Sunday, May 24, 2020

About a month and a half ago I was sitting on my balcony, when I noticed an older gentleman returning from the grocery store. His cane was in the cart along with four or five bags of groceries and he was walking at a pace that even a snail would think was slow. In non-COVID 19 times, I would have helped him get home and get those groceries put away. In fact, I was two seconds away from throwing caution to the wind and doing just that. But he looked to be at least 70 years old, which placed him squarely in the at-risk category, and it just would not have been smart for anyone.

Instead, I called the rental office, described the man and the building he lives in, and asked for his phone number. I explained to the rental office, that my intentions were simply to call the man, ask him what groceries he needed and set up and delivery so all he had to do was open his door and carry his groceries to the kitchen. The rental office obliged and I proceeded to call Buddy (his real name).

I called Buddy three times that day and it kept going to voicemail so I left a message. The next day he called me back but when I said "hello" I heard nothing on the end of the phone, so I called him back and again, it went to voicemail. We played this cat and mouse game for about a week, and I started getting frustrated so I just asked the rental office to slip him a note for me, but that didn't work. I called again for another week, and I stopped. I should have been more persistent and creative about it, but I dropped the ball. To make things worse, I didn't see Buddy for a long time.

A week ago I saw the ambulance in front of Buddy's building and immediately my mind went to a dark place. Something must have happened with his health, but it wasn't fatal, because after awhile, the ambulance left and I asked the lady from the rental office if he was ok, and she just yes, it was just a scare.

Yesterday, while I was again sitting on my balcony, I saw Buddy headed to the grocery store. He had one empty bag draped over his shoulder and he was again using his cane, and he chugging along at that slow pace. I felt like crying and I felt like risking my health and his once again to help him out, but I did nothing, and calling out to him didn't help. I planned on waiting for him to come back so I could have a responsible socially-distanced conversation with him, but my phone rang and once again, I forgot.

This morning I made up my mind that I was going to a) write about this situation and b) do whatever it takes to fix it. I can't help everyone during this pandemic, but I should be able to help an older gentleman in my neighborhood right?

Friday, May 22, 2020

Yesterday I was on a website putting in my vital information (name, address, phone number, etc), when I got to my date of birth. It wasn't one of those sites that simply let you type in that information, instead, they gave me the scroll option which I'm perfectly fine with using---or so I thought. As a point of reference, my birthday is January 20th, 1975.

I didn't even have to scroll for the month of January, because as you might of heard, that is the first month of the year. I had to scroll down a couple of times to get to 20, but again, I did so with relative ease and an abundance of confidence. Two down one to go.

I channeled that same scrolling ease and confidence while I attempted to get to 1975, but it didn't quite come as easy (that's what she said). Then I started scrolling with a bit more angst and a sense of urgency, and I STILL was in the early 90s. After awhile, I swallowed my pride along with a healthy dose of reality, and I scrolled down properly--aka like I was on "The Price is Right"

Finally, 1975 came into my field of vision and I sheepishly selected it, completed my registration and got the hell off the site. But the damage was already done and my ego, which is already fragile because my body is sore from doing seemingly simple workouts, has been crushed even more.

I'm not dumb enough to audibly say that I'm old because 45 is still a youthful age, and the official "I'm old(er)" milestone is still five years away. But it seems like it was just yesterday my date of birth was just three shallow scrolls away on any given website. Now I'm relegated to two short scrolls and some heavy lifting. It is LITERALLY downhill from here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

For the most part, the sports that I enjoy watching are on ice right now, and probably for the foreseeable future. Yes it was nice (ok it was beyond nice, it was amazing) to watch Michael Jordan's 10-part documentary on his life and the Bulls, but that shit is over now. And yes this weekend I watched a golf exhibition and I also watched some German soccer, but it isn't the same as watching live basketball playoffs and baseball. I understand why they aren't playing but I'm selfish and I want to be entertained, but again, it ain't happening.

I have attempted to fill my evenings with writing, reading and catching up on shows, but at some point during the evening, I find myself barreling down a YouTube rabbit hole. Sometimes I'm watching old interviews or old sporting events and sometimes--like last night--I get stuck on watching old live performances. And last night I stumbled on this one:

I'm already mesmerized by Sade's music (and her looks), but this performance just blew me away completely. She sounds as clear as she does on the actual record, she threw in a little choreography, and her background singer (Leroy Osborne) was also on point. I watched this performance about 5 times, and then I went on a hunt for other live Sade performances, and they were equally satisfying.

Then I got a bit sad because I've never seen Sade in concert and this rate, given that she's 61 and the concept of even organizing a concert let alone asking thousands of fans to attend is highly unlikely anytime soon, I probably won't ever. I will most likely be relegated to YouTube rabbit holes and her glorious catalog which I'm about to lose myself in this morning while I work.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

I finally did it.

As I alluded to in my previous blog entry, my main man Sabin asked me to write the foreword to his upcoming book, and I mentioned that I was nervous, but in hindsight, that word was insufficient. I was terrified.

You see Sabin isn't just my main man, he was the first person I met when I went Hampton back in '92. We've had our ups and downs, we've had jokes galore, but at the end of the day, I love and respect him and the feeling is surely mutual. We are in our mid-40s, we're husbands, we're parents, we have careers and we endure the up and down aspects of life. But the respect remains.

