Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Public Throwdowns & People Willing To Start Fires

Without looking at me, he says, “What do you want”? Cleaning his nails, buffing them, shining them, whatever the f--- he’s doing with them, just murmurs, “What do you want”? I give him the benefit of the doubt and continue like nothing condescending happened. “I’d like the glazed donut over there”, I ask. He peers up from his delinquent nail polishing. “Which glazed?” he responds, with a cadence that they’ve been serving an assortment of glazed donuts since the Civil War and that it has been established by law that the Finnish Bistro on Como Ave. in St. Paul has more than one kind of glazed donut- how in Gawd’s name did you not know? I immediately go into a mode of inherent sarcasm raising my voice as if talking on a cell phone with bad reception, “I’d like the glazed donut over there, behind the one with the sprinkles.” He gets it (no, not the donut. The sarcasm). His left eyebrow fluxed ever so slightly along with the corner of his mouth- almost a grin, but not quite- his job hasn’t been this exciting for awhile. The constant flow of house wives, librarians, and middle-aged St. Paul white male angst has grown old on him. No one’s contended his condescension for some time now, so it’s become a wager of “let me take your order without looking at you” until someone decides to drop the gauntlet in this m-----f-----r.

After making the testy response of Michael-Buffer announcing my order to him, he counters with, “I get it, but we have several glazed donuts- Old Fashioned, Raised, Plain…” Now, I understand I should’ve, and maybe could’ve specified a bit better, but I did say “the glazed donut behind the one with the sprinkles”. There is only one donut behind the one with the sprinkles- the one with the sprinkles is pressed against the glass of the display glass screaming for dear life for someone to buy it’s diabetes-inducing sugar kingdom so there is only one “behind” in this situation. Either I’m asking to buy the display glass, or I’m asking for the glazed donut behind the one with the sprinkles- I digress!

So now it’s a mainstay of either I physically point to the donut, or play into his hand. So, I walk two meters down the stretch of display case, look at him, then look at the donut, look at him, then point to the donut. Highly underestimating this man’s hand, while walking back to the register ready to pay my USDollars for this pastry, he looks where I pointed and says, “Ok, which one are you talking about. There is an old-fashioned here and a raised.” And at this point there is no gauntlet, it has been throw amidst the stadium and into the parking lot amongst the tailgaters and ticket booths. I play it cool, like never, and make a direct finger-point and eye contact with the donut.

“Oh the raised!” he says. Words are dead to me at this point. I pay the man, and have my seat with coffee & pastry.

Of the two things that’ve happened in the past hour, that ranks 2nd. What takes 1st was the trip to the coffeeshop. Honda & I coasting on 94 towards the Huron Blvd exit, I noticed a distinct story on NPR. It was about a man who was just released from prison after murdering someone 14 years ago. All I can recollect of his name is Boca Negro. Boca had killed a man over a decade ago, and is now working in the trenches of a low-income neighborhood to prevent youth from committing the same crime he did, or from falling into the same lifestyle he did before being admitted to prison. He tells a story of a kid that came to him to tell him of his family members carrying guns and dealing drugs and how he consults the kid without involving the police. These cases are hella-sensitive in the fact that once you incriminate someone such as a family member, that shit can come back to bite you in the ass… or shoot you in the face. Either way, snitching never ends pretty.

Boca never discusses the element of snitching, but the element of preventative measures to avoiding a lifestyle of violence. The NPR host, who I believe his name was Robert, asked Boca how he defeats such a violent natured lifestyle while growing up in the trenches… physically & mentally. They dialogue for a few minutes and then move on to a caller. It’s a man who speaks about beating his wife, in which he soon admitted himself to AA and found that not only was alcohol fueling his violent demeanor, his worldviews and perceptions of humanity were also contributing to the problem.

