Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Even at the age of 44, I still grapple with the concept of feeling comfortable with public interaction. It isn't so much that I am shy, bashful or afraid to speak to people in public, its just that I am mildly selfish and I really don't think I can be as honest as I'd like to be when these public interactions invariably go south.

For example, if I see a friend of mine in public while I'm walking down the street with headphones, I'd rather we just wave or head nod, and follow it up with a text, email or phone call later. That way we aren't totally ignoring each other and killing our respective vibes. But if I have to speak to you, remove an earbud or two, say "What's been up?" 20 times, and then listen to you blabber about some inane topic, it tends to be burdensome. Which brings me to yesterday at work...

I am friendly and affable at work, but I tend not to reveal too much about my life because that leads to nosy behavior, small talk and other things that feel slightly invasive to me. It is quite the delicate line to straddle, but I've done so with great aplomb in my 3 months of employment here. No one knows too much, I haven't been inconvenienced, and no one has been offended by my behavior. But yesterday, I decided to get fancy and compliment this woman on her hair.

She's about 50-55 years old, and up until this point, she opted to wear her hair pinned up or in a pony tail, which of course is well within her right. But this past weekend--maybe for Mother's Day--she went all out and it was quite evident that she was pleased with the results, because when she strolled into work yesterday, she was confident and wearing a fancy outfit. I noticed this, and I reflexively gave her a compliment about her hair. I thought she would say thank you and keep it moving, but I was mistaken.

She sat on my desk, got comfortable, and proceeded to tell me why she wears it up more than she wears it down, how long it took to get done, how it threw off her day, and how she was determined to look good and sexy when she came to work. I appreciated her candor, but her volume was way louder than I'm comfortable with and her five-minutes soliloquy lasted about four minutes too long for my liking. To make matters worse, when she saw me the rest of the day, she kept saying hi, or asking me what was for lunch, blah blah blah.

As I told my wife, this is the dirty underbelly of giving a woman a compliment. 80 percent of the time, she'll say thank you and keep it moving. But man when that 20 percent comes down...



Monday, May 13, 2019

So one of my sister-in-law's co-workers bought my son a soccer foosball game last Christmas, along with an air hockey game. The air hockey game was easier to construct, so that got put together and played early and often, while the soccer game collected dust.

But last Sunday, the weather was rainy as hell, and the wife and I had no intentions of leaving the house, so she put the soccer game together, while I watched basketball. My son, who didn't care that I was watching basketball, immediately ran up to me, and asked if I would play soccer with him. I made him wait until halftime, and then I very reluctantly made my way into his room for some games.

My brother and I had a foosball soccer game when we were younger, and although I hadn't played in years (30 years to be exact), it didn't take long for me to once again reclaim that level of mastery. My son and I played for about 90 minutes straight, and I was taxing his ass. He won one game and I was victorious in approximately 95% of the games. My son got frustrated, but I was impressed by his resilience and his willingness to take "L" after "L" in search of consistent wins against his dad.

In fact, since that rainy Sunday, we have played 20-30 games, and he was starting to win a bit more, but I was still winning 70 percent of the time. That all changed this evening...


Granted, I didn't even want to play that f**king soccer game, because my son got in trouble not, once, twice but three times for failing to be silent when the teacher asked him too. He isn't normally that recalcitrant, but that's no excuse. I took away some toys, banned the iPad, and basically told him to read and do homework drills all night before and after dinner. But when he sheepishly asked if we could play three soccer games before bed, I said yes---mainly because I wanted to tax that ass three times and somehow tie my victories into the overall lesson of being obedient at school. Pretty ambitious of me right?

Well my son defeated me not once, twice but three times in that damn soccer game, and only the last game was close (9-8). The first two he beat me 9-5 and 9-4, and he did so with glee and an innocent joy. He didn't notice how angry I was getting, and he didn't even realize that his confidence was directly related to his success. He taxed my ass, and I cannot even properly describe how angry I was getting. After he won the third game, I angrily told him to pick a book out for bedtime, and he tried to shake my hand to say good game, and reiterated that I wanted him to pick out a book for bed.

Five minutes later, I realized how small and childish I had been acting, and I shook my son's hand, and he smiled and said, "Thank you Daddy", which almost made me cry...but not really, I was and still am angry about taking 3 "L's" to my 7-year old son.....

