When I Need A Pick Me Up, by my friend Ryan King

Friday, November 28, 2008

At Work In Jersey...

I was at a site where newly hired (6 months now, though) is a woman who grew up in the same apartment complex as me, Childhood Bud, and Childhood Bud II. Lest you think this strange to know, our apartment complex was one structure built like a three-story square letter "C". So most of all our apartments looked out over the court, and so everybody's business was everyone else's.

This woman (girl) from my past and myself have already tried reminiscing and found that we ran in different circles at the time, so none of my "friends" were hers and vice versa. But last week a nuggest from our shared history broke the surface of our work environment.

She is a supervisor of the site and I am a specialist for the client's psychology. Therefore, we're just about on the same ladder rung in terms of position. with us were two direct care workers--effectively, the bottom of the ladder. The four of us are black. The Girl From The Past was discussing a club she went to in New York City, and one of the direct care workers shared one of the spots in NYC that she liked to frequent as well. It just so happened that I knew the area of The Past Girl's club and wanted to show-off my Cityese. so I said, "Yeah, that club is perpendicular to the IFC Theater, right?"

Well, the three ladies broke into giggles. The Past Girl said, in a scolding/laughing tone to her subordinates, "Now stop it! I know what you're doing! Be nice!"

The cute subordinate, "What? I'm not doing anything!"

The other cute subordinate, "Perpendicular. Hahaa..."

I feign being perplexed, but I'm really not. I believe I know exactly what's happening. and I believe I recognize The Past Girl's place in all of this. Where she resided 30 years ago. where I had completely forgotten about.

The other cute subordinate said, "Why you gotta say 'perpendicular.' You coulda just said 'adjacent.'"

Well, I was so impressed that homegirl broke out the word 'adjacent' that I complimented her and told her, "That's good! Okay, lesson learned. I'll remember that."

The moment passed. I rolled with it and we all had a nice chuckle. My expense wasn't as much in the end as it could have been.

But I came away from that experience with a memory.

When we were all growing up, Childhood Bud, you weren't the only strange kid on the block. I used to get this all the time from the peers. This is why I wound up at your house as often as I did, eating your mom's peas and rice and plantains. Already not an athlete, I was also not anyone's loverboy.

I was a weird little precocious kid. With crossed-eyes. And a vocabulary that built walls around me. The Past Girl was on the scene at the time. And even though I recognized her first aloud, I think she knew me when she saw me at once. Because I think she had a crush on me when we were growing up. And I think she would come to my defense at times back then. While laughing at me. because she wanted to fit in too. She didn't want to come inside my walls and be isolated like I was. But she did want me to come out and join her.

And I never did.

And I doubt I ever will. I don't much like The Past Girl here in the present. She's a good person, but her personality is grating. A little too manic and a little too faux-homegirlish. Maybe she has been cut from the same cloth I am all along, but her willingness to fit in was way more than mine. Seeing that we both are on the same level careerwise, I think it may be truer than I even know.

And too, I already had a mother. That didn't work out so well. So I don't need another one, defending my awkward language to the homegirls of Earth.

Boy. You never know when a memory is ready to strike.

'S a funny ol' life.

1 comment:

bulletholes said...

Well, i an tell you right now I plan to stop using 'adjacent" and start using "perpendicular"...