I can recall half-a-dozen or so times where I’ve heard on ESPN’s Beyond The Glory, VH1’s Behind The Music, or any MTV Rockumentary where someone says, “I lost the people I love most, my job, my kids, my everything… all on account of my addiction to (insert substance here)”. Now, as fucked up as that may be, to call in to NPR and say you were on the brink of it is a whole ‘nother monster. I almost leaned into the radio to listen closer, as to not miss a word of this hella-important confessional. As I peak up to exit onto Huron and make my way to the Conde-fucking-scending Finnish Bistro, I see a man yelling at a woman besides a car parked to the curb of the exit. The car, clearly broken down and parked amongst construction off of the exit, frustration seemed to be taking the best of the guy. Careening closer to the situation, almost to Essex Ave., I see the guy cradling the woman’s head. It looked as if he were consoling her while she held her face in shame. However, something didn’t seem correct about the picture I was looking at. The tension in his face didn’t match “consoling”.

Peering towards the light turning red, I hit the brakes slowly on Honda- jea, we got it in tune like that- and peer back towards the situation. The guy, still holding the woman’s head as if to console her, pulls his right hand back and decks her swift to the left side of her skull. “Holy Shit”, goes off in my moral alarm, paired with “Did that just fucking happen?!?!?” I look back several times while the guy keeps her in close, to then push her off and pop the hood of the car.

Ok, I can drive away. He’s not going to Ike-Turner that ass in the middle of public/broad daylight, right? No way. I can drive away, they’ll be fine- Boca continues on the NPR program, the husband call-in thanks Robert and Boca for chatting with him, my phone buzzes from a txt msg. Is it hot in here, or is the eminent government shutdown turnin' up the heat in this m----f-----r?

Can’t not do it- I grab my phone, dial 911. The guy on the other line transfers me to Minneapolis. Apparently the Huron exit is so close too close to St. Paul for them to discern one from the other. I tell the lady on the other line what happened. She takes my name & number, and I continue my venture to the bistro.

… and that was the first time I had ever seen a man physically strike a woman. I had heard it happening once at a party from another room, to then soon intervene and halt the abuse from continuing- I’ve paid witness to verbal abuse, but never this. I decided not to call NPR, and just keep this one between 911 and I.  

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hey Hipster

I could make out mostly blues and black dripping down his shoulders in the dim light. If my sight’s going along with my hearing then I’ll credit it to never wearing sunglasses, over wearing contacts & staring at eclipses as a child- however, Bob’s shoulders draped with ink, it clicked in my head the second we greeted to say, “Hey hipster”… A twitch in his eye fluxed with the rest of the bar. I think a man turned his barstool towards me while the bartender considered losing his job over jumping me. I’d handle my own, but logic prevailing I’d be up against at least two blades and a bartstool, none the means of a fair fight. Welcome to Riverwest, Milwaukee.

“…Aaaaaaaaay”, defend Bob to my hipster comment, shakes my hand and we get to work. The show’s setup was fairly easy, the drummer had already organized his equipment on stage, guitar amps were placed nicely about the platform, and my guys were loading while Bob and I conversed logistics. There’s something to Milwaukee, mainly Eastside, that I’ve fallen in considerable love with. The crude, blunt-natured, cutthroat, drug induced pit of it all… feels like home. Credit it to the mass of friends that I initially met at our first Mifflin St. Block Party performance, or the fact whenever we’re hanging out I’m getting paid to speak, would be nice guesses. It’s part of the love, but not the whole. The essence of Milwaukee is in its ease. Relative to New Orleans (if you’ve never been, what the fcuk are you doing! Stop reading and GO NOW), the culture is socially simple- There’s an uptown (Brady St./Eastside), an anti-uptown (Riverwest), a brutally rich portion of the city, and an equally brutally neglected portion of the city (Westside). My dream is to throw a street fest on the Westside and get everyone from Brady to make the voyage over. Gimme 5 years, I’ll get it;)

The beginning of the evening’s show went slower than a play at the Guthrie. I’ve gotten over the nervousness of playing to an empty crowd, and’ve just learned to vamp out and run with it. The effort, energy, and time put into this one hurt to see the outcome. And just as Melissa Czarnik stepped on stage, in came the cavalary. Roadie, a super long time friend, and company start showing up by the Taxi-load. Funneling into the club, all of a sudden we have a half-full Stonefly Brewery and the pending doom to any musician to performing in front of nobody is easily out of sight.

