Friday, February 24, 2017

I've been working in offices of various kinds since I was 21 years old, and during that time you meet different people who fit the same roles. There's the complainer, the hard worker, the unreasonable boss, the couples who thinks they are discreet about having sex but they aren't, the snitcher, the person who over "cc's", and of course the old(er) person who needs to retire but doesn't. I'm sure I'm missing someone but that's a good start.

Today I would like to officially induct another person into that work pantheon, and that's the condescending black woman.

Now at first glance you may ask why I felt the need to single out the black woman in this particular instance and I will be more than happy to explain. In my experience, 95 percent of the white women I work with either snub me completely or are very friendly. In fairness, about 80 percent of black women do the same. If I'm snubbed by either race of women, I mind my business and keep it moving. The condescending black woman represents about 10 percent of the black women I've worked with, and they are very calculated in their movements.

This woman will be friendly with everyone else, except me, because I'm guessing that she assumes at some point I am going to try and holler at her. I don't know that for sure, but for the life of me I can't figure out why someone who I've said nothing but "good morning" to, would consistently not the say same to me. There's a woman like that at my job right now. She speaks to everyone in the hallway, she laughs it up with white men and women, black women, old black men, and everything in between. She says good morning, she makes small talk, etc..but when we pass each other and I say good morning, I get nothing but fleeting eye contact and silence. We have mutual work friends and occasionally everyone will be joking and smiling but when she sees me, her face changes or she just disappears from the area altogether. I asked one of our mutual work friends what her f**king problem is and if she had a problem with me, and he said he had no clue, because she never said anything about me. Fair enough.

Recently, I had to go to her office for a work-related issue, and she kept cutting my sentences off, using a real condescending tone, made little to no eye contact and then she violated one of my pet peeves by asking me questions and saying thanks before I ever answered yay or nay. I started to say something, but ultimately it is about the work, not how that work is dictated to me, and I'm pretty sure if I had said something it would have been blown way out of proportion. On a side note, I probably shouldn't be blogging about this either, but f**k it, I'm like four paragraphs deep at this point, and I need to get this out.

So yesterday, I was in the work kitchen cleaning out my bowl, the condescending lady was sitting down eating her lunch, and our mutual white male friend was standing next to me discussing the trade the Washington Wizards had just made. The dude asked me about the next time I would be covering a game at the Verizon Center, and before I could answer the question, the usually condescending black woman swooped in with barrage of questions:

Oh my god, you cover the Wizards?
Who do you write for?
Have you met John Wall?
Can you get discounted tickets?

At this point I really wanted to offer her a big bowl of these, but instead I took the high road and answered all of her questions, and I emphatically told her no when the subject of tickets came up. I'm a member of the media, I'm not ticketmaster. Anyway, I saw her twice more yesterday and again this morning, and now I'm getting the red carpet treatment. I get smiles, b.s. conversations, arm touching and all of that, which is fine, because my treatment of her remains professional. But I'm still annoyed that line between her treating me like Stanley and her respecting me enough to speak, was her discovery that I did something outside of work which she could possibly benefit from.

Perhaps I should just get over myself.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Back in November my mother published a book called, "The Strawberry Room", which was a memoir of sorts which discussed her divorce from my father as well as the spiritual awakening she experienced afterwards. She had been writing it on and off for for 17 years, and she finally finished in 2016. Shortly after it was published, she told my father about it, and needless to say, he was less than pleased. He didn't like that my mother felt the need to go public about a subject he considered to be very private, and he also was worried how their mutual friends would look at him now as a result of these series of revelations.

I must admit that when I read my mother's book, it forced me to revisit moments and situations that I either a) never thought about from a women's perspective or b) did a bang-up job of blocking out completely. Reading the book made me uncomfortable, it made me sad, it made me angry and that was from the vantage point of a child having a front row seat to the demise of his parents' relationship. I can only imagine how my dad must feel knowing that his version of these events was extremely different than what was published. I love both my parents, but I have no problems admitting I love my dad just a bit more, and I felt for him once he realized this book had been written.

But I also have to admit my mother's book and my father's subsequent bad reaction had me extremely gun shy about doing any additional blogging on this here site. Since 2006 I have discussed some deeply personal details about my life, my family, my friends and others and I really don't know how it affected those close to me. I've shown my parents selected entries, my brother has read it, and my close friends have definitely seen it, but I've never taken the time to ask them how they truly feel about some of the more personal things I've written about. So I just stopped writing for a little over four months, and I fully expected to shut this blog shit down completely.

