Black and Yellow

I liked the place from the time the plane landed.  It was night-time and American Airlines was late again (gonna rant on them separately – in too good a mood).  We hurtled to a stop at the gate an hour past plan and then walked off the little flyer over a two-foot-wide bridge to the terminal.  It was the cutest little thing, that plane.  The bridge, although smaller, was NOT SO CUTE.

The first thing that struck me as I walked through the gate was the stares of everyone as I walked past.  It was like how small-island people watch fresh blood arrive on the rock with open-faced curiosity.  Everyone watched me rush to baggage claim with my hair flying straight behind me and my scarf trailing off the bag I’d slung over my shoulder.

And then I noticed the second thing.  It was ME they were staring at.  The other passengers got the passing glance I had expected from the city-dwellers in the home of the Steelers!  Sudden burst of panic and a flashing image from a zombie movie hit me until a little boy strayed into the path of my half-run-half-walk with the most gorgeous open-faced smile with his grubby finger pointing up at me.  I couldn’t help but grin back a silly grin while his daddy swept him up and smiled an apology at me.  Panic gone, I realized the gazes were not unfriendly.  I decided to take them as acknowledgment – I’m a tall woman in not-so-bad shape in a pair of knee-high black boots.  Why wouldn’t people stare?

The third thing I noticed brought be back to center.  The only people of colour other than my tanned self that I came across in my entire airport experience were the rough and loud, P-Diddy and Apple Bottom wearing hard-ass African American.  There were four of them.  All there together – one family.  GOT IT.

Pittsburgh wouldn’t have a CLUE of what to do with a tall, smoothe, British educated, half-latina Caribbean woman in Ann Taylor and Tahari.  The total confusion I could now clearly see made me smile to myself as I hauled my bags off the belt and across the airport under the casually curious gazes.

The airport was a cross between the Miami airport I remember as a little girl in the 80s and today’s JFK.  It is efficient and unpretentious, aged but pleasant.  Winter was evident in the caps and scarves, coats and boots, the funny little kids dressed to be as wide as they are tall and the well established darkness outside.  The people were pleasant and getting on with their business with purpose and smiles.  Politeness was loud and clear in thank-yous and excuse mes as the airport hustled out with the feel of a new city.  Dark carpet gave way to a 1970’s tile job clearly chosen for its functionality rather than good looks as I rushed to the Super Shuttle counter.

The Super Shuttle guy didn’t see me approach.  He was singing and dancing and didn’t see me until I said hi the second time!  When he did see me he jumped, sending some stuff from his desk clattering to the floor.  “You scared me!  But I’m easy to scare – especially when I’m singing and dancing to myself.”  HILARIOUS!  Surprise turned to confusion as he heard me speak.  I repeated myself slowly and smiled a teasing smile at him as he processed my accent.

I sat for a while waiting and processing the tone, sight, smell and sound of the place and found the words innocence and openness, curiosity and growth, repeating over and over.  Before getting to where I was staying I had made up my mind.  I like this place.

The The Impotence Of Proofreading

I sent it to my staff and told them I never want to hear about errors in emails again.  And to Bushlette.  And to my mother.  And to my anal retentive English teacher.

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OonDPGwAyfQ&playnext=1&list=PL7A6309E73B10D0AD&feature=results_main]

Land Drown

I rise from my sickbed today

to tell a sorry tale

of how the asthma children feel

when lungs threaten to fail.

The world begins to narrow

and the air begins to thin,

dry land turns into something like

a deep surfaceless swim.

Lips turn blue as the chest heaves

and slaves for every breath

hands curl and dive in pockets and bags

for drugs to stave off death.

PUFF squeezes in the mouth

a time or two (or four)

and if ten minutes pass like this

there will be need of more.

As the wheezing settles, water

and then a bio break

but all the while a-squat and shakin

like a Turkish earthquake!

The drugs will rattle teeth

and shake even your hair

but you thank God for another day

as the fog begins to clear.

When next you see a sufferer

give a thought to their distress

bruised, battle-weary but on fighting

for their next and future breaths!

A B****s Prayer

Father prepare me today

to deal with smaller minds

and people who neglect their brains

and think with their behinds.

I pray you give me wisdom

to keep my smart mouth shut

and be reminded as I go

that lofty words can cut.

Please help me to see

that always somewhere in Your plan

You’ve had a role for stupid folk

since the day that time began.

Guide me to understanding

its Your will that will prevail

and if it were left to my lesser wit

all of Your plans would fail.