We drink, we dance, we lose our voices, as the night rounds out singing Happy Birthday to a kid named Clay, a week earlier than intended… seeing as he’s scheduled to go to jail in the next few days… for a year.

The privilege to rock a man’s last show before he goes to the clink, run around a foreign city for a night where more people know your name than you think, and do what you love on top of it all… yah, it’ll bring a smile to your face at some point.

K, gotta get to finishin’ this song with Mayda. It’s the last f’ng song on the mixtape… and we have the mixtape party next weekend- geh!
CAUSE SOUNDBAR (3001 Lyndale Ave. S.)
21+, $6, 9PM

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Visit With The Jockey

Sat, June 18, 2011

He sparks a conversation out of thin air- the good kind. “How much do laptops cost nowadays?” he says without maneuvering his eyes from the Nintendo DSI. I have no clue, best friend Will gave me this laptop after he bought a new one, and my brain isn’t functioning fast enough to even humor a price range. “The Nintendo DSI runs for about 100. This is my 5th one”, he announces again without taking his eyes of the game console. “What happened to the other 4?” I ask. He reserves. Becomes a little stand offish. I’m assuming he didn’t expect me to ask him why… Ahhh yes, a coffeeshop isn’t a coffeeshop without a social disorder or two in the building.

And here I am… in Oconomowoc, at a lovely grandmother-esque coffeeshop, sitting 10 feet away from a giant 12 yr. old striking random conversation while on his Nintendo DSI. You can tell he’s not all there. Not all there in the autistic/Asperger sense. I can’t put my thumb on it, but something seems off- bah! Maybe I’m being too quick in judgment. You work with people w/special needs and now you think everyone’s on the spectrum, Toussaint… slow down.

Again, brain not moving fast enough even for sarcasm at the moment- when DJ G-Spot offered up his entire humble abode for the show’s after party, last night… it’s safe to say we took it to the neck. I didn’t get outta there until sunrise. Understand that’s the 2nd night in a row we’ve stayed out ‘til sunrise. I’ve slept for 6 hours in the past two days, and can little hold my attention to a piece of paper. Get it together, man! You have a studio session with Lucy Michelle on Monday, and work on Sunday right when you get into town!

After evading Oshkosh at 9am this morning, Colby, my ride had to work in two grocery stores before the afternoon hit. Colby’s job involves standing next to a beer sampling stand and selling cases of Horny Goat beer (Yes, the name of the beer is Horny Goat). She sells alcohol, I sell music… oh what a match made in hell. My body can’t take it anymore. I run for 45 minutes a day, do several dozen pull ups, push ups, but in the end what’s on the inside is going to be the final judge. We went out Thursday for a lil bit, but last night was just criminal. The show was capacity, however like I said, DJ G-Spot’s after party nearly vampired the life outta me.

Aside from losing sleep and brain cells to the matter, there was definitely something to G-Spot’s abode that struck me… Guy DJ’s 4 nights or less outta the week throughout Wisconsin, lives in the heart of Oshkosh, WI (sorry if I blew anyone’s witness protection right there, but I think it’s common knowledge by now, right?), and has a pad reminiscent of a Los Angeles condominium. The stair case, stair case railing, front door, the everything leading up to his apartment is Oshkosh average compared to the introductory step inside. An assembly of three paintings decors the wall above the fireplace; one captures a full headshot of Slug from Atmosphere, whereas the other two are simple paintings of Slug’s eyes and then mouth; Off to the far left is a 24 x 18 poster of the Rhymesayers’ logo; glass cases (if I remember correctly) containing limited edition shoes, potentially signed records, collector’s edition stuff; To the right of the entrance is a platform full of top-shelf liquor, and in the distance is a sound system that’d make the venue, we just played at, look like a car stereo.