But tonight I watched an episode of the hit show "This Is Us"--a show which makes me cry every time I watch it I might add--and I decided that I was ready to resume my writings. The episode involved a son fulfilling the wishes of his dying father, and they spent a strong 48 hours together before the father died. Now my thoughts aren't quite as morbid as that episode, but I did think about my sons (who are 19 and 5 respectively) reading this blog after I'm gone, and I'd want this blog to fill in all the details that our conversations and experiences could not. Yes this blog only represents certain periods of my life, but I still think they could glean plenty of useful information from it.

Again, I don't plan on exiting this Earth any time soon, but my plan isn't up to me, it is up to the "Hugh Hefner on High". In the interim, I promise to keep writing as I've been doing on and off for 11 years. That's ok right?

Monday, October 17, 2016

When I picked up my son up from aftercare on Friday afternoon, the woman in charge pulled me aside and informed me that she had to speak to my son about hitting folks. Apparently while all the kids were outside, Nyles got a little handsy and hit this kid a few times. I told her thank you and my son and I walked back to the car. Once we got back to the car, I asked him what happened and he said that a kid had hit him twice on the playground and he was retaliating. I told him that was no excuse and then I politely reminded him of the rules of engagement where fighting is concerned: No hitting unless someone hits you, then you hit them as hard as you can, and go tell the teacher what happened. No exceptions. He said he understood.

My wife cringes when she hears me say that to Nyles, but that advice is absolutely necessary in the mean streets of Pre-Kindergarten and aftercare. I've seen firsthand how kids around that age just hit people randomly and they keep going if they don't get a sufficient amount of resistance. I also know that the adults in charge rarely see the kid who hits first, just the one who keeps retalitating. So I figured the best thing for Nyles to do in those situations is to retaliate, get his money's worth with the hit(s) while doing so, and then tell the teacher: a)yes, I hit the kid b) I deserve whatever punishment you hand down, but c)he definitely hit me first. Who knows how well this will work, but I'd like to give it a try. I can't have the aftercare and Pre-K staff thinking my son is a troublemaker.

So this morning before I left Nyles in the classroom, we had a brief meeting by his cubby and I reminded him of the rules where hitting involved. The conversation went like this:

Me (whispering): So no hitting right?

Nyles (also whispering): Right daddy

Me: And if someone hits you, what do you do?

Nyles (at the top of his lungs): HIT THEM BACK!

Me (still whispering): Please whisper man. And after you hit them what do you do?

Nyles: (back on the whispering wagon): Tell the teacher.

I did not know that Nyles's teacher was within earshot, but when I turned around, she was standing over there laughing uncontrollably. I gave her the background story about what happened in aftercare, I asked her if Nyles had ever hit anyone in class (he hasn't thank god), and asked if she was ok with the advice I had given my son. She said yes she understood but her face told a different story. She'll get over it though, I can't have my son turning into some punching bag. Once he gets a smart mouth like his dad, he won't have to hit anymore...hopefully.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

I lost a friend of mine from high shcool yesterday at the age of 43. I use friend loosely because we were cool on FB, but we never messaged one another and we haven't had an actual face-to-face conversation since 1991, when I was a junior and he was a senior. But as my wife said, during one snapshot in my life, this dude and I were cool. We'd see each other in the hallway, and he'd make fun of me, I'd make fun of him, and that was our dynamic. For a short period of time, we even played on the same basketball team. I was the point guard, he was the power forward--although football was really his sport. He left two kids and a wife behind. He was leaving messages on Facebook on Monday night, he got up to to work on Tuesday morning, went to get breakfast with his co-workers, and died right there at breakfast. The shit is just heartbreaking man. But life (not his) allegedly goes on right?

Rod Temperton also passed away yesterday at the age of 66. You can explore his resume here.

Here's one of my favorite songs of his. If I could sing, I'd sing it to my wife:

Monday, October 03, 2016

As my main man Sabin told me while we were still in college, there is no sexier way to start a song, than the way Toni Braxton did it here:

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

I manage about 30-40 people here at my job--four of them are in my office and the rest are strewn about in another offices around D.C. I've asked them to let me know via text whether they are going to be late or completely absent from work, rather than sending an email or leaving a voicemail at work. As a matter of personal preference, I like knowing what challenges lie ahead work-wise before I get to work, instead of being surprised once I arrive. Being married and having a kid has forced me to shed my anarchal ways and be a bit more regimented and organized and the pre-work text is part of that process.

