Sunday, September 23, 2007

Ever Wonder?

This topic actually arose when my good friend, his man, and I were walking back to the car after we had enjoyed the festivities of the West Indian Day Parade on Labor Day. I meant to post it sooner, but better late than never right? LOL Here goes.....

I was born in East Orange, but I moved out when I was 10. My friend was born in the Bronx, but he moved out when he was a kid too (can't remember the age). His question was direct and thought-provoking (as with most of his questions): how would your life be different had you lived in the inner city all your life? For me, I know for a fact that I would have more 'street smarts.' I lost that when I moved. And when I was robbed 2 1/2 years ago, having street smarts really would've come in handy.

So now I ask all of you who went through the same experience....have you ever wondered how your life would be if you lived in the inner city all your life? Would it have impacted your life positively or negatively? How/why?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

20 Years (Father)

In the past, I haven't given September 16th much thought at all. It came and went without much notice. (Most of the time, it was during a work week anyway.) But this year, the date holds a significant milestone for me. As much as I tried not to think about it, it kept poppin up in my head, and I even had to remind my brothers about it. For it was on this day, 20 years ago, that the man we knew as our father went into eternal rest. I was only 9 years old at the time. And like anything else traumatic that happens to you when you are a child, it is a day I will never forget. But first, a brief overview of my father....

William Howard Brunson was fun to be around and seemed happy to all those who came in contact with him. (My brothers and I never called him Dad; we always called him Bucky. I never knew why, and we never questioned it.) But he was also a man who was battling some serious demons in his life. He had spent about 15 years of his life in prison from the time he was about 19. After being released from prison, he met my mother, had my brother, got married, and had me, all in about a 4-year span. (My oldest brother is from another man, but Bucky raised him as his own.) I remember my father having only 2 jobs: one was at Consolidated Laundries, where he would ship towels, sheets, etc. to various companies, and another at Biase's Restaurant, where he worked as a cook. Both were located in Newark are no longer in existence. He was hard-working man, but he also battled a serious alcohol addiction, something that started when he was young. I would remember times when he would drive me around and drink, or times when he just plain forgot to take me somewhere cause he would be too drunk to remember. At times, my brothers, mother and I tried to curb it by pouring out all his liquor one day. My mother even took him to rehab, where he stayed for a few weeks. But it wasn't all bad times. I also remember good times at beaches, amusement parks, and even home. He loved to cook, dance, and just plain have a good time and always enjoyed the pleasure of company. He was a fun-loving man, but I can't really say he was loving. I don't ever remember a time when he said he loved me, or even displayed some type of emotion. This sometimes confused me, because I couldn't understand why. And like most black families, my brothers and I got a big-ass helping of ass-whuppins and punishments whenever we did something wrong. At night we would lay in our beds and say, "I hate Bucky! I wish he was dead!" That wish proved prophetic.

On that previous Friday before this date, Bucky spent most of the day vomiting and laying in the bed. My brothers and I did not know what to do. When my mother came home from work that day, we told her that he was in really bad shape, so she rushed into the room and immediately took him to the hospital.

That was the last day I ever saw him alive.

A few days later, I was told he had slipped into a coma (I didn't know what it was back then). And then on Tuesday night back in 1987, around 6:30PM, my mother came home from the hospital devastated and told us, "He died. He didn't make it." The years of alcohol abuse had finally taken a toll on most of the organs in his body. First she hugged my oldest brother (15 at the time), then my middle brother (12 at the time). I ran into the bathroom to wipe my tears on my towel, then came back to hug my mother. Contrary to what some people say, KIDS UNDERSTAND DEATH! We knew that our father was gone and was not coming back.

I remember his wake (sooooooo many people were there), but we could not go to his funeral, which was located at a church. At the time, my mother was a Jehovah's Witness, and they do not deal with churches in any way. So my mother, her friend, my brothers and I stayed in the family car while the funeral was taking place inside. It seemed like forever, but the people finally came out hugging and consoling each other through their grief. We got to the gravesite, and I stood in the front with my grandmother's (father's mother's) arms around my shoulders. One of the Jehovah's Witness elders make some remarks, then they lowered my father six feet below to his (final?) resting place. As we drove away from the cemetary, the thought of not having him around once again hit me, and tears slowly came to my eyes.