Saturday, April 06, 2019

I'll admit that I had zero intentions of ever writing an entry in this blessed blog again. I lost my desire to write when I got laid off last July, and even when I finally returned to the workforce in February, I still didn't have the desire to blog or write about sports. But I'm slowly coming around now.

First, I finally got the kind of job I've been craving for years. I'm no longer managing people, but instead of I've decided to dive knee-deep into the IT/technical writing world, which means I'll soon be studying for certifications. Second, as you can imagine, not having a job for an extended period of time, tends to break your spirit and quell your creativity. But conversely, having a job and doing something fun, tends to quickly restore all of that. Now if I could only restore my savings as quickly..

I don't have a lot to say right now, but that'll change in the near future I'm sure. For now, it is nice to be back..

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

So yesterday, I found myself sitting in a Starbucks waiting for my car to be serviced. They told me it would take about 2-3 hours, and I didn't feel like going back home or going anywhere else, so I decided to kill some time on my laptop while I drank some tasty, overpriced coffee.

When I set foot in there, the line was at least 25 people deep, so I decided to secure an open seat by an outlet first, while I waited for the line to die down. I took out my laptop, my phone and my computer charger, and I sat down to begin my job search (yep, still unemployed).

I had been sitting down about 10 minutes, when this lady who could not have been any older than 30 years old came up to me. I could tell she was nervous and a bit tentative, but that didn't stop her from moseying her ass on over to me, so that we could have this inane conversation:


Her: Excuse me sir and good morning. Um, you cannot just sit here in Starbucks without purchasing something first

Me: (while looking at the long line): Well if you allow me to cut to the front of the line, I'd be glad to buy something, do you think you could do that for me?

Her: (laughing): No sir, I definitely cannot do that

Me: (definitely not laughing): Well can you tell me what the difference is between me waiting for that line to die down while I'm on my laptop, and me standing in that long ass line?

Her (stammering): Well no...um I don't know

Me: I didn't think you could, so would you kindly service the 25 customers waiting in line? I promise you I'll join them soon but for now, I need you to leave me alone or find a manager



She turned red, then she walked away. The manager made an appearance and I saw him talking to the woman who harassed me, and he later came over and apologized. I told him I like my apologies in the form of copius amounts of free drinks redeemable at any Starbucks location. He obliged. He also clearly must have asked the young lady to come over to me to apologize because she did so reluctantly. After she apologized, I told her it was ok because she clearly didn't know any better. She gave me a dirty look but she knew better than to provide any type of nasty retort because 1) she might have been fired and 2) I'd have gotten much more profane and personal with my insults. All parties walked away unscathed.

Now, I know I should have lost my temper a little more and maybe I should have made a bit more of a stink about this woman's behavior, but I didn't have it in me. After all, I was already pissed that my car was in the shop (at the dealer shop no less) and I was being overcharged for some simple repairs. Initially I felt like a sell out, but I'm at peace with my actions.

I was in Bethesda, Maryland which is diverse (and affluent) for the most part, but this particular was White and Asian only. I was in that Starbucks for nearly 2 hours and no one who looked like me set foot in that place at all. I grew up not to far from the neighborhood, so I know how to navigate those murky waters, but I was a bit surprised that this young woman would come at me like that.

Just goes to show you that even when you're unemployed, some good, homegrown discrimination can still find its way in your lap.



Tuesday, August 21, 2018

I am on day 21 of employment, and I have no problems admitting that it is starting to weigh on me just a bit. Just yesterday, I had what I thought was the perfect job lined up. They saw my resume, a Project Manager was 100% sure that my skillset as a writer was something he was looking for in a technical writer, and the salary was even more than I was making at my previous position. I was pre-screened, we had a bit of a conversation, and last Friday we made plans for me to come in and interview on Tuesday (today) at noon. The recruiter I spoke to said that he'd send me an email with details in terms of who I should report to, the time I should come, the address, etc. That was at 3pm on Friday.

Monday morning came, and I didn't think it was too alarming that I hadn't receive an email, because Mondays are usually full of bullshit office small talk, useless meetings and an abundance of emails. I haven't been unemployed that long that I cannot remember that game. But Monday morning turned into Monday afternoon, and by 4pm I still had to yet to hear from this employer--so I called.