Steer my thoughts to comprehend

earthly bright as I may be

all pales in comparison

to Your perfection and beauty.

Remind me that our enemy

loves a brainy beast

and uses more the smart than dumb

to herd prey to his feast.

Father prepare me today

to deal with smaller minds

and people who neglect their brains

and think with their behinds.

The Plantar Wart

There are old school dermatologists that see duct tape as the answer to everything.  The lady who has cared for me is one of them.  I have gone to her for years and duct tape with acid was her prescription.

A bit like an annoying ex boyfriend who decides to stalk you, the Plantar Wart is something I’ve battled for some years.  On my big toe no less.  It makes high heals feel higher (and sting) and makes pedicures embarrassing.  It makes working out very painful (never thought of it before but I can blame it for a few pounds of fat well!) and it makes sand difficult to walk on (the grains dig in and get stuck).  After four years of duct tape my doctor finally said she’d use a laser.  And she must have forgotten because the next time I saw her she was back to duct tape.

Getting a hint that something could be done instantly about this pain in the toe I switched gears and called a new clinic.  They had a new dermatologist, 3 months in town, come on down and try us out.  And so, sod it all, I did.

Walking into the office I met someone a bit like me.  Young, tall, smart, sharp-witted, and spanish speaking.  Like me but slimmer and more pretty.  She introduced herself by her first name (Oh my goodness, gotta love progress) and sat me down.  She took one look and said come back in a week and we’ll freeze this thing off.

Back flips inside!  I was starting to see this thing like herpes or something – constantly unpleasant and unkillable.  Thanking God for the good sense to seek a second opinion, if somewhat delayed, I got into my car and went home.

Then the day came.  Excited I was.  Until I sat and signed the waiver.  An acknowledgement that this could be painful.  “You have been advised and you understand that you will feel some pain, and in some cases severe pain…”  Eh?!!  Calling in the nurse I asked her is there any anaesthetic?  Looking both ways she said in heavy Scottish brogue, “To be honest no, luv.  It’s a mite nippy.  I’ve had cryotherrapy beforre, don’t get me wrrong it warks.  But therre is a bite.”

Ahhhh boy.  Asking the doctor now I’m like “Doctor Rebeka, is this going to be painful?”  Her answer… “it will feel like a cigarette burn.  But don’t worry – we do this to cheeldren.”

Rasta!  When that torch turned on my foot I near came off the bed.  It was like a bikini wax without the soothing cream and baby powder.   On my big toe.  Taking a few layers of skin off… with a torch.   Knotting knuckles together I squeezed by eyes shut, my lips shut, my thighs shut and my innards shut as the torch came back again.  Six repeats of a cigarette burn!

Hobbling home with a bandage around my foot I was a wee bit in shock.  And treatment calls for a repeat in three weeks – God help us!

It had better work.

Walking Naked

Isn’t it amazing how two animals of the same breed and from the same parents can be so different?

Take Lola.  She LOVES to be naked.  Julius sees it as a violation of all things macho and canine – the core values he stands (and pees) for.  Yesterday they were trimmed low low low (to the noyaz as a Caymanian would say).  Ready for the Summer heat and to combat the insect infestation that comes with rainy season.

Take this morning’s walk…

Lola is all smiles and ready to go show off her haircut…

But Juju is like “MAMA WHYYYYYYY!!!  ALL THE OTHER DOGS ARE GONNA LAUGH AT MEEEEEE!!!!!”

Lola prances along like it’s a catwalk… “See mama?  See how the haircut makes me look like I’m smiling?  Isn’t that funny?  Cuz dog’s don’t smile right?”

She dances and pounces, chases other dogs and pulls to the end of her leash.  “Mama try this angle!  What about this one?!  Aren’t I just too cute?!” (Julius – ” Expeditionist Brat”)

But not so my mortified Julius.   He is determined to turn his back to me until I give in and take him inside to hide his shame.  I’m lucky I got a shot of his face!

Don’t you love me? Why do you do this to me?

But turning your back has other disadvantages… and leaves nothing to the imagination.

Please don’t tell him! He’ll never speak to me again!

Busy Season

I’ve been quiet on the Singlestream for a few weeks well.  I’m not dead, and not any less committed to clogging my followers’ inboxes with my stuff.  It’s just Busy Season.

