Monday, December 21, 2009

The (B)east Coast

After almost a year to the day, I find myself back in DC. And more importantly, back at my brother's place. Which for the 1st time in a long time gives me the sense of being HOME. It's been so long since I knew where the dishes were, where the snacks were, and how to work the remote control!! All these subtle simplicities create a momentum of appreciation for not only the surroundings, but above all, FAMILY.

To my surprise, upon arrival, my brother informed me he wouldn't be needing his car, so I could take it and do what I need to do. Oh what a difference a year makes. The last time I was around, he was protecting that ride with his every breath. You would too if you were pushing a BMW 645 Ci.

Needless to say, I was delighted to receive such an offer. Which led me to snatch up those keys and get out the door before he got a chance to reconsider!

DC on a whole really didn't feel so magical.(not that I expected it to) It was nice to stop by my old job and see a lot of the people and spirits I've missed. But the overall vibe wasn't one of "I've missed this so much." But rather a sense of, "Hey, what's up? Nice to see you again"..and that's about it.

The lone highlight came in the form of one Mia Jael Flemming. Born just 5 days before my arrival, it seemed rather fateful that I just happened to return in time to say a few silent prayers and extend Divine Light around My God Daughter! A title that was often given and taken away by her mother in the months prior to her arrival, whenever I got to acting a fool!! :) However, now that she's here, there's no turning back!

And she's a cutie for sure! And I say that reluctantly, because I'm not one to shower newborns with too much affection. When friends send those fresh outta the hospital pictures to everyone they know proclaiming, Malcolm Paul Little, 6 lbs, 8 ounces. And at least 10 of those people who have yet to discover the difference between reply to sender and reply to all write back.."Ooohhh..he's so cuuuuuute!" I'm like "Nah. Not really!" In my opinion, it usually takes a good month or so before that cuteness factor arrives. But perhaps I was a bit biased in her case. Regardless, she was great. Let me hold her with no crying. And that's about all a brute like me can ask for...ha haaaa!!!

From DC to upstate NY, my brother and I drove. Well..he drove.. I relaxed. The trip was a cool one. We dove into the depths of being bi-racial. And how distinctly different our set of challenges are from those of black or white people. My bro made the point that it is an injustice to attach the label of Black to President Obama because that is discrediting the uniqueness of his/our plight. He has learned a certain skill set as a result of being both black and white. And to simply group him into the sweeping generalization of being a black man is not only a mistake, but also an indication of how ignorant Americans' remain in terms of race relations.

This is an element I witnessed 1st hand, as numerous people asked me "Why do they keep calling him 'Black?" when I was in Japan. "Isn't he mixed?"

I'd roll my eyes and say..."Yeah, but in America (and seemingly only America) we're considered black."

It was almost comical to me at 1st but eventually educational to see outside of the American framework and realize many cultures on Earth recognize the distinction quite clearly. There was actually a time in Jamaica, where an elder (Black Woman) hollered out to my friend, from her porch "Who da white bwoy wit ya?"

I got offended as hell! And pleaded to my man..."Who's she calling white boy? Can't she see I'm black?" He gave me that nod like, Yeah..yeah..shut up for a minute, I'll explain later. :) Big deal at the time...hilarious now!

As for our family the spectrum could never be more evident. Although born unto the same parents. And brought up under as similar a conditions as one could conjure. You'd be surprised to see how distinctly different our personalities and tendencies are.

I'd be the 1st to tell you there is no such thing as acting Black or acting White. But I think we can all identify with certain qualities and modes of being which we'd usually attach to one race or the other. (gotta throw that disclaimer out there so folks know I "ain't ignorant!")

My brother admitted that he leans more toward the white side, while I seem to have more of a black disposition. An idea which was reiterated by a friend of mine here in L.A. who proclaimed despite his vast number of fully black acquaintances, "You the blackest friend I have!"

But ultimately, as a child I was never fully embraced by either. WE were always different. And often reminded of our difference from both sides. And that makes for a pretty lonely upbringing in terms of having a point of reference or role models.

But you better believe I studied my older brother's every move in hopes of gaining any insight on the path that lied ahead. A move that was often times beneficial.

Although I thought I may be ranting a bit, I just realized that all of these thoughts were a part of our conversation. Which was a doozy I promise you that.

Just to paint a picture for you non-New Yorkers who continue to hold the illusion that New York STATE is the same as New York CITY. It was a great surprise for me to see the Welcome to New York sign while still on the highway on this trip. See Route 15 has been a country road that takes you through small town after small town, offering litte more than gas and Dunkin Donuts at each stop. Yet somehow, someway, they managed to circumvent the villages and navigate the farmland without pissing off the cows in a fashion that kept us aboard the highway. A beautiful yet tragic accomplishment.

Beautiful for the obvious reasons of convenience. Yet tragic on account of remembering when they said, that was gonna be a 15 year project. Yikes. These days are mounting!

Not long after, we pulled up to Mom's place. A welcomed sight. But even greater... a welcomed FEELING! As these days turn to years and many of my priorities shift (drastically.) There is one that remains atop. And that's Mommy!! So good to be home!

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