Monday, February 13, 2006

Mammy-made Rant (Pt I)

Get your snacks, y'all. This is going to be a loooong one.

I had a little bit of a falling out with a friend. When I decided to do a blog, it was because I thought it would be a cool way to document this journey of mine into the new life I'm headed for. It's been even better than I thought. Since I get to let out all my wandering little thoughts, worries & stress moments in writing, I don't talk to myself as much as I used to. That helps cut back on the nervous stares of fellow Walmart shoppers. (I still hear some of the little voices in my head, but only the nice ones.)

Anyway, I'm a true techno-dummy & I was pretty proud that I was going to be blogging. (By the way, I'm still trying to get the hang of some things here, so everybody please be patient - or throw some useful tips my way!)

When I got my blog account all set up, I called my friend to let her know about Being Free (the blog), just like I have called her about Being Free! (the state of mind). She sounded a lit-tle bit skeptical. Until I quit the job a while back, my friend & I had worked together for almost 13 years. When she didn't throw a party at the news of my blog, I assumed she was remembering the times when, just by sitting down near a company PC, I could make grown Tech Support guys weep with frustration. (Those techies actually assigned a code name to me - you know, like the Secret Service does for POTUS & family. My name wasn't anything as cute as what first ladies get. Mine was "Target" - as in: "Guys, get ready to cover the HR Department. Target is logging on to Unit 1 in Station 4.") Yeah. It was kind of embarrassing that I could crash a PC just by opening Excel... Otherwise, I was so good at my job that, instead of being fired, I was given an assistant who handled all work on the PC. (The Techs started sending her roses once a week.)

But back to my GWA (Girlfriend With Attitude). It turns out that her concern was not that I would accidentally do something to crash the World Wide Web (is that even possible? Please god, tell me it's not), but that I would infect the web community with what she has the nerve to call my "old-fashioned, mammy-made values." Yeah - she actually said "mammy-made." Talk about showing her age. Old country-assed heifer...

"Now, girl, don't take this the wrong," she told me. "But..."

Pause that. You just know that when somebody says "don't take this the wrong way," they're about to tell you something that's going to make you mad no matter how you take it. And then, you notice, they always add the "but."

"But, Free, much as I love you girl, you know you got some strange ways of thinking when it comes to..."

I tuned out. I'd already heard GWA give this little speech many times over the years. She and I are roughly the same age & we had both his the court system around the same time to take back our maiden names. After divorcing my husband, I took a year off, but GWA had hooked up with a man she met in the courthouse elevator. Basically, she & I have really different ideas about relationships & socializing.

I let GWA finish her little speech about how since we're now in a dating pool with "younger fish," we have to "change our stroke. " Usually, I let GWA have her say & just be done. I always felt so guilty for my "old-fashioned" values that I could never take a stand about them. This time, though, some of my "mammy-made" southern girl fire flared up & I decided to stand hard & have my say.

"You always say I'm old-fashioned - like it's a nasty rash or something. I guess I got "funny ways" just because my idea of romance doesn't involve getting hot over some old-ass fool in a club who's trying to look 10 years younger & talk to me like we'll be sharing pillows in the morning." I said this all without taking even a little breath. Anger gives you strength. When I did take a breath, GWA tried to get a word in.

"Girl, I didn't-"

I cut her off because I was on a roll & my neck was working with it. "Yes, you did," I told her. Then I mumbled too much like I remember my grandma doing, "Just cause I like knowing what a man things about the economy, the war & the way his mama raised him before I know what he thinks about the beauty mark on my thigh..."

"Dang, Free. You ain't got to trip."

"Oh, yes I do. When good brothers & sisters out here got to wade through all the thugs & hoes just to try to find each other. Yeah, I am going to trip."

"I know you ain't calling me a-"

"I did not start the name-calling," I said. (And yeah, I did sound like I was six.) "I'm too old-fashioned for that."

There was this real long silence while GWA tried to decide whether ot not she had a right to be offended. Finally, she laughed in that silly way that some young dude told her was "cute" and said, "Aw, girl. You know I love you. You and your funny ways."

Yeah. Me & my funny ways.

- to be continued -
Oh, yeah - and I bet you thought I forgot this: My words for today --
"Nothing is as complex as the mind a woman - except the mind of a woman in love."
(Free 12/2005)
Song I'm listening to: "I Wanna Thank You" by Maze f/Frankie Beverly