When the dude answered the phone he apologized for not calling me sooner, then he informed me that the job I had visions on claiming, was $20-25k less than what I wanted. In the next breath, he mentioned two or three other jobs that he would consider me for (one of which I'm waiting to hear about now), and I'll admit I was optimistic that he had something else ready for me. But I was sill pissed that I was the one who had to initiate the dialogue, especially I was informed that an email was forthcoming.

So that's where I am. I went on a third interview with an employer yesterday, and it appears that an offer is forthcoming, but that job starts Nov 1st which means I'll have to sell crack and write freelance articles by October 1st (I'm kidding, but not really).

I've also discovered that the question, "So how's the job search going?" annoys the shit out of me, and makes me wildly defensive. I know people mean well and they just want to see if their assistance is needed but I feel like job updates are something I should initiate. They should not be provoked. Of course I could end all this b.s. by simply being employed once again.


I'm working it.

It has been a few days since Aretha died, but I can still post my favorite song right? I love the drum break down in this song, and I also like how effortlessly she rides his beat. She was a once-in-a-generation talent, and thank God her vast music catalog is still around for all to hear/see/digest.



Monday, August 13, 2018

My son Carlton turns 21 years old today. I have actually had to stop and say that out loud more than a few times. Twenty f**king one. He just got back from overseas, he's married with a child on the way in October, but I still consider him to be my young man.

21 years ago on this day, I was working in Stride Rite and substitute teaching on the side. I was living in Fairfax, VA, and my son's mother was living in Hampton, VA. She called me around 1:15 in the afternoon to say that she was going into labor---two weeks early mind you--and I jumped in the car to head her way.

Two hours later, I was on the side of the road after being pulled over by a Virginia State Trooper in Spotsylvania County. I was going 81mph in a 65mph zone, and as soon as the cop came to my window, I told him that my son would be born any minute, and his mother was in labor. He looked me and said that was a heartwarming story, but that didn't give me carte blanche to speed---especially in Virginia. I took my ticket and kept right on speeding for the next hour.

I went right from the highway to the hospital, and after signing some b.s. paperwork, the nurses made me wash and scrub my hands, before putting on a hospital smock or whatever it is called. I was told that my son had been born just 30 minutes prior to my arrival and he was resting in the incubation room. That didn't make me cry.

I saw him laying down in the incubation room with his outfit on, and his little beady eyes were just darting all over the room. That didn't make me cry either.

But as soon as the nurse lifted my son out of the incubation tray and put him in my hands, I looked at him, he looked at me, and I just started bawling. My mom and Sara's (my son'so the grandmother) mom just walked away so I could have my moment.

It's the little things you know?

And even though I am quite sure I have mentioned this story and the song I'm about to post below, I don't care. It never gets old...but I do..

Here's the picture that was taken an hour after I arrived to the hospital:



And here's the song I played to young Carlton as we left the hospital:



And here's my son--the Marine--just a couple weeks ago before he came home:

Monday, August 06, 2018

So I am almost a week into unemployment and my feelings are mixed so far. On one hand, you never realize how much of a break you need (and never get) from working until your hand is forced by the evil monster called unemployment. I applied for jobs last week, and I tied up loose ends with my previous employer, but I also got a chance to write and binge watch a little Mad Men. I thoroughly enjoyed that.

Conversely, when Monday morning came, and my wife and son were getting ready for work and school respectively, I felt like a supreme loser. I had an interview scheduled for this morning but it was postponed due to some unforeseen family emergency. So instead of sitting in the house while continuing to apply for work, I "ventured" over to a coffee shop in an effort lift my spirits. It really isn't working, but I'm out of the house so that's good right?

The one good thing that has happened is that my son Carlton is finally home from overseas after being gone since last year. I get to to see him and his pregnant wife next weekend, and I could not be happier. It is still bullshit that I am going to be grandfather at 43, but it will be fulfilling to sit with my son and his wife as they prepare for parenthood.

In the meantime, if you're reading this, and you can help me get a job in the technical/sports writing field, send me an email and let's go business: rashad20@gmail.com