Thursday, August 28, 2008


So, I was reading Robby Johnson's blog this morning about the potential hurricane in the Gulf Coast, and it’s got me musing on Katrina again.

Hurricane Katrina’s impact on my life was profound. No, I wasn’t there. No, I don’t know anyone there. It had no direct personal connection to me whatsoever. But, it touched me in a way that no other event that didn’t happen to me or someone I love ever has.

I can remember watching the weather maps as the storm loomed toward New Orleans. I had knots in my stomach for all those folks. It was the worst possible of all combinations. A huge storm headed directly for a city shaped like a soup bowl. Pleaseohpleaseohplease don’t let it be too bad. The storm moved. I was relieved for New Orleans and devastated for Mississippi and Alabama. But, my stomach unclenched a little and it seemed like it might be okay.

Then the levies broke.

And I sat in front of the TV for days and just cried. And cried. And cried. I cried on my way to work. I cried on my way home. I carried a lump in my chest all the time. I cried from sadness and anger and helplessness. Did I mention that I’m crazy?

Finally, help came and people got food and water and access to functioning plumbing. I wasn’t crying in my car anymore and my chest was looser.

Until the blaming started. Did President Bush deserve blame? Certainly. FEMA? Hell yes. State of Louisiana? You betcha. Mayor Nagin? More than likely. But to blame the people who suffered? Inexcusable.

How can you look at those boarded up houses with body counts on the doors and blame the people for staying? For building houses there in the first place? Most them weren’t rentals, throw away places so often inhabited by the folks who can’t go anywhere else. They were homes. Bought and paid for by generations of blood and sweat and tears. Paid for by Black GI’s coming home from WW II in uniforms but still not allowed to live anywhere else. Paid for by Black women leaving their own children to wash other people’s floors and care for other people's children so theirs would have a place to live. Maintained by those kids doing whatever they could to keep that house and to give their kids and often nieces/nephews/grandkids a place to live.

Fuck y’all.

So with another hurricane potentially bearing down on the Gulf Coast, I just wanted to take a moment to say some of us have not forgotten. It may not be on the news anymore. But, we know y’all are still struggling to make it back. And our hearts are still with you. In foul weather and in fair.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My New Favorite Word

I love words. I love language. I love how precise it is. "The OED2, the largest English-language dictionary, contains some 290,000 entries with some 616,500 word forms." Six hundred and sixteen THOUSAND words. Each one with a slightly different meaning. I love finding the perfect word for exactly the right thing. Petrichor is just such a word.

Petrichor is the scent that rises from pavement after rain has begun to fall.

It’s my favorite smell in the whole world. No matter where I am or what I’m doing, that smell immediately takes me back to my great grandmother’s house in the summer. I grew up way out in the country, and paved driveways were a rarity. But Mun had one. And I loved being at her house. I could ride my bike or Big Wheel on her driveway which had a big hill to coast down and it felt like the fastest thing on earth. I was always a kid who liked amusing myself and her yard had an endless supply of amusing things.
But when it started to rain, when I smelled that smell, it was time to come inside.
Mun’s house was always neat and filled with beautiful things and good things to eat. And most importantly, it had her. When I was at her house, I was a kid. I wasn’t the closest approximation to a grown up. I didn’t have to take care of my brother, or do laundry, or feed us, or make sure we got to school on time.

When I smelled that smell, it was time to come inside and wash my feet ( they were always dirty because I only wore shoes when we went into town). Get fed, then climb into one of her big carved beds and snuggle in the sheets so old and soft they felt like cotton balls. And then get up and start all over tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Conrad-Comer Hierarchy of Crazy

My friend Allie and I have this theory … The Theory of Crazy. The theory states that everyone is crazy. But we are all crazy to different degrees and about different things. Conflict occurs when you are forced to deal with someone outside your level of crazy.

I’ve been thinking about how this theory apples to my life. There is some shit that only happens to me. I swear I must give off a smell only the krazeee can detect.

I used to live in Atlanta, near the intersection of Peachtree and the major east/west thoroughfare (Ponce De Leon for those in the know). The part close in to Peachtree was near the big Fox Theatre and was often frequented by trannie and male street trade. And when I say trannie, I don't mean Miss Gay World trannie. I mean 3 days worth of stubble, crooked wig, stripper shoes, and a mini skirt trannie.

Exhibit A. So, one day I was chilling at my apartment and decided I wanted some fries and a chocolate shake. So I threw on my baseball cap and barn coat and headed up to McDonalds. As I was walking, I noticed a dude driving by in a green wood paneled Family Truckster. Didn't think anything of it. A block later, there he is again going slower than ever. Weird yes, but I'm still all about my fries. The 3rd time he creeps by I finally catch on that I'm being cruised as a male prostitute. So, scream from the middle of the sidewalk, I'M NOT A BOY, CHESTER!!! After which he looks horrified and speeds off. Awesome day for my self esteem.

ExhinitB In addition to the trade we had a plethora of other local characters. One Dreadlock Dude and James Brown the most notable. The James Brown dude would walk around in full a full JB getup(permed hair, tight polyester pants, white belt, white shoes, sparkly shirt) carrying a boom box playing James Brown. Every block or so he'd put down the box and perform a JB dance number complete with HEY! and WATCH OUT NOWS! One night I was at MARTA waiting on my bus, and JB Dude shows up. He makes a beeline for me and starts pulling on me. I push him off and try to ignore him (I'm 5'9" he's like 5'5"). He comes at me again and we rinse and repeat. I guess I pissed him off because now he's on me like a howler monkey on acid. It took 2 big ass construction worker dudes to haul his ass off me and guard me till my bus came. so.awesome.

Exhibit C. At the same MARTA stop this deaf/mute guy comes and sits beside me. He's got a big ass legal pad and he starts showing me notes. I'm deaf, Can I have a dollar, etc. I try to brush him off but I feel kinda bad so I chat with him for a few seconds. Pretty soon his notes turn into, I like to have sex with little boys, do you? what.the.fuck.

If the Theory of Crazy holds true, does this mean I am more or less crazy than previously thought?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Welcome to My Crazy

Dear Blog,

How are you? I am fine. Today, anyway.

Recently, I was watching one of those stupid eHarmony commercials, and was struck by the question, "Do you find humor in anything?" And I realized ... yes. Yes, I do. Some days you have to either laugh or cry, and fuck it ... I'd rather laugh.
I'm gonna talk about my crazy life. The fucked up shit that happens. How I'm trying to not carry the crazy shit my parents did for the rest of my life. And how I'm trying to do better for my kid than they did for me. What it's like to try and manage that all with a helping of OCD and anxiety. But, this will not be a place to find inspiration. So, if that's what you're looking for, it's not for you.

To paraphrase Chris Titus, I wanna here your pain - just put it in joke form.

Remember, I can and will laugh at anything.