I’ve met people that are fans of Atmosphere, super-fans of Atmosphere, music video models, true heads, and/or hip-hop debutantes- but no one as seasoned, weathered, branded as G-Spot. And who’da thought you’d find it in the heart of small town Wisconsin. Amidst a few people trying to perform skateboard tricks in his living room and a girl passed out on the couch opposite us, G-spot takes a seat to explain who’s going to make it and who isn’t. Yeah, you were just thinking “Jehova’s Witness”- and your absolutely wrong. We discuss who’s going to prevail in the essence of music livelihood. Murs, Prof, Grieves, mainstay Midwest type’a stuff. “See you add to your longevity by touring to towns like this. Big names don’t wanna put in the extra work to come to places like this. Shit- back when Slug was like 26- 28, he was right here hittin’ up shows in Oshkosh”, deliberates the veteran. Admiring the entirety of the 4am scene at DJ G-Spot’s abode, you see there is no light at the end of the tunnel… you see that the light is the tunnel. Wealthy, paycheck to paycheck, Duluth or New York City, you’ll always be fighting and pushing forward towards an endless list of goals with a fierce determination. “Fierce determination” yah, got that from Rupaul while she guest starred on an episode of “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me”. The feeling moves in waves of scary, anxious, and then back to hustle… for the fact this is the way it has to be for me. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

And here I sit in a grand ol’ coffeeshop in the midst of Oconomowoc. Just having found my contacts, my Nintendo DSI buddy exits the shop with his eyes to the ground while b-lining it to the door, “See ya”, as if we’ve known each other throughout the past school year. And damn I love that gesture of familiarity in the Midwest. Shit, anywhere for that matter. When folks can converse without feeling out of place, creepy, or socially defunct. A lot of these folks cast weary & strange glares, but just wish they know who the hell you were so they didn’t have to strain themselves to think about it.

We’re headed to Milwaukee next… back to work. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

C'mon Man. Talk To Her.

There’s a pause in the conversation. With Ricky, these pauses can last for minutes, seconds, or in some cases years. We steered left onto 62 from France Ave in front of a hospital. Ricky hates hospitals- more specifically the business aspect/politics of the hospital, and in lieu obviously couldn’t resist to announce, “Ahhhh, the hospital. People miserable & dying all in the same building. 100,000 die in a hospital a year, how miserable”.

I wasn’t thinking, and personally didn’t care much for the response, but was more interested in getting something outta the guy. Since I got over the whole yearly shopping spree shenanigans, I’ve substituted Mall-Of-America lust for simple social intrigue when with Ricky. In rebuttal to his hospital strike, “Y’know Jane was in the hospital not too long ago. She had another surgery on her gastric by-pass”- Ricky elbow drops in, per usual- “Now, wai wai wait a minute, she had that surgery years ago. Whattiz she gettin’ it again!?!?” I let him finish, wait a moment to pace the damn dialogue, “Yeah, she had it again, for that and for a hernia repair. She’s been bed ridden for the past few weeks with a machine hooked up to her stomach for the next month or so.”

Ricky turns human for a quick second, “Gahhh, that’s insane, man… Wai wai wait- she’s got a machine in her stomach!?!?” I clarify, “Well, kinda. She got an infection after the surgery, and the machine helps out with that”. The air clears. The dialogue goes unspoken, but even a blind man could see the wheels turning in Ricky’s head. Thoughts, ideas, the past, all spinning in that big ol’ dome of his. The guy has no vulnerability… if ever, I haven’t found or seen it yet… but wait a hot-damn second- Sweet Jeezus, I think I may have just stumped Ricky… someone take a picture, this sure as shit won’t happen again.

He digresses, “Well… y’know…” delivering one of those gutturals that doesn’t make any sense out of context, but makes perfect sense in the works of the conversation. Jane had asked me more than thrice if Ricky had said anything about her. As much trash she’s thrown his way (as much trash that’s been exchanged between the two), you could cold read her questioning of Ricky as affection for the guy. She still cares about him, and even though romance has packed its belongings and taken the last spacecraft out the building, old flames don’t burnout fully… ever. Yeah yeah, there are many clauses to that statement, but if ever you had a relationship with someone that went down like a building on fire and there was nothing life-long deal breaking about it… then yeah, the heat is still there. May not be enough to foster anything long-term, BUT it has the ability to foster the next step towards something relatively long-term. Old flames die hard… but never go out. Be careful, this shit is dangerous.