So after I dropped my son off from school, I got back in the car and I noticed I had the following text from one of my employees:
FYI - There's a sick passenger on the Metro

First off, for those of you who don't live in the DC area, the Metro is our subway system. Anyway, I looked at the text message and I wanted to throw the phone through my car window. This person gave me an update as if I was on the train while it was sitting still, and I was wondering why it wasn't moving. But even in that circumstance, Metro would be required to tell passengers what was being done to solve the issue, how long it would take and they would at least give an ETA for when the train would leave. That is what responsible adults do.

But this assclown just told what was going on the Metro without giving me an estimated arrival time, a promise to update me later, and they didn't even let me know where they were. To make matters worse, this person was, they had never sent me a text message before, so I had no clue which of the 30-40 people I manage this really was. I also resented the fact that they didn't preface their bullshit update with a "good morning", a "Hi Rashad", or a "I hope all is well with you". I don't expect those type of friendly salutations because I'm this person's supervisor, that's just the proper thing to do with a colleague, a friend or anyone who you haven't previously seen or spoken to since the day started.

I was irritated at this point, so my response to this text was, "Thanks for the heads up, what time do you think you'll arrive?". I didn't get a response and it is now 10:46am. I suppose I should do some investigative work to figure out who it is, but frankly, I don't give a damn. Everyone always says don't sweat the small stuff and don't like small things ruin the larger day ahead. Whoever said that didn't account for petty folks like me. That is almost as irritating as folks who jaywalk with their heads buried in their cellphone. The lack of etiquette strikes again....

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

In sports there are times when a matchup looks like a mismatch on last season when the Cleveland Cavaliers played the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors had Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green, and the Cavaliers had the great LeBron James and not much else (Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love were out with injuries). LeBron and the Cavs fought hard and led the series 2-1 after three games and then the strength, talent and health of the Warriors eventually overpowered them, and Golden State won the title.

I was 90% sure the Warriors were going to win when I started watching the series but I watched anyway because it is sports, I love basketball and anything can happen on any given night. This same logic does NOT apply to Presidential debates.

Trump and Clinton have shown me what they are capable of, who they are as politicians and people, and what their strengths and weaknesses during this agonizingly long campaign season. There are no surprises, no oh-my-god-I-didn't-know-that moments and nothing to make me change who I'm going to vote for with the election a little more than a month away. So while I didn't judge or silently antagonize people who chose to watch the debate via their living room, a house party or in a public forum, I was not going to be participating. Half the people I talked to weren't watching to be swayed or to be educated, they just wanted to see a good show, which is yet another issue I have with this 2016 election. Lots of show and flair, and not enough substance, judgement and integrity. Besides, the show I wanted to see was on ESPN, via Monday Night Football. And right now as I type this it is 9:55 am, and thanks to the Internet, my co-workers and the Today show, I know exactly what happened so I'm good. Hopefully you don't judge me.

* * * * * * * *

The best and worst parts of being a parent were on display this morning as I walked Nyles to school. Two seconds after we got out of the car, Nyles spotted a kid that he knew and he sprinted towards him while calling his name. The kid was just as excited to see Nylees, but the father looked a bit terrified that his kid was talking to mine. I won't attach race to the reasons this white dude looked terrified because I was equally as terrified at our kids talking--and it had nothing to do with race. I just don't like talking to other parents in the morning, in the afternoon, during PTA meetings or ever. They ask invasive questions, the small talk is maddening, and ultimately I end up losing focus on the REAL task at hand which is my son. So I'm glad this dad "got it" and left me the hell alone. If our wives had been in attendance, they'd still be chatting about b.s.

So once the dad saw that our kids were going to be knee deep in a conversation about Star Wars, he decided to walk two steps faster with his daughter right next to him. Meanwhile, my son and this other kid were breaking down the seven Star Wars movies in an efficient 5-minute span. They established that Princess Leia was pretty, Darth Vader was evil and good, and R2D2 could not talk like a human because he was a robot. It was fascinating. I mostly stayed quiet, but every now and then I used my 40 years of Star Wars knowledge to play fact checker, but I'm pretty sure they didn't listn to a word I said. I'm just proud that 1) My son is a Star Wars fan and 2) Other kids seem to care what he has to say. And as a bonus, the dad left me alone, which made it a great f**king morning..until I got to work of course.

If you're having a rough morning, put headphones on, turn the volume up and play this song: