Saturday, January 14, 2006


Vacation is over.
Working on trying to set up links on this blog.
Will read mail later today.
I have to plan this German trip.
The great reckoning is what I am calling it in my head.
There are some personal and family oriented mistakes attached to my return trip.
Will leave it at that.
Let's call that part of my non-blog life.
Plus . . .
I have to work today.
Maybe catch a movie.

I got home yesterday about 6:30 central standard time from Atlanta. I drove up to the bookstore and wished friends a happy new year. I have not seen them for a while. I was looking for one of the workers there. He had invited me out to the radical fairy retreat on Short Mountain. I have been hesistant because he asked me how I would feel being the only person of colour there. If I would find it problematic.

I wanted to say, "Let's not talk about my first publishing job in NYC, OK. That was very uncomfortable. And teaching and consulting in Germany was also pushing the envelope."

But note to anyone white reading this page. I do not speak for the rest of the race on this natually, but if you inform a black person like myself, Littlemilk, that I am going to be the only person of colour in your office, retreat, office retreat or establishment I will not be offended. But it will signal me to look out for white benevolence, and that can be demeaning because it makes it, as if, I can't do anything without a little bit of help from my white friends (whose view of me is riddled with stereotypes). It signals that I am somehow inferior. White Benevolence doen't use the front door, a liberal Foucault quoting paternalist just slips the insult in through the back. But I love my friend at the bookstore. He was just being honest.

Which brings me to this idea of doors. I was the first one in the house last night, so when my mom opened the door last night after my arrival I saw the funeral program in her hand but asked anyway, about where she had been. She said a funeral. I looked through the funeral program. It was of a childhood friend I had not seen since I was very young. We went to the same church, though I don't go to church anymore. She was 34. Just turned 34 Christmas Eve actually. She died of cancer. I remembered her face immediately. Then I saw a picture with her and her younger sister, whose name fell into my mind quickly. The younger girl is about the same age as my sister. I was very sad.

My mom talks about funerals all the time now. That is what she does. She talks about the dead and diabetes. I guess she is nervous that I am going to die before her, but that is starting to wear me out. It was at that moment that I felt my vacation was over. A little bit of time passed and soon we were laughing about other things concerning my trip and my cousin. I also had a Stout, which is a great way to cut the edge off of any situation.

Then I got ready to go to a party being thrown by the Brazilians. Ms. A. called me when I was 15 minutes outside of Nashville to say there was going to be a party. So I went. It was cool. Good music. Nice people and tons of women. It was as if I went from my cousin's house, opened the door to Nashville life, and ended the day in Brazilian exile life. All with a turn of the key.

When I got into the living room of Ms. A, there were about 9 Brazilian women there dancing in the middle of floor. It was like I left Boys Town in Atlanta and entered a sorority house in Nashville. The party was alright. There were a couple of American male members of Nadia's band their. She is Ms. A's roomate from Brazil and plays bass. And there was one guy from Peru there too. So there were a couple of guys, a lots of girls and much food. I thought it was cool. I danced with Ms. A and Nadia. The other girls I chatted with shortly but it was difficult because my Portuguese is not too good yet, and they were speaking to themselves. All of them beautiful. I liked them. Lots of smiling and glancing. Many of the chicks left shorty after I arrived. I got there about 12:00 pm. And dancing with A. is nice because she is so soft and lady like and I feel sturdy like a tree when I am with her. I keep my back straight and my hands firm and tight and we do the steps together. I am just not confident enough in salsa or samba to lead. And that is very important when with a woman. Nadia and I just jumped up and down listening to Gilberto Gil's tribute album to Bob Marley. It is a great album. It doesn't sound like him at all. Not that he sounds bad in Portuguesse, but his voice is different in English.

Then I sat with memebers of the band and we talked. Nadia did a samba in the middle of the floor, and I meet Vivi's boyfriend from Central Europe. We talked a bit in German. He appreciated my view on the advantages and disadvantages of Europe. And I appreciated hearing someone trying to deal with the cultural differences and major shock after traveling from the Old World into the New. It really is not about Germany and America in my mind. It is more about societies based on long term planning, strong national identities and structure verse the Americas with all its cultural/racial mixing, shifting internal economies (Das Experiment and many of my students think the Americas are primitive because our social and economic systems do not take care of their own citizens . . . for them that is the same as '"failure") and relative freedom in terms of finding a position in the market place.

When me and Nadia started to dance, Vivi's boyfriend said "We don't have this in Europe." I turned around in mid-step and told him, "Yes, I know". We both smiled. In short, if you want to go skinny dipping and not get any crap over it, I suggest Europe (at least central, I am not so sure about "Catholic Europe", they got a different modus operandi. Stay Central and move toward the North Sea for skinny dipping). If you want to brake dance, samba and listen to house music all in the same evening, stick to the Americas. Anywhere will do.

And that was the night. One of the musicians was busy trying to talk to Ms. A. All men do, and she has a very good way of seeming interested and disarming at the same time. I will see her today. We will talk about the car situation (her search for a 2,000 dollar car), which is a story I promised a while back, but will write later.

Nadia is brillant though. She tours with these guys as a bass player in a country band. They just got back from Japan. She then announced that country music is boring, while her two bandmates were disecting the Gilberto Gil and MPB instead of enjoying it. I should not say that . . . that could be the way they enjoy the music. One commented: "This is such happy music." The other said he got tired when he danced . . . I just looked at him. I never get tired and I am approaching middle age. Could do it all night like I was 18 . . . minus the 40 pounds.

The drummer was trying to get the beat, and the guitarist was sipping wine and listening to Gilberto Gil like he was tasting it too and Nadia was trying to explain that Gil is not a politician. He is an appointed minster. I got bored a bit, Ms. A was singing with her imaginary microphone, I started to belt out those high notes of Gil and Nadia started to dance again. We made an imperfect samba a couple of times. Then Vivi and her boyfriend said good buy. Then I found my jacket. Danced to one more song. Said good bye to the wine sipper. Kissed Ms. A on the check. Said bye to Nadia's drummer from New England. Kissed Nadia and said I would come back next week to make fish soup.

Walked out into the snow.

Started my car.

And drove to my old Nashville door.

Spring left on yesterday.

After the big rain.

And the thing that looked like a funnel cloud

Somewhere south of Chatanooga.

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