Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Power Struggle...

I apologize once again for the lack of updates, but I actually have an idiotically stupid reason why: I suck at life. That aside I had the shock of my life on Friday the 13th (*ironic gasp*) only to find that none of my electricity worked in my house. Jammed in my screen door is a note stating that I haven't paid the electric bill, and that they've sent me 2 notices by mail (never received folks!).

So we walk in the house and there's a stench of just non-air conditioned must in the air. Everything that was illuminated and functional was dark and uncommunicative.

Considering the fact that I was batting a thousand by paying the wrong bill instead of the electric bill, my wife decided to make that phone call to the power company.

"Ma'am we've sent you 2 notices of non-payment."

"Really?!? Feel free to take a look at our payment history, we consistently pay on-time and all of a sudden we would just stop paying hoping you wouldn't shut off the power? That would be foolish!" my wife said.

"Yeah your record is pretty consistent."

"Well let's go ahead and pay it now. What's the soonest we can expect power?" my wife asked.

"The earliest we could restart the power would be Monday."

"MONDAY!" we exclaimed in unison.

This is where a fundamental difference between my wife and I showed through.

My theory would be to pay them on Monday to get our service back on Monday. Why give them the satisfaction of getting their money NOW if I'm going to suffer in the house with no power for 2 days?

Her theory is to pay them as soon as possible to get on their schedule to flip our switch on Monday regardless of the fact that we're paying excruciatingly early. Also this included late fees, service charges and a $75 security deposit.

Still I was no position to argue since this was my screw up, so I piped down and gave her my debit card.

"Don't you have anyone that lives close to us that can do us a favor and turn our electricity back on?" my wife pleaded.

"I'm afraid not. The only people we have on call are linemen and they're only trained to deal with downed power lines."

So for those of you keeping score at home, they have trained chimps whose job is to turn electric power to customers in arrears off and on, however; trained linemen who deal with thousands of volts of electricity during snow and thunderstorms are not competent enough to flip a switch and turn on my electricity, at no danger to themselves or others.

Just checking.

**Aside: I have to give this spouse of mine credit where credit is due. She could've flown off the handle, packed her bags, went to her sister's house and asked me to have my things out by tomorrow. She could have gone postal and started a screaming tirade starting with how much of an idiot I am, and ending with how much I'm going to pay for the divorce. She could've vowed to never fulfill her wifely duties for the next 8 months!

She did none of the above. She was "angry at the situation and not at me."**

"So what do you want for dinner?" I murmured.

"I'm not in a good place right now Darian. You don't want me in public right now..."

"Look. I f-ed up, but that doesn't mean we have to starve. Its 85 degrees in here. What's done is done. Let's go to a nice, air-conditioned restaurant and get ready for tonight."

Twenty minutes later, we more or less sat at the restaurant in silence. I give her the benefit that she was trying to make small talk. I don' know whose venom was worse: Her venom for me, her venom for our power company or my venom for myself.

Friday night was nightmare! NoVa was way too muggy to open the windows at night and sleep upstairs so we were relegated to the Basement hotel.

No futons here folks. In our basement/entertainment center we have an electrically dim: TiVo Box, Bose surround sound system, a 51 inch plasma television, a 4-year old overstuffed chair with ottoman and an overstuffed couch.

Given that I had made the error and was in for a hot sticky night in the cooler basement, I took the chair and ottoman and got about 5 hours of sleep and a crick in my neck and back. T, more or less slept comfortably, but only as well as expected considering the circumstances.

Saturday and Sunday we had grown accustomed to our Amish-like lifestyle and mentally we were racing to the Monday finish-line to return to our electric laced lives.

We made doubly and triply sure that they would be turning our power back on consider how early they had our cash. Everything came off without a hitch, but this snafu was something for the record books. I'm going to be hearing about this screw up well into my 70s.

Oh well...L8er.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Idiots say the darndest things...

I wish to expound on one of the points I made in my previous post about some women choosing to pursue me because of the fabled taboo of dating outside of your race. In this short 20 something span that I call a life, there's been quite a few one liners directed at me and meant to be taken as compliments, but are really just outright foolishness.

Now before you jump down my throat and say that I'm playing the race card, allow me to retort: all of these "compliments" were met with the following: a blank stare, a gawk, and a befuddled "wow" and that was the reaction of the witnesses. I said nothing because reacting negatively would further support their skewed view of African-Americans on the whole. I also feel, why waste my breath with a clever retort, when everyone around me feels it's not warranted. You don't reward stupid.

The first liner comes from a chum of mine in college. She lived a very charmed life of privilege and I represented the only sliver of diversity in her existence. I have no beef with her, because we're still close to this day. I don't hold it against her that I'm her only Black friend and never will. We were talking about a race relations class that I was taking and I was merely saying how interesting it became when we began to talk about dating outside of one's race. I said, "My parents basically gave me carte blanche because I didn't date too much in High School, but I don't know how my parents would react." She said, "If I came home and told my parents I was dating you, they would be happy and fine with it. If I came home with any other Black guy...I don't think they would take it well."

Now to her credit, that's not exactly ALL her fault. However, I never looked at her parents the same way again, because it was plain to me that they didn't consider me Black.

However this next example is on the other end of the spectrum. He was a fellow I knew in High School, and he was from a lower middle class family. He has quite a few Black friends but this still came out of his mouth at random. He actually interrupted out conversation with this, "You know what Darian, you're a cool guy and you're a great friend. You're like an Oreo cookie. Black on the outside and White on the inside." YES PEOPLE! I've had acquaintances that actually FORGOT that I was Black.

He considered me White because I had the ability to code switch, I got pretty good grades, and I kept my nose pretty clean. For some reason in his mixed up head, he considered those "White traits." Despite the very fact that he was White, and the exact polar opposite of me.

***aside: Code switching: It's basically the African-American version of Windtalking. It is the phenomena of speaking one way around one group of friends and speaking another way around another separate group of friends; i.e., using inside joke vernacular around your buddies, but not around your mother.***

And the Coup de Grace was in High School again, during Black History Month. The only span of 28 days where we study people that look like me. The class nerd raises his hand and asks, "Why isn't there a White History Month." Everyone in the room grilled him for being so daft and insensitive. But the teacher smirked and said, "We study White People everyday." Then a student chimed in, "Yeah, everyday is White History Month you Ass! Now shut up!"

I've always lived my life as the "exception to the black stereotype". Not "like the others" in their words. I prefer it that way, because the expectations are advertised on T.V. and rap videos that I should be rough and angry. White men of this idiotic mindset automatically think that I'm trying to date their sister, or trying to steal their girlfriend because I'm Black. White women think my "member" is huge, and that I'm trying to get into their pants because I'm a Black guy, and I actually speak to them as people as opposed to sexual prospects.

I can assure you that none of these idiots have affected me to a point where I would stop talking to White people all together. I don't believe in throwing out the baby with the bathwater. One cannot blame the flaws of one person on an entire race. All I ask is for the same patience in return.