A Super Duper Buzz Kill

The interior of a Loblaws supermarket in Toronto

Image via Wikipedia

9/25/11  We were swimming almost everyday this summer.  My oldest daughter went from only wanting to sit on the stairs or on “boats”(actually rafts) to swimming all over the pool with water wings.  That evolved over several phases of interest, intrigue, insecurity and hesitancy.  Things went back and forth, but in those last two weeks, she jumped into the pool, swam with floaties and swam into the “deep end”, only 5 feet, but hey, I’m only 5 feet.

We took a 3 day break during Labor Day weekend and when we went back on a Tuesday, intending to refresh our swimming routine, it was closed.  How could it have happened?  Nothing had changed.   It was still super hot, there was still water and life and children needing to tire themselves out, but the pool was closed.  It was hard to imagine that this meant the end of summer.  Until today.

Today, there was an actual breeze.  Today, I had a chill outside.  I started wondering where my jackets and packets and non-sandal footwear was stashed.

Cut to today, 10/6/11 .  The Sacramento Sun continued to shine down on us up until these past few days.  The first day it rained I woke up with a sore throat.  I stayed in bed almost continuously this past week.  It is officially cold, and I’m bummed.  I started thinking about the fact that I still haven’t gone through our warmer clothes.  The fact that we left our space heater in the desert two years ago.   I started thinking about ways to enjoy the autumn weather.

I remembered that last year I went for runs.  I made frozen banana smoothies(which my daughter named ice cream smoothies) and I ate dates and persimmons.  I can’t wait for persimmon season, but in the meantime, I can definitely do frozen bananas, so long as I get a space heater.  I might also need a new kitchen ceiling but more on that later.

Cut to today, 10/7/11  Okay…I’m feeling it now.  I’m still recovering, but I actually got out of bed today, got some sunshine and went grocery shopping.  Last night I listened to a Chelsea Wolfe station on last.fm and I’m really feeling in the gritty mood for fall.  I hurried out the door while my husband and daughter numero dos were napping.  Daughter numero uno and I went to the well-loathed supermarket and I wore the wrong shoes.  I wore the old bcbg flip flops that were taped on the edges and needed to be taped on the bottom as well, but I forgot that.

On the way back I absolutely had to take my shoes off.  I kicked them off like a rebel and walked that supermarket sidewalk runway like a barefoot pro!  How I missed walking barefoot!  Dear readers, I am NOT a shoe girl.  But living in a hot climate I absolutely had to wear them all summer long.  I realized, I really do like the cooler weather, cause I can be naked from the ankle down!  I’ve been reading Malidoma Some these past few days and connecting to some of the ways I express my style, mostly I’m all about comfort.

I wear dreadlocks and clothes that may or may not vaguely match.  I usually wear shoes made out of rope or a good pair of Vibram hiking shoes.  I don’t wear make-up unless my daughter and I have a berry day (www.meganelizabeth.com).  In general I really prefer to look like I’ve lived a busy life.  I’m a mom, and I intend to look like I have a lot of things to do.  I carry a huge hobo bag so I can bring things with me if I need them.  I don’t carry a diaper bag or a clutch purse.  Although I can go much more into this topic, and I will later, I really brought this up because the cashier at the supermarket asked me if I was African.  I get this question a lot.  If people are not asking me if I’m African, they’re asking me if I’m from the Caribbean or if I’m from Mexico!  Oftentimes I just get “where are you from?”

No one ever believes I’m from the U.S.  For a time I would lie and tell them I’m from wherever or somewhere near where they thought I was from.  It was a fun game, while I was traveling.  But now that I’m stationary, I have to actually tell the truth, “I’m from the U.S., I’m from here, or I’m from Georgia.”  Like I said no one ever believes me.  They find a way to somehow make sense of it, “where are you originally from?”, “where are your parents from?”, “did you grow up here?”

Yep, unfortunately, I only look exotic.  Today the cashier had to back step, or at least she thought she did.  She thought she had offended me with her assumption.  She wanted to let me know that she meant no disrespect by thinking I was African, in fact her husband is Nigerian and she really thought based on him and his family, probably that I fit into that culture, more so, than that of the Californian supermarket spread.  She was right.  I have had to go through quite a lot of mental reconditioning to put myself into mainstream society melting pots, like supermarkets, they scare me, I stick out, and I avoid them whenever necessary.

A lot of “African-Americans” would be offended by that assumption she made.  Personally, I love it.  Usually the people who ask me where I’m from are people who are not from this country.  They’re usually from Central America, Africa, The Caribbean, or South American.  Sometimes they’re travelers or people who are married to someone from these areas.  I envy the people who ask me where I’m from.

I love that they are cultured enough to have extended experience with these cultures they think I am a part of.  I wish I was a part of them.  The buzz is killed.  The person who asks me where I’m from, and get the unexpected “right here” answer is perplexed, deflated, disappointed and so am I.  It reminds me that here I am, so enthused about cultural expansion, and yet my environment makes me the most culturally exotic person in view.  I wear my differences proud, but I wish I wasn’t the only one.


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