Now that I'm a grown man and had 2 decades to reflect on this day, I've discovered one thing that I either kept hidden or just plain didn't realize: my father inadvertently passed along his trait of not allowing people to get too close to him. He tried to shield himself (with alcohol) from what he didn't want to face (life?). Don't get me wrong, I'm a chill, down-to-earth dude with quite a few friends. But I do not allow a person to know everything about me. At times, I find it difficult to fully convey what I am feeling, especially to a man. Hell, that's most likely the reason why I have never been in a serious relationship. I'm scared to let my guard all the way down to let someone in. Am I angry for what my father may have done? No. I don't hold long grudges against people, and he wouldn't be able to see or feel my anger anyway. Madonna made a song years ago called "Oh Father," and one of the lyrics read, "Maybe somebody/When I look back I'll be able to say/You didn't mean to be cruel/Somebody hurt you too" I'm sure there were many things my father was hurting about (trying to make something out of his life after serving time in prison, trying to provide for his wife and children, just trying to be a responsible man in general). Even now whenever I hear this song or "Dance with my Father," the words hit hard and deep. Somtimes I can't even hear the entire songs without tearing up or just turning it off. Guess I realized I love and miss my father more now than I ever did before.

December 8, 1939 - September 16, 1987

Monday, September 10, 2007

Mr. Nice Guy? For What?!

I am sitting here a little hurt but extremely annoyed. The person that considers me his best friend (whom I have known for about 3 1/2 years) has a strange way of showing it. (Those in my circle know who I'm talking about.) We've had spats before, but today's was a little worse than the others.

The latest spat involved the very root of all (or, in this case, a bill). A few months ago, my said "best friend" stated that he wanted a laptop and asked me for advice on which one to get. I suggested a Dell because I've had the most positive experiences with them. So I spent a day or two looking on the Dell Web site to try to find one that was best for him. Because I have a Dell card, I even took it one step further and agreed to put the laptop on my card and have him give me the money back in installments. The first payment was fine, but as time progressed, the payments started to arrive later and later. Now he sends me the money only a few days in advance, which does not really work for me because I need to time for the money to: a) post to my account (because it still is a bank transaction after all) and b) pay the bill online. In the past few months, the bill was paid literally on the day it was due. I don't like payin bills on the due date; if I can handle it, I would rather them to be paid with days (hell, even a week) left over so that I won't run the risk of encountering a late payment and thus, showing up negatively on my credit report. The first time he did this, I was a little annoyed but I got over it. But this time I was not so forgiving. As the due date quickly approached, I felt it necessary to send him an e-mail reminding him that I still needed the money, to which he replied that he would have the money for me on Friday (this past Friday). Friday came and went with no money-exchange. The next day I text him and asked him when he was gonna give me the money, to which he replied, "As soon as I get outta bed." (Mind you, this was 1PM Saturday, and he tells me that he "forgot" about the money the other day. But yet, he sure didn't forget to keep asking me when the laptop had been ordered and arrived.) A few hours later, he finally drops by unannounced, hands me the money, then promptly leaves. It was as if he was annoyed and he was doing me a favor.'s your responsibility! I was the one that was (and should be) annoyed, and with every reason. Now I had to scramble to make sure the money was in my account and the bill was paid by Tuesday. *Sigh* So I called him and told him to make sure the money gets to me earlier. Reluctantly, he agrees.

Anyway, by the time today rolls around, I can't really say I was mad, but I definitely just wanted to clear the air and let him know where I stood with this situation, because I didn't have a chance to really speak with him about it on Saturday or Sunday. So I e-mailed him and told him that the reason why I was a little annoyed is because I went out of my way to do a nice thing for him, and his getting an attitude with me about the promptness of his payment gave off the aura of someone being ungrateful, rude and inconsiderate. In a nutshell, his reply was that I "just wanted to complain," that I was "whining," and how I needed to "get over it." But then he says to me that after he finishes paying me for the laptop to never do anything for him again! Excuse me??!! So I said, "If that's the way you feel, then fine."
He got a lotta fuckin nerve! And to add insult to injury, he forwards our conversation to some of our friends and to his coworker (as if her opinion really matters), and he claims that nobody agreed with me. It was basically some underhanded shit to me to try to make me into this dude with serious mental problems while he's the innocent victim who didn't do anything wrong, which disgusted me!