As this blog stretches past the first year and hopefully into many more you will be able to set your calendar by my silence or my dependence on uplifting or nonsensical music videos.  But today I woke up to rainfall outside my window and a little more personal head-space for reflection on the things going on around me – on Busy Season itself:

  1. People are hilarious.  Or maybe it’s just MY people.  But when they are busy they don’t waste energy on hiding their quirks.  And so they pick their noses at their desks without realizing it and don’t butter up the things that slip out of their mouths.  Like “NO.  I don’t have time to scratch my ass… (pause) I mean…(gulp) I’m sorry boss… (terrified smile) I mean, can this wait?”
  2. Busy season is rudely interrupted by rainy season.  You know the April Showers, May Rains and June Floods?  That stuff perfectly describes my workload.  I’d like to have a talk with the Creator right about now.  Can we re-write this script please?  Can you send the rain in about July, when it’s really hot and we really need it?  Because I can’t afford time in traffic when I’ve got 390 renewal contracts to spit out.
  3. Blue tooth ROCKS!  Cops can’t tell when I’m on a conference call until I pull out a pen at 50 miles per hour to take a “quick note” of something I’m gonna have to remember for later.
  4. FACT: It is NOT a good idea to redecorate the house in Busy Season.  What the hell was I thinking?!
  5. Busy Season can make you realize your true feelings.  Either you hate or love your job.  I’m one of the lucky ones – even when I have 28 hours of work to do and everything is due in 24, I know that this “Day from hell” is from a far more acceptable hell than the best day on the job I used to do before.
  6. Water is important.  And so is fibre.  Something often forgotten in Busy Season.  Nuff said.
  7. Busy Season is not something you are ever prepared for.  Every time you spend the months before preparing for the volume, something BIG breaks.  Like the phone system.  Or the printer in the middle of a big contract run.
  8. There are certain things you need to do in the morning to make sure that your co-workers don’t grow to hate you.  Like brushing your teeth.  Or putting on deodorant.  They are not too busy to notice THAT stuff.  Brushing your hair is advisable but not strictly necessary.  These things are best managed with the use of a checklist.  This list should go somewhere where you are sure not to miss it.  Like on the coffee pot.  Bringing backup supplies like deodorant, mirror and toothpaste to work can also help in the inevitable case that you will forget.
  9. An important (but not strictly necessary) thing to remember is that other people have feelings and not just job functions that your job, in turn, depends on.  If you choose to forget or simply do not have the time “to scratch your ass”, please put an appointment in your calendar for the day following the end of busy season to buy cupcakes or donuts for the whole office and sign “I’m sorry I’ve been a bitch” cards for each member of your team.  Please be sure to not go through this apology campaign until AFTER Busy Season is over.  You simply cannot spend the time on it.
  10. Alcohol makes you cranky.  Or should I say MORE cranky.  If, of course, that is possible.  More importantly, it makes you slow.  You being slow, in turn, makes everyone else cranky.  And might drive them to drink.  And then they will come into work cranky and slow.  You see how you are responsible for this?  Therefore, avoid alcohol until after Busy Season.

This post is dedicated to my team.  The deodorant is now in my top drawer, I have put a family-size bottle of Metamucil in the kitchen, and to my PA Mel, please take the petty cash and buy the cards in advance.  Cupcakes July 2.  Mel, please put that as an appointment in my calendar so I don’t forget!

Road Rage Gone Funny

Every time I pass the spot I think of it.

Back to back traffic coming out of South Sound Road on to the East-West Arterial.  There was this MASSIVE Hummer driving behind me.  He was so close I couldn’t see anything but the grill through my back glass with a hint of my red brake lights reflecting off the chrome.  I drove up and he came right up with his grill, smelling my lil Audi’s backside once again.  I rolled down the window and gesticulated – Bobo ease off!  I could barely make out from outside my window a white middle-aged man sat quite comfortably in his own rolling island.  On the damn phone.  So he missed the point.  Moved up a few more feet, gap opened, and Mr. Hum V was slam right up against my rear-end once again.  Right before I got to the corner I pulled off the road in a temper and rolled down the window.

He couldn’t escape me.  He wasn’t going anywhere soon.  And he was on the phone.  But he rolled down the window.

Burnin up with Caymanian rage I bawled out “Bobo you cyaa get so close in sum’n so big!”

And steeped out just as unconcerned in Caymanian nonchalance he drawled out in a deep old Cayman accent “Wha haapp’n you friight’n awah?”

I couldn’t help it.  I cracked right up.  And as the gap opened up again he gestured to me to come in front of him again.