suffer from dysentery of the keyboard blog elsewhere.
// piscesinpurple at gmail dot com //
Juicy Lucy is a barmaid in the restaurant on the beach ten feet from the office where I work. Deep in her front pocket she keeps a packet of Bambú rolling papers that she sells them to the guys in the boatyard for 25 cents a leaf.
She has a special t’ing with one of them. He’s a Rasta in the fiberglass shop and he works with a piece of jersey tied around his head. It’s bright white and keeps the cutting dust from troubling his scalp and dirtying his plaits.
She’s 37 and he’s 23, which is how she likes it. “The young ones,” she tells me, “are very… enthusiastic.” She draws out the sound. En-thus-i-as-tic. She laughs then and that’s when I hear her wordless confession, hanging limp in the grinding pauses between each syllable. That’s when she admits that every day - right before she serves lunch - she meets him in the concrete shower block by the rigging shop, and there he picks her up and frankly fucks her against the tile wall. I almost missed this because I am too new and too foreign and too literal. I am still learning to see past the unsubtle.@4 years ago with 25 notes
Late one afternoon, a neighbor I’d never seen knocked on my door.
“I came over,” she explained, “because I saw your little boy outside. In your backyard. Just a minute ago. And I wanted you to know. That I also saw a bear.”
“In my backyard?”
“In your backyard. Just a few minutes before I saw your little boy out there. I thought I should make sure you knew. About the bear.”
“Well. OK. Yeah. Wow. Well. Um. Thank you!”
She smiled and turned away.
I immediately went downstairs and repeated the conversation to my mom. She was dubious.
“A bear? Really? I don’t know.”
“You don’t know? What does that even mean, Mom?”
“It means I’m not sure we really need to worry about it. Bears prefer to avoid people. So let’s not overreact.”
“You have got to be fucking kidding me,” I hissed at her, quietly, so Bean and his friend wouldn’t hear me swearing.
I stomped up the stairs to the kitchen. Turned, shouted down at her, over my shoulder,
“You know what this means? This means THE BEARORRISTS HAVE WON.”@4 years ago with 25 notes
After Bean was born, I developed a keen interest in the details of his father’s heritage. He’d told me more than once that his mother had been a white woman, and that his grandmother had been born in another country. She’d arrived in Grenada via sea.
When I pressed him to tell me where, exactly, his grandmother had come from, he first said Austria.
Austria? This surprised me. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting. But, hey. Sure. Austria.
But the next time the subject came up, the country he named was Australia.
Australia? I thought you said Austria. They’re very far apart, those two countries. Not the same place at all.
I ain’t too sure, you know, he admitted. Better if you ask my sister the next time you see her.
So I did. I went to the market on a Saturday and found her at her vegetable stand.
Was it, I asked, Austria or Australia where your mother’s mother was born?
Her eyes widened, and then she laughed. No, no, she said. Neither. Granny was from Scotland.@4 years ago with 25 notes
Somehow I lost the plot and ended up going on and on about misappropriation of Native American headdresses.
Anyway, she thinks I’m making it up.@4 years ago with 44 notes
One night when Bean was about eight months old, we took the subway from my dad’s house in The Bronx to my friend’s apartment on the Upper East Side. He was still Snugli-bound back then, so it was an easy trip. Pleasant. Fun.
We had a good night. He found her stash of cat food and stacked, knocked down and restacked the cans with unbridled glee. They were the best blocks he’d ever seen, and to this day my friend jokes about stocking up on cat food before Bean comes over.
We left after dark, and walked from her apartment on 77th Street to the 86th Street Subway Station, where we caught a Uptown 6. It wasn’t too cold and I’m totally comfortable in New York City, so I didn’t hurry. I couldn’t see my son’s face, because he was facing out, forward, which was one of his requirements by that time, that he be allowed to see as much as possible of the world around him.
The lights and the people, the shouts and the music, the squeal of the trucks and crosstown busses and the rumble of the subway beneath our feet. These were all things Bean drank up, but his favorite thing by far was all the people, especially the ones walking their dogs. I am certain of this even though he was too young to speak, because my boy’s face has always communicated on a plane far beyond mere words.
He was used to being popular. He was born in Grenada, where everyone knew his name. Neighbors called to him when they passed our house and saw him out on the verandah. People, as far as he knew, were always friendly, bringing him a mango, or a cookie, for no other reason than they had one to share and thought of him, the infant mayor of Westerhall Bay.
That night I saw New Yorkers through his eyes. Their heads down, their eyes hooded, their pace quick; busy, busy. He tried to engage them all. He threw out the only hooks he had, hoping to catch them with his eyes, bait them with his toothless grin, reel them in with his tiny, gummy, waving hands.
Not a single person even made eye contact.
Finally, in frustration, he turned to me and asked with his eyes. Why, Mommy? Why don’t they want to play with me?
I brought my lips close to his ear and whispered, Because it’s cold and dark, and they want to get home as soon as possible. They don’t know any better, baby.
Just under five weeks now, and we’ll be home. Finally.@4 years ago with 35 notes
My brother has one of those video cameras with a little screen that you can flip around.
I guess so that you can use it to tape yourself? Yeah.
He brought it out on Bean’s birthday to record him blowing out his birthday candles and opening his presents.
At first he kept the monitor where he could see it, but then he turned it to face Bean, who got a huge kick out of seeing himself.
He started monologuing.
My brother asked him if he knew who he was talking to. Bean just looked at him. I think he sensed it was a trick question.
My brother said,
“The future, Jack. You are talking to the future.” He paused. “Do you have a message for the future?”
Bean thought for a moment and then grinned, obviously pleased with his answer.
“Yeah! NO BITING.”@4 years ago with 18 notes
I know that you think “I’d send you to Harvard, and put you on a huge retainer” is a compliment, but it’s not. It’s condescending and creepy and it is not okay to talk to me like that.@4 years ago with 20 notes
It’s funny how a big part of why I came back last year was I wanted my child to be “American”. I know that’s a problematic construct to begin with and I also know that it’s not like I can control him like that. Because kids are organic little monsters with their very own nature, that can perhaps be cultivated but never directed.
What I meant when I said that I wanted him to be American was that I wanted him to be like me. I didn’t figure this out until I got flamed by that guy who didn’t like the way I talked about Grenada’s schools. I was using that as an excuse. Because the schools there are just like the schools here, in that most of them suck and a handful are pretty good. You know? I’m an elitist. I never went to public school. I was a teacher’s kid, so I’m not as spoiled as that makes me sound, but whatever. Tangential.
What actually bugged me about the prospect of Bean growing up and being educated in the Caribbean was that he wouldn’t learn “our” geography or history and he’d be totally unfamiliar with entities like Target and Ruby Tuesday’s. Netflix and thirteen varieties of diet Coke. I wanted him to sound like me. To have my accent and my slang. I wanted him to identify aslike me, rather than as other than me. But right now? Gawd. Get us out of this place. We’ll come back in 20 years, when Glenn Beck is off the air.
Do I feel good about burying my head in the sand and running away from what I feel is a potentially toxic environment for my child? No, just lucky. Not everyone has that opportunity.
Do I abdicate my responsibility as an informed citizen? Am I going to stop paying attention to the world while I’m hiding in the tropics waiting for American political extremism to take it down a thousand? No. I will not. I’ll still be the same person, acting the same way and saying the same things. I’ll still be trashtalking my dad because he thinks Rush Limbaugh is a scholar and Sean Hannity is a saint. I’ll just be doing it from the equator.@4 years ago with 39 notes