Arthur Ashe in My Mind

Arthur Ashe. I have to say that I don’t remember when he appeared to me but he appeared right on time, at a time when I must not have been fully aware of myself. His image and his energy on the screen made me wonder who he was. He was. He existed. He felt. He shared. I remember watching him and knowing that there was nothing in his mind that he would not share because it was genuinely felt. He knew who he was. Where he was. What he was doing. And why he was doing it. I cannot call it assured. It was more than that. Of an absolute being. Arthur Ashe is. Arthur Ashe lives. He is a force field. Something which cannot be overlooked or reinterpreted. Everyone knows what and where it is and what it is there for. That is something I miss. Having people to watch who express what and why they are here without having to explain it. You can see it in their art, their work. It is real.

Diary of a Mad Brown Afro Pick

A Real Afro Pick
The afro pick you see here has been with me for over a decade. I bought it in the open-air market of Cocody in Abidjan. The moment I saw it, I knew. It knew too. I eased up on it. I picked it up. I discussed it with the seller. ‘What kind of wood is it made of?’ ‘Who made it?’ ‘Where was it made?’ All these questions I didn’t really care the answers to because I knew it was mine and I was its. It was love at first tug. I had to however show a display of skepticism so as not to be haggled into a crazy American-look-like-rich-lady price.

Year after year, the pick never failed me. No regular comb could match it, withstand the test of over-curly exuberance I have on my head. Even it being wooden, it was water-resistant. Seemed like I could do anything to it and it was always there for me.

Alas, all this is to say that it finally broke. Or, I broke it. I guess it’s a matter of viewpoint. Was it inevitable or did I just not know what I had? Just because I could do everything to it, doesn’t mean I should have. Oh, what regret, for now I’ll have to buy a plastic afro pick made in America and that’s just not going to work for me. The wooden one will sense betrayal. It was all I ever wanted or needed and now after I’ve used it to ruin, I’m moving on. Should I try to fix it or should I just let it go?

Getting Old No Matter What

olderAt first, I thought my neighbors were just having a good time . . . . . all the time. Early in the morning, late at night, in the middle of the day, “Aaaaah” said over and over again in very provocative and now annoying fashion. It has been over a year since this started. Sometimes, I hear nothing. Sometimes, it’s obnoxiously a good time. Sometimes, I’m afraid to know what’s going on. How many times do they do it a day? Do they have jobs? Do I need to get another job – one that does not have me sitting at home translating documents or editing this upcoming book while listening to my neighbors live a life of daily, sexual revelry?

But, no. She has Alzheimer’s is what I found out and Alzheimer’s makes you whale and scream, throw out words and sounds in a repetitive yet unpredictable manner, and it can be a reflection of any kind of ailment or damage to the brain that the person with Alzheimer’s cannot otherwise express.

How must the husband feel? He must think that she is doing it on purpose, that she is trying to make him crazy. It’s making me crazy and I don’t even live with her. I can get up and leave. He can’t. He has to take care of her. What thoughts go through his head as his wife, who is obviously now experiencing much worse mental distress than him, is making him feel like he is the one coming down with Alzheimer’s?

I can’t imagine, don’t want to imagine, and now I no longer want to grow old. If Alzheimer’s is what awaits me, then I’m very afraid. However, some people grow old and never have to suffer through Alzheimer’s or any other critical disease. They simply carry out their life until their heart stops one day.

We often look at age as something that also defines us but, evidently age comes at each of us differently. That being the case, I will have to work hard to never let age define me, never let others define who I must be or what I must know because of any gray hairs that sprout up on my head. Why can’t you always be a child of wonder, wanting to learn, wanting to experience new things, wanting to stay in love, or even fall in love again? There are so many more experiences in life than any one full life can hold. Why would you stop growing no matter how old you get?

Cicadas, Bears, and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf

Cicadas in New Jersey Scientists have concluded that there are about 15 broods of cicadas that come out of the ground across the United States about every 17 years and June happens to now be cicada season for most of the entire east coast. Cicadas emerge from the earth, play hard to get with an unceasing whistle of a mating sound they make with their body parts, fool around, get pregnant, bury their eggs, die, and then their eggs hatch and return to the ground; all occuring in a matter of weeks. Teenagers.

Black bears are one of the largest animals in New Jersey. A baby one was pulled out of a tree in Montclair just today. Is it so cute as all of the onlookers gushed it to be or so end of their habitat? They keep the ecosystem going, enjoy a trashy meal, are a quickly growing population, and attacks by black bears are rare. So, if you find yourself underneath one, you must have stared at them a little too long, were a little too quiet, moved a little too much, and appeared a little too unintimidating for your own good. Most people don’t dare to even exist. Black bears don’t get much taller than you or I, but can weigh anywhere between 200 and 600 pounds. Pigs.

Scientists have also discovered that women are capable of enormously high levels of multi-tasking, all manner of intelligence, can paint their toe nails and drive at the same time, can deliver up to eight babies in one birth, keep multiple jobs and a clean house, read, make more money than men, please themselves, lift heavy objects, focus, and even run 26.2 miles in less than 2.5 hours. Astonishing.

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is Harvard-educated, a former World Bank Economist, the first female President of an African country on the entire continent, a proponent of gay rights, married at 17, mother of four, divorced, and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Typical. We anticipated this. That land of miracles we call Africa. Surprise us some more.

Digital Relationships Are More Romantic

What’s your digital footprint say about you? In DMagazine’s article by Phil Harvey, “Dealing with Identity Shift,” old though this article may be, the topic stays relevant as long as we continually share more and more about ourselves online for networking, social, purchasing, and other purposes. I’m more concerned however with the fact that we even share personal information online rather than the security of the act.

The birthdate thing kills me the most. Why do companies need to know my birthdate for me to be involved with them? This is hardly the way first dates are conducted. With technology growth comes inextricably the sense of urgency to do things better, faster, and this requires that we get naked before we even get a handshake. Why are we selling ourselves?

We just want to sit down. We just want to get it and go take our nap, go lay out in the sun, go sip on some ice cold drink while we watch our children frolic in the waves. We just want to run to do nothing. Maybe this is a leap in logic for you, but what are we rushing to? What is so urgent that we have to disrobe ourselves to unknown virtual entities for products yet received that may or may not be of quality? Why do we trust so much? Why is our desire to believe in a good thing so great that we will give our phone number to a button before a person we’ve just had a lovely conversation with out on the street? What does this say about us?