We’re almost to my drop-off, Jane’s house. “So- uh, yeah. If you got the time, you may want to stop in and say “hi” or just ask how she’s doin’. Emotions have been runnin’ high lately, and she’s turned the ammunition towards me more than once… at least twice a day. Basically, I can do as much laundry, housekeeping, and dishwashing as possible and still catch flack for not hanging up my coat the proper way.” Ricky doesn’t hesitate, “Well, I’d be ornery too if I was bed ridden”. We pull up to the house, “Well… yeah, y’know” making a guttural response to Ricky’s logic. He turns the car off, I step out of the passenger door… wait a second, he turned off the car. Is he actually doing this. Christ, I was just humoring myself with all this, I didn’t think he’d actually step in to chat with Jane.

I climb the stairs to the front door that’s already propped open, step in- “Hello”, Jane says to my immediate foot through the door. “Hey, mom… Umm, yeah, dad’s gonna stop in to say hi right quick”. Ricky proudly steps into the house, “Ahhh, yes” soaking in the atmosphere of any space he hasn’t been in for quite some time. “How long ago was your surgery?” he asks Jane. I duck out on my phone for a little bit, assist in the dialogue when I can, and take a moment to question just what the f*ck is happening. Thought the guy would stop in for a quick second, say hi, and dodge out.

“Well, I gotta meet with a few friends in uptown. Love both of you. Lata”. I exit, they continue conversing, potentially not even noticing my leaving. Fine by me. Sweet Agatha Christie! those two are talkin’?!?! I wipe the confusion from my brain a bit, get to work and company in uptown… to whence hours later I receive a text from Jane, “He’s still here!”. Now, Ricky’s not a malicious guy, harmful guy, or even a crazy guy… he’s just assertive- meh, I’ll rephrase that to overly-assertive, too much for his own good. So when I receive the text, I take the fact that “he’s still there” is less to do with Ricky and more to do with Jane. Another hour later, almost finished with a song between Jus Rhyme & I, which I’ll email to him by the end of this week to which he’ll record in Los Angeles, another text rolls in from Jane, “Actually he was very ok. Hugged me. I think he’s worried”. Shiiiiiiit

However, this past evening serves as living proof that Ricky, my father, has a heart. No matter what’s been said or done in the past… that guy undoubtedly has a heart.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Fangs Out Kill #1

It wasn’t one of those private intuitions you have when catching the eye of an attractive woman and instantaneously decide to approach her regardless of how scuffed your Pumas may look. Nah. Returning home from the long run, I stopped to cool-down/walk a half-block past my homestead. The final leg of any run I take off Bloomington Ave. ends inevitably with a full-sprint up the giant hill outside my house. It’s the last hurrah, the come-to-Jesus (as they would say at the U of MN Track & Field Team for the split second I was on it), the high-knee drill, etc. However, now at the top, and cooling down, the alarm going off in my brain isn’t anything to do with “runner’s high”, or again something internal. My Spider-Sense went off, pulling my left ear back to staring at the creek across my driveway. Almost to the back door, my torso in full twist, still breathing heavily… and stopped. It all stopped.

The brightest hue of orange creatures trotted across the street. As if to escape the concrete and retreat back to the small stretch of untouched woods within the city, the fox stopped quicker than expected. We held a prom-night stare for what seemed to be an entire slow dance, more realistically 30 seconds. Sweet Jesus, what the fuck is a fox doing in my backyard? Is this Minneapolis? Mother of mercy I need to get the hell outta this town. Maybe this is a sign I need to leave for Los Angeles sooner than intended, or just means- Ahhhh, where is it going? You really shouldn’t be chasing down wild animals, Toussaint… especially with the health insurance you have. If that thing bites you, you’re gonna have to lay down and let what higher power graduate you to the hereafter in a painful fit of rabies & blood-loss. Meh, curiosity can win today- I bolt for the house, grab a handful of dog food from Henry’s tin, and sprint back to the fox. Noice, it’s still in the open. Thinking the orange beaut would stay put if I approached, I engaged slowly… no dice, this thing’s on the f’ng run. It meticulously mirrors every move I make (ref: Afro Droid vs. Afro Samurai).

