Monday, July 6, 2009

Sooooooo out of my element . . .

At work the other day, I had to ask someone about huffing paint and as soon as those words came out of my mouth, I was struck by how strange they sounded coming from me. I really can't pull it off. I try to keep a straight face when I have to say something like that but I don't think I'm fooling anyone. I mean, I might as well start rapping - it would sound about as natural coming from me.

When you grow up in the suburbs, it's pretty easy to find yourself out of your element as soon as you step out into the world because there are a lot of situations out there that a sheltered upbringing just doesn't prepare you for.

I remember back in 2003, my firm sent me to Louisville, Kentucky for a couple of depositions. I had only been a lawyer for a few months and felt pretty proud of myself for getting to go. Of course, the only reason they had me go was the fact that I was the only single lawyer who wouldn't have to spend a night away from her family but that's neither here nor there. I was staying at a nice hotel in the city and I felt pretty grown-up. Granted, I was 27 years old so I SHOULD have felt grown-up but you get my point.

On the day of the depositions, we had about a 2 hour break in the middle of the day. I didn't want to just go sit in my room so I asked the desk clerk if there was anything interesting within walking distance. He told me that there was a mall down the street and warned me not to stray too far from the hotel because the neighboring areas were not good ones. I walked over to the mall, looked around, and headed back to the hotel. On my walk back, I came to an intersection and had to stop until the "do not walk" light went off. While I was standing there, I heard a conversation between two men behind me. This is how it went:

Man 1: SHE got a little booty.
Man 2: Man! White girl ain't go no ass.
Man 1: Well, she got a LITTLE booty.
Man 2: Man! White girl ain't go NOOOOOO ass.

I stiffened up when I heard them and realized that they were talking about me. I had never been in a situation where anyone was talking about my rear so openly and didn't know what to do. So I stood there, facing forward with my eyes widened. And with very good posture for some reason. I felt simultaneously offended and flattered and didn't know who I should be rooting for in this argument. Did I want a little booty or not? I had such competing emotions: on one hand I wanted to turn around and slap them and on the other hand I wanted to pull my jacket up a bit so they could get a better look before they made their final determinations. Thankfully, the light turned green so I was just able to walk away. And call everyone I ever knew.

Later, when I was in law school, I went to Memphis with my roommate and we spent the weekend hanging out with some of her friends. They decided to take us salsa dancing so we piled in the car and headed to a club that they liked. We pulled up to this place and I quickly realized that this was an AUTHENTIC salsa club - not like a wannabe that you'd find in the suburbs. This was the real deal. So we got in line to head in and then I saw that the bouncer was frisking people before they went in. My eyes got wide, my heart sped up, and I could feel my dad watching me all the way from Texas. You don't have to know me for very long before you'd know that I have never frequented a club where they frisk their patrons. This was definitely a first for me!

I stood there in line and, again, I had conflicting emotions. On one hand, I was horrified at the thought of someone frisking me but on the other hand I was kind of excited about it! When it was my turn, I walked up to the bouncer, stood with my feet apart, and lifted my arms straight out to the side. I let the air out of my lungs, closed my eyes, and scrunched up my face as if to say "Go ahead. Let's get it over with." Nothing happened. So I opened one eye and looked at the bouncer who was just looking at me and smirking. When he saw me open my eye, he said "We don't frisk, women. Go on in." I must admit - I was one disappointed little Gringa.

Sometimes I wish I had a little more street cred, know what I'm sayin'?

Yeah . . . I can't pull that off either, can I??


Emma said...

Cracking up....never the heard the salsa one!! Too funny:)

Unknown said...

I had forgotten about the frisking at the salsa club! And that out of all of us, you were the only one who could communicate with anybody! Good times!

Anonymous said...

Well you forgot about when I first moved in you took me to see "the hood" in the woodlands so that I could know what areas to avoid while living there. Not to mention how freaked out you got even driving back through.

PS. had a road trip to Houston this weekend and tried my first Beaver Nugget. Absolutly Delightful!

Catherine said...

Christen, I think the worst part of that whole thing was that I was trying to legitimize the woodlands by showing that we, too, have a "hood". That was a funny night. And I'm glad you enjoyed the Beaver Nuggets - they're like Angels dancing on your tongue, are they not?? :)

Anonymous said...

So funny! I think the Beaver Nuggets are just a pancake in a ball.