Posts Tagged With: coworkers

Don’t Lose Your Lion

LAST WEEK I did something I hadn’t done since I was 19, I went to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus. A lot has changed since the last time I went to the circus back in the early 90s but the core of the circus is always the same: Clowns, overpriced snow cones, and a ringmaster in a long sequined coat to sing and dance you through what’s happening. Like my father, I’m a bit of a nature nut so more than anything I was looking forward to seeing the big cats in the center ring, there’s something about lions and tigers that bring out the little kid in me. However when the spotlight hit the cage in the middle of the Philips Arena floor something didn’t quite seem right, there were big cats there sure enough but they looked less like the majestic and regal creatures they are and they looked more like, well, big furry people metaphors. Let me explain…

I don’t speak lion, or tiger for that matter, they don’t sell that package in Rosetta Stone. I can, however, tell you without shadow of a doubt that the four tigers, four lionesses, and one great big male lion had some feelings of disdain for Alexander the circus lion tamer Continue reading

Categories: Atlanta, Attempts at Seriousness | Tags: , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Russians and Rap Don’t Mix

I’ve been to the Ukraine.

Usually when I tell people this they look at me like, “You know daggone well there’s no good reason for a Black man to be visiting the Ukraine.” But I have, I once worked at a place where I had to travel there for a conference back in 2006. In a word, it was interesting. The conference was in this town called L’viv (la-VEEV). To get to this town we had to fly into Kiev and then we jumped on this thing that looked like a sardine can with wings and propellers. After praying for the entirety of the 45 minute flight that the sardine can would stay in the air and not crash into one of the mountaintops we were skimming over we landed in L’viv, a quaint city with buildings dating back to the 1300’s and one of the most beautiful opera houses I’ve ever seen (I’ve only seen like 5 so…).

If you’ve ever seen a wide eyed kid in a Toys R Us then you have a good idea of what I looked like as we rolled through the streets of Lviv. Additionally, I caught more than a couple of curious stares as people got a glimpse of me in this former Russian outpost as people my shade in Ukraine are either imported athletes or REALLY lost. More than anything, though, I had a fascination with Ukrainian radio. Not only could you travel a world away in 2006 and NOT get away from “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley, but you could also hear all of your favorite hip hop tracks on Ukrainian radio free of bleeps or any other sounds that keep your ears free of profanity. There is no “radio edit” in Ukraine! I realized that this is mainly because if you speak Ukrainian or Russian you really don’t know that English profanity is English profanity unless someone who knows English puts you on…otherwise they’re just song lyrics.

Anyway, so we’re rolling through town listening to “C.R.E.A.M.” by Wu Tang Clan on the way to our hotel and conference center for the week. It was a real out of the way place and when I say out of the way I mean 175 miles removed from “where the hell am I”. Yeah, that far. Just outside of the main entrance to the hotel was a monastery which wasn’t strange at all; however, the cow out in front chained to the flagpole was a little left of center. This wasn’t a decorative cow, this was a straight up, walking around, milk producing moo-cow…on a chain. WTF??

The hotel was modest enough, just north of shady but not quite at “run-down” level; just outside of the main entrance to the hotel was a small cage and inside that cage was a bigger than average rabbit. He (or she) was happily munching on some grass that had been placed in the cage for him. I automatically began to think, if rabbit is on the menu for dinner tonight I pass, I’m not particular about my dinner spending its last hours chillin in a cage on the front steps. Anyway…back to the matter at hand…

The first order of business was to meet with all of the partner agencies that came to meet with us; there was Petru, the big Romanian dude, Monika the Polish woman with enough nasty attitude for 4 women, and then there was Anna the Russian. Anna is the prototypical Russian girl, long blonde hair, clear blue-green eyes, pretty smile, if she ate a few sandwiches and gained about 12 pounds she could have been a shorter version of Maria Sharapova and that would have been pretty cool because I think Maria Sharapova is a fox. More than her good looks, though, she was a good person. I don’t think that I saw her once without a smile on her face even when we had those ridiculous 7AM meetings. She was always smiling and always had a kind word and, while her English was broken, we could still have a full on conversation.

So we’re sitting at dinner, in all there are about 20 of us; there are about 4 languages and 6 nationalities represented but everyone seems to be fixated on me because, I think, I’m the first living breathing walking around Black man that a good number of them have seen in their natural lives. I’m sitting next to Anna at dinner because she’s the only person that I can have a real conversation with outside of the people I traveled with, plus she was cute. Her cell phone kept ringing about every 15 minutes or so, not that a ringing cell phone is anything weird, we all have one and they usually ring every day but we all didn’t have “P.I.M.P.” by 50 Cent as our ringtone. If you don’t remember that song the chorus went a little something like this:

“I don’t know what you heard about me/But a b*tch can’t get a dollar out of me/

No Cadillac, no perms; you can’t see/That I’m a m*th*rf*ck*n’ P.I.M.P.!”