Sabin has been reading this blog along with my other sports articles for a good 15 years now, and he's always encouraged me. In fact at this current moment he (along with my wife and closest friends) are imploring me to finish this book that I've bullshitting about. He likes the way I write, he knows that we share an affinity for music, but when he asked me this foreword to his book, I just felt an unbelievable amount of pressure to not only perform, but to do an unbelievable job. You'd think a concept like that would be a given but it absolutely is not.

When I blog, I don't care who reads, I don't care who judges, and it tends to be a free-flowing, stream of consciousness type of situation. I'm normally giving words to something that has happened or communicating some type of emotion like I'm doing right now. The structure isn't important, I do my best to nail all the punctuation and spelling, but if I don't, I don't lose any sleep over it. It isn't that I'm flippant about it, I just don't feel any pressure.

When I write about basketball, I'm in my sweet spot. I get to watch, analyze and then write about a sport that I have been watching and loving for 40 years. I feel pressure to write intelligently, but at some point, my ego kicks in and I make sure that the final product is thorough, accurate and well-written. That's actually my favorite type of writing right now.

But writing for Sabin combines all of the writing experiences I've done thus far. I've listened to music all my life and I'm knowledgeable about hip-hop. Plus I'm not being asked to write a book (not yet anyway), I'm just being asked to right a foreword, so in some respects, the words and thoughts should be as free-flowing as they are in this blog, and at times they were. But having to stick the landing on a bit of prose--whether it be long or short--for someone you love and respect, was just terrifying man. What if he read it and was like, "damn this sucks!" or "he mailed it in" or "Couldn't he have given me more?"

Luckily for me, after nearly two weeks of writing it in my head and stressing over this, I wrote it, sent it to Sabin, and he loved. When the book comes out, I expect all of my blog followers (all three of y'all) to buy it.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

I find myself becoming wildly nostalgic about the way life was before the quarantine, and today's thought focused on my eight-year old son Nyles. Back when he could actually attend school, he would wake up and make his bed at 7am--a full hour before we had to leave. He would leave his room without getting dressed, place his homework and his lunch in his backpack, put the backpack on, and then come in my bedroom where my wife and I were sleeping. He would go to each side of the bed, give us both a hug and say good morning to both of us. He was just so unabashedly excited about going to school, and getting his backpack ready.

After that, Nyles would eat breakfast, watch his morning program of choice (Ninjago, Captain Underpants, etc), and he would just discuss what was coming up at school, and again, he was just dripping with enthusiasm and whimsy. I would often joke that I wished I had that level of joy about anything. I enjoy my job don't get me wrong, but I'm not walking around my house with my laptop bag and pajamas. Not even close.

My wife and I try to maintain some semblance of Nyles's routine in hopes that he will remain excited, but we've had mixed results. He still makes his lunch the night before "school", and we still start the school day at 9am sharp. When school starts via Zoom, he loves to hear the voices of his teachers and colleagues, but that only comes in 20-30 minute bursts (that's what she said). And trying to convince him to do 6 hours of work in the same building where he sleeps, showers, and watches television, is the toughest of tough sells. But we press on...

Thank you for humoring me, I'm just simultaneously rambling and reminiscing...

Friday, April 17, 2020

Yesterday around 11am, my wife took a break from her busy work schedule to make herself some coffee, and while she was in the kitchen she discovered that our garbage disposal was no longer working. I was at a point in my work day where I could not take a break and properly address the situation, so I reflexively said that we should call maintenance to come fix it. At that point, I looked up and my wife looked at me, and we realized we had a bit of a quandary on our hands.

No one but my son, my wife and me have set foot in this apartment since mid-February, and if we allowed the maintenance man to stroll in here, we could possibly be at risk for infection, and it would nullify all this good quarantine behavior we've been practicing. In fact, just two weeks ago when my internet and cable went out, and the over-the-phone troubleshooting was crashing and burning, we faced this same challenge, and I already decided that I was going to have to let Comcast in here because a)We need internet service in order to work from home and b) As sad as this is to admit, ain't no way in the world, we'd be able to remain sane with no television/streaming options. Luckily for me, the cable magically starting working just one hour before the technician was scheduled to arrive---crisis averted.

A broken garbage disposal is not nearly as urgent as no cable/internet, but it still has the potential to make things uncomfortable and malodorous in the apartment, so clearly something had to be done. My wife decided to email the apartment complex to see if one of the maintenance men could possibly walk us through some troubleshooting tips over the phone. After that, we both resumed our respective work days.

Fast forward a couple of hours, and I was on the couch sipping wine and watching my son eat dinner, and I heard my wife fiddling around in the kitchen. I had already forgotten about the damn disposal, but my wife had not. In fact, she had already YouTubed some garbage disposal troubleshooting tips, and was walking herself through solutions. I got up, walked in the kitchen, and saw her churning a wooden spoon in the disposal trying to loosen the blades, and about 30 seconds later, I turned on the disposal and it worked. Yet another crisis averted.

Now if I were to allow myself to fall victim to the antiquated, traditional gender roles we allegedly have in this country (and beyond), I would emasculated by my wife's initiative--especially since I was chillin' and drinking wine when this all went down. But that's not at all the case. We are a team, and we are ensconced in a pandemic that has forced each of us in situations we normally would avoid or just not be in altogether. So I'm glad she bailed us out....I owe her one and I'm proud of her.