Blocking its next move towards the thick of woods, I toss a piece of the dog food as far as I can. Fox picks it up, begins eating like it hasn’t had a meal since N’SYNC had a hit. I sprawl the rest of the dog food into the air. The fox goes haywire for the food… and then stops, gives me that deadly prom-night stare again. I crouch down, stare back- and at this point, I’d like you to please imagine looking out your living room window to see a 20-something man in short shorts, running shoes, whilst crouching & giving death-stares to a wild fox… Done? Yeah, I’d call the cops too.

Fox bolts into the small wilderness of the creek. “Holy shit”, to myself out loud. I walk back to my humble abode. The logic then sinks in… what about Stashi? Sidenote: Stashi is our housecat. She’s small, quirky, befriends dogs & any new incomers to the household… but she’s also a cold-blooded killer. One afternoon, she left a perfectly split baby rabbit on our back door. No blood shed, no guts, no nothing… just the bottom half of a baby bunny. I’m sensitive like that, and somewhat resent the f’ng absolute inevitable make-up to Stashi’s genetics that results in gruesome attacks on infantile rabbits. What the fuck is next, dead puppies on my doorstep? Meh, can take the cat out the jungle, can’t take the jungle out the… If Stashi were to meet this fox, it would assuredly result in an epic battle of domesticated killer vs. wild animal… Again, the sensitive-Stanley in me couldn’t take spectating Stashi coming home disemboweled by a wild fox, or in the other case bringing home a disemboweled wild fox.

Maybe the dog food was an accident. Maybe the fox comes back for more, and instead finds the fight of its life against a remorseless mass-murderering housecat… I didn’t have to guess, I knew this wasn’t the last I’d see of the neighborhood fox.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Dear Mayo, All Apologies

I am going to tell you a secret. There is not a slice, but a whole piece of heaven on 8th St. and Nicollet Mall. Stand there and you won’t find it, but step into Barnes & Nobles, find a magazine or book that has a story to it (not just any story), go to the second floor up the stairs (because escalators are for kids, stairs are for champions), take a right and go to the corner windows. Pull up a chair, place your feet on the metal air conditioner and watch. Watch the whole thing roll by in slow motion hype. If you ever have the privilege to check it out, you can thank me later…

Because I’m feeling generous at the moment, I am going to tell you another secret… I don’t apologize. I rarely say “sorry” and rarely regret divots in the path I pave. Blame it by the attitude I was instilled with from my father, or the amount of stubborn natured people that have impacted my life… but just as I said, it would be an excuse. I take full responsibility for my bull-headed cold bloodedness, but to tell you the truth, I wouldn’t have it any other way. However, right now, at this immediate moment, I am saying “sorry”. Not verbally, simply aloud from the heart. Sometimes things are better said through any other medium than speaking…

Who am I apologizing to, you ask? Her name is Mayo (Jea, Mayo will do for all blog/public purposes). I won’t put her business out there, but I can tell you she’s one of the most beautiful people I’ve had the privilege of meeting. Not only on the surface, but more so within. The gal has a heart of gold, a will to generate her own inertia, and a mind sharp enough to skip the learning curve. If I were in a more liberal mood, I’d say “ol’ gurl got skills”… but I’m not, so we’ll leave it at “she’s beautiful in & out.

Hmm, how to explain the apology and what it’s for, and why I’m giving any life to it, blah blah blah… it starts at Brit’s Pub (not too far away from that whole piece of heaven on Nicollet & 8th). Here, let me take you to St. Patrick’s day, a few months ago:

I entered the Pub looking for a friend I was supposed to meet. Brit’s was absolutely packed to the brim with amateur hour intoxication and young urban professionals who exchanged their passion for a downtown big-boy job (Can you sense the bitterness? I can’t). I grab a pint, find my friend and do the best I can to cater to the table in a tight crowd. My friend introduces me to her friend, Karen (for all Dane Cook purposes, Karen is the best name I can give this girl). Freshly graduated from college, working a big-girl job way out in the burbs, and taking out the week’s angst on her drink for the current moment, Karen is every bit of what makes the tension go round. She’s a poster-girl for road rage, suburban living, and man-eaters. If I had a crystal ball, I’d only need it to tell you if she’s going to emasculate or manipulate her future husband or boyfriend. Wait a second… did I just make a snap judgment? Gah, Toussaint you presumptuous bastard… let’s hear her out first before we start judging an actor by their headshot.