These lyrics on repeat as a ringtone on a cell phone belonging to a Russian girl that looks like she worked part time as the Swiss Miss logo.

I’m not necessarily a big fan of 50 Cent but I know enough about him to know that his main demographic isn’t Russian females between the ages of 22-29. The phone goes off again and my co-worker starts to poke fun at her choice of ringtone. Fifteen minutes (and maybe 4 more vodka shots) later the phone rang again and we all start to sing along with the lyrics, she quickly answers in order to shut us all up. Roars of laughter go up in the dining room. As a sidebar, you haven’t heard 50 Cent lyrics until you’ve heard them with a Romanian or Polish accent.

After her phone call she leans over to me seeing an opportunity to ask a real, honest and for true Black dude a question that she has probably wanted to ask for months given the opportunity. She motioned for me to lean closer, looked me dead in the eye and asked, Russian eyes full of sincerity:

“What is a m*th*rf*ck*n’ P.I.M.P.?”

I mean, here she is with this ringtone that she’s had for Lord knows how long and she has no idea what in the world that joint means. So now I have to sit at the dinner table at a business conference half a world away and explain to Anna, the cute Russian chick, what a m*th*rf*ck*n’ P.I.M.P is. And to think that she might not have ever known if she didn’t meet a black dude from the States at a business conference. Well, at least I thought it was comical.

And there’s my interesting roundabout story about me in Lviv, Ukraine.

~thanks for reading

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Categories: Humor, So Incredibly Random | Tags: , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Gripe Away, America!!

I just finished a 7 month stint on America’s Unemployment Line. It was a jaunt full of despair, weekends devoid of social activity, and countless ridiculous job fairs and what I discovered, other than the fact that not having money sucks on several levels is that people are extremely hypersensitive about the most harmless things. For example…

I was sitting in a room with a group of friends one Friday night while I was in the midst of unemployment hell having a decent time hanging out and, as is typical, the conversation turned to work. What I’ve found is that when you take “shop talk” and then add a few beers then multiply that by the shattered employment hopes you wished of as a child, you typically get a room full of people talking about how much they hate their jobs and their lives as a byproduct. Oh the wailing and gnashing of teeth about what could have been; how they could have been an architect or a fighter pilot instead of a grunt worker pushing piles of paper to and fro on their desks on a day to day basis (S/N: That last sentence brought to you by…alliteration!). And typically this may go on for 5, 10, maybe even 20 minutes, this discussion of their morbid day to day plantation stories until they look over across the table and see me, the poor jobless sap who just a moment before was laughing to their tales of woe but has now brought the room to an awkward silence because I have no recent story to tell. So what then? The backtracking, that’s what.

“But I’m fortunate; I’m not ungrateful like that.”

“There’s always someone out there that hates their job more, so it’s not that bad.”

“No, I don’t really hate hate my job, that’s just me talking, man. It’s cool.”

All the while they’d look at me for some look of forgiveness like they’ve done wrong by me because they said what 90% of America was thinking at the time. Yes, the economy stinks. Yes, unemployment rates are the highest they’ve been since the Depression. Yes, if you have any job at all you should thank your lucky stars you have one.

But for goodness sakes, allow yourselves to vent without regret regardless of who is in the room. With political correctness what it is we have to walk on enough eggshells; don’t add onto it by suppressing the need to talk about:

  • Your awful cubicle neighbor that talks too loud about nothing you want to hear about.
  • The punk manager that denied your leave request.
  • The fact that you hate the thought of getting up in the morning to go to the office.
  • The “do-gooder” employee that ratted out all the office Facebookers.

And especially…

  • The coworker that thinks it’s socially acceptable to reheat fish in the break room microwave.

As a man fresh off the unemployment line, I’m giving the okay for all work related gripes whenever you feel like it regardless of who is in the room. No one considers you ungrateful but you will be called out for being a liar if you say that everything is hunky-dory and that there’s nothing at all you can gripe about…in the case you ARE that happy, you’re probably the same person that rats out the Facebookers at your job.

What’s your gripe? Let it out! Save yourself the ulcer you’ll likely have later if you swallow your frustration. To spur your thought, the young lady in this video will probably bring someone in your office to mind…

~thanks for reading 🙂

Categories: So Incredibly Random | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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