Yes it started out as just an issue about a bill, but it's really escalated into a bigger issue. Almost everything I say he brushes off. If it doesn't fit his little criteria of what is right or logical, then you're wrong and he doesn't wanna hear it. I am tired of it, and it hurts my heart to know that somebody who claims I'm such a best friend can also be so passive concerning others. But I'm a little angry at myself because none of this would've happened if I wasn't tryin to be so nice. I am really starting to hate it, cause you can only be so nice for so long before somebody comes along and screws you. First my aunt (that's another story), and now him. Sometimes I feel like I'm abusing myself for being a fuckin nice guy. As much as I really don't wanna say this, I think I'm gonna have to get rid of this "nice guy" persona. It's not getting me anywhere. But I'm probably just talking out of bitterness and anger right now. Time will tell though.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

True 'What the Fuck' Moments

This one was too good to not blog about lol....

Today when I was on my lunch break around 2:30, I get a phone call from a number I do not recognize. Usually when that happens (and today was no exception), I let my phone go to VM. The way I see it, if it's really important, they'll just leave a damn message. Lo and behold, the person sure did leave one. I didn't check the VM right away. I waited til about 5 or so. Half because I was still relatively busy at work, and half because I forgot. When I finally got around to checking it, it was from this dude I went to high school with that I just got reacquainted with through another HS classmate's baby shower a few months ago. (I gave him my business card and put my cell number on it. I'm a corporate homo lol. But I also like to help people in any way I can. And besides, I might need him again one day in life and vice versa, and I've learned to not burn bridges). Not to put people down or anything, he's a nice dude but the dude's head ain't screwed in too tight lol. (When I saw him walking into the building for the baby shower, he was carrying on a conversation with himself.) Anyway, the VM (through all the stuttering and pauses he made) said that he had something to ask me, and it was "very, very important." Hmmm....what the hell could he want with me? So I finally returned his call, and he proceeds to tell me that "the issue is now settled" and how he felt "embarrassed" to even ask me now.
"Well you already spent time leaving me the VM, so you mind as well tell me," I replied. *Another pause from him* " you have five big ones? I have to start class soon."
W....T.....F #1! Did he just ask me what I think he just asked me, I thought to myself. I don't even give my family members money like that! Why I give that much to somebody I barely even remember from high school?! I quickly regained my composure and asked him, "Are you talkin about $500?" "Yeah, yeah, that's what I'm askin," he said.
"Sorry man, I can't help you there," I said.
"Oh ok," was his only reply.

So then the conversation moves toward him going to a job fair tomorrow and how he's looking for work. I ask him what field is he looking in, and he tells me "something in a warehouse" (he worked for both Fed Ex and UPS in their shipping department). I don't think he went/finished college, and based on his eccentricities, it was kinda hard for him to find much else. I told him I knew somebody that I believed still worked at this warehouse
in Woodbridge and would contact him to see if his job was hiring and get back to him. I called the dude and left him a VM. And guess what, the weird dude calls me back again about a half hour later wanting to know if I heard from the dude. "No. I left him a VM. I'll let you know when he calls me back."
"Aight," he says, and hangs up. Just as I pull up to my house (8:30), I get another phone call from you-know-who. W...T...F #2! At this point, I'm just annoyed as hell. What the fuck is he callin me again for, I say to myself. I'm not returning his call til after I finish eating. So around 9:15 I prepared myself mentally for what I was about to hear from this dude.
"Oh, I forgot to ask you, do you know if this dude has morning shifts at his job?"
*Sighing in my mind* "I don't know man, he still hasn't called me back yet. Once I know something I'll make sure to call you back."

As of 10:35, no call back from dude lol. I guess he finally got the point now and gave his fingers a rest from dialing my number. Just had to share my 'what the fuck' moments with yall.