she didnt allow her politics to affect her pleasantries and I respected that. I had never had a conversation about abortion in which I disagreed with the person but respected the discourse. I told her that I, myself dont think I could go through with it. I am a serial nurturer and I get emotional thinking about my future children but that is me. That is my choice. I have a great many thoughts and have learned a great many things but the only thing I know for sure is that I dont know anything. I am not bold enough to tell someone how they should live their life or use their body. I am not bold enough to make that choice for someone else.
When my mother was pregnant with me she was 26 and unwed. Folks gave her money and told her to abort me. She decided not to even before she knew whether or not my father would stick around. He did. And they have been married for 23 years. I told Ann this and she said it was a beautiful story, which it is, and I also told her that I know I am an anomaly especially in the Black community. But I told her that even if my mother had aborted me and my parents stayed together I would still be me. I am more than a meeting of chromosomes. I am experiences, situation, Choices. I am a choice.
Im saying all that to say that yes I have decided to be celibate. No I am not on birth control. No I have never had an abortion. And I have refrained from these things not because of a mandate or a religion but because I chose to. Every day I choose to live my life the way I see fit. And I believe that everyone should have the same choice.
This all started several months ago when Awkward Duck (who will henceforth be known as Duck(If you are a 5 Heartbeats fan as I am you will understand how happy that makes my heart & if you have never seen the 5 Heartbeats, make it happen)) called me and asked if I wanted to go with her to DC for a fast and vigil against the death penalty. Duck works for a national organization that works with states to appeal the death penalty. She needed a volunteer and my travel, lodging and registration would all be covered. Of course I said Of course! Social justice+Free Trip=Im in there! I hadnt been to DC since a school trip way back in ’99 and I had heard so many great things about Chocolate City so I was excited. Time finally comes and I hop on a bus and travel the 5 hours to DC. Duck meets me at the station and we make our way to drop off our luggage.
Now I knew we were staying in a shelter. She even asked if that was ok and I told her yeah. All the other activists were staying there and I wanted to be down for the cause. Well I dont know what I thought a shelter was but this was a REAL shelter. The info said there was a separate section for volunteers and activists doing work in DC but it was nothing more than a partitioned room with monitors(residents with some sort of responsibility) on one side and us on the other. These were prison bunk beds with one inch cots. You even had to take your own toilet paper to the bathroom. Needless to say I was apprehensive but I tried to hide it as I made up my bed. So we put our stuff down and went out to explore DC. We walked to the Supreme Court to see if anyone from our group was there. There wasnt but instead we found the reporters still camped out as Thursday was the historic day that the justices upheld the Affordable Care Act (otherwise known as Obamacare) as constitutional. Duck kept saying that she wished we had gotten to DC earlier so that we could have been there when the decision came down. Reports say that there were thousands of people out celebrating the good news and a few who were against it.
We began to walk in search of something to drink because we had both been on buses all day and were parched. We finally found a place, got smoothies and sat on a bench for an hour and a half talking, laughing and watching people go by. Duck bought a few Groupons because someone got her credit card information and bought $200 worth of merchandise at a Coach store in New Jersey. She went ahead and bought the Groupons so that she would have at least 2 meals before her card was cut off. So that night we had Indian. It was really good but I didnt finish so I had leftovers for later. From there she took me over to U street and my life has never been the same! There were so many good looking Black folks! And the brothers… ooh the brothers. Just chocolate and well dressed and looking like they had all kinds of health, dental and eye benefits.
SIDE NOTE: I am not a gold digger. I could care less what a man makes however I know the importance of good benefits. And as a bearer of life it is my responsibility to make sure that my future kids have benefits. That is all.
We just walked around looking. I am celibate (at least I am going to try really REALLY hard) but after seeing all the menses I knew that I would need to do my bible study and say all my prayers while I was there. By now Duck decided that we wouldnt stay in the shelter. She said she saw the look on my face even though I tried to hide it and that we would stay with her homeboy in Maryland. I cant even lie and say that I wasnt glad she made that decision. We made our way back to the shelter to get our stuff & as we were about to run up the steps to our room the man at the front desk bellows “HEY! HEY! HEY!” all loud and aggressive. Duck was in front of me so she comes back down the steps. He asks where we were going and she says we’re with the fast and vigil, the activists. “You can talk nicer than that though,” she adds and we go on upstairs. We thought that was the end of it so she goes to the bathroom as I unmake my bed and pack my stuff. Next thing I know Duck comes in telling me to hurry up cuz they are trying to call the cops on her. I move as fast as I can, hoping that this is a misunderstanding. But as I get down the stairs I see the man from the front desk fussing with Duck and literally carrying her stuff out the door. We get outside and they are going at it! So we pump off(translation: walk off with attitude) but two men are following us. They are telling us to wait so we can talk about what happened. As the bystander I gave them my unbiased account. It really wasnt that serious and that man blew it way out of proportion. We let bygones be bygones even though the man never apologized and walked to the metro to go to Duck’s friend’s house.
As we were getting off the train, my heavy bag cracked my pinky nail and it started to bleed (this is important 1) because it REALLY hurt and 2) I asked about 20 people over the course of 3 days if they had a nail clipper and they all said NO. Clearly DC folks dont get hang nails.). He picked us up, took us to his house and after showering we all laid down on his California king and though this may sound a lil kinky, I promise there was no sex in the champagne room. I was knocked out!
And if I knew then what I knew now I would have cherished that sleep cuz I was definitely going to need it.
Ok so I know yall are probably so over me. My blogging has been so erratic but I have a good reason. First it was because I moved and going from a very sedentary job to a 1 laptop, shotty WiFi having home cane hinder anyone’s blogging efforts. And then I went to DC from June 29-July 3. So much happened while I was in DC that I cant even put it all in one post. Im gonna break it up by days. Cuz it was just too much to read or write at once. So check for “The Adventures of Awkward Duck* & Me!”
*Awkward Duck is my homegirl’s twitter handle. She will be a prevalent character in my adventures so know her and love her.