Before she can shoot me qualifications, I draw first, “So, Karen what do you do?” She goes on to spill her passion for animals, how she works for an environmental lab somewhere near Bethel College, how she loves the dolphins, and can’t stand men. Glad we could remove all doubt on this one. What’s strange about Karen is the intensity that seems to be building with every sentence that reveals itself from her mouth. After talking about the dolphins for a minute straight, she’s literally yelling from the top of her lungs… at me, the friend I came to see, and potentially the bar. Her eyes go dark with a drunken maddening rage she’s worked herself into- and blang… she’s peaked. “Have you seen the documentary called The Cove, the documentary about the dolphins in Japan, and how these fucking Japanese poachers hunt dolphins? Ugh I can’t fucking stand them. I’m glad that quake hit that country, they fucking deserved it!”

I go dark, myself. Hold it back. Her mouth is moving, but my ears are mute. My friend isn’t saying anything to her, just listening and weathering the word storm of “20-something crazy white woman” angst, Karen willingly hoses down the table with. Within the purity of the moment, I doubt I will ever be able to marry a white woman… for shame that someday we would have kids, and she just might get drunk & angst enough to unveil a disgusting diluted perspective such as the one Karen is spilling right now. My brain then inverses to the foundation of bringing up kids of color with a non-white woman, the fundamentals of parenting with someone who can relate and empathize on issues of race & ethnicity- and then I start thinking about McDonalds breakfast and how it’s been a damn long time since I’ve ordered a number 2.

Karen finishes her drunken rant. I smile, look to my friend, bid her adieu, turn to Karen “It was nice meeting you”. Exit.

Anywhere else but here, the walkaway was delightful- delovely even. I think my feet got lighter with every step paired with the smile I couldn’t seem to drop. I couldn’t have been more in love with the liberty to do what I want, and 100% disengage with someone proclaiming Japan deserves nothing short of a widespread tragedy. There’s more that could be said- shit, there’s more than more to be said on Karen, but in the end… value your time more than to stand around and smile it thru a irrational rant for the sake of your company’s comfort level. Fuck your arm-chair-liberal-comfort-zone-bullshit-Minnesota Nice, yeah I said it. –Boom… it hits. A memory from a few weeks ago strikes the grin off my mug. After the quake had hit Japan, I’d facebook status’d “Whoa, Japan moved 8 ft., and the earth’s axis shifted 4 inches… end of the world, or is god angry about the Packers winning the bowl too?” Immediately several people commented “lol” underneath the status… except for one.

Mayo’s from Japan, and didn’t find my status update “lol-able”. She gave me a few heated words via Facebook messaging, I gave her the same fire back, but it’s in the instant on Nicollet mall… swagged out in H&M from head to toe, looking every bit a Christmas commercial amongst the old Minneapolis brick road and beaming streetlights, I’m no better than a drunk 20-something white gal shouting racial obscenities thru the air… I’m no better than Karen. And for that, Mayo, I am sorry. I marginalized an absolute tragedy for not only an entire country, but for a planet as well to pay witness to such a horrible disaster… via Facebook status and didn’t take responsibility for it.

The realization lasted all of a few seconds, as thoughts usually do- speeding, disappearing, reappearing. This one, however, was worth documenting aloud from the heart.

A text rolled in from my friend to apologize for Karen’s behavior. My smile returned, and I couldn’t help but think I’m the last person anyone should be apologizing to. I paced the Nicollet Mall, slow enough to savor each step against the brick… slowly back to that whole piece of heaven on 8th st.