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My Heart is Broken

My heart is broken.

Black children and young Black men can be murdered by cops across the country and their families will never see justice. Black cis and trans women are murdered and get backburnered. The idea that somebody is a “thug” is enough to justify that person’s untimely death.

My heart is broken.

My friends who are parents of Black children are terrified. They live in fear for that this means for them, for their children, for their families. A friend of mine spoke of feeling helpless against the concerns of his teenaged son, who is deeply frightened  by the knowledge that he can be shot any day just for being a young Black male.

My heart is broken.

Yesterday as I walked through Oakland I looked down at the black leather gloves in my hand and wondered if they looked threatening enough to get me shot on my way to drinks and dinner with a friend.

My heart is broken. 

mike brown's father

My heart is broken.

The list of names keeps growing, like the most awful mantra, like a time bomb, ticking away one name at a time.

My heart is broken

Broken.

I can’t breathe.

Unrest

In the wake of mishandling of the Ferguson Grand Jury and their travesty of a decision, people have been staging protests across the country, and predictably, there have been protests and riots here in Oakland. There appear to be two camps regarding these protests and riots: in the first, those who believe that protests and riots are an essential element of social change and in the second, those who don’t want to be inconvenienced (in the form of travel, property damage, or noise) by these actions. In particular, I’ve been seeing a lot of whining about protests causing delays and problems at BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit, for those of you not in the know). I’m not even talking about the jagged razor’s edge of a topic that is looting and property damage, here. Just BART.

And I see, repeatedly, the argument that there were plenty of “innocent” and “uninvolved” commuters who had “nothing to do” with the protest and should have been allowed to go about their days.

I just have a few things to say about this.

I.

This is a point that has been made repeatedly by people who believe in the power of civil unrest, but I feel the need to make it again: Since when do quiet, non-disruptive protests get any attention at all? Since when do they make it into the papers, into the public eye, into history? Did the Stonewall riots help to turn shit around for the queer community because the queers were polite and nonviolent? No.

It is not incumbent on the people who are fighting systemic social injustices to make their struggle for justice convenient to you.

II.

Who the fuck is innocent in a society where systemic racism, misogyny, and various phobias regularly destroy lives, families, and communities? Who the fuck is uninvolved? WHO ON THAT BART TRAIN IS NOT AFFECTED BY THIS? Whether it be positively or negatively, who?

Not one person. From the tiniest baby to the most elderly person on that BART train, every single person is affected and every single person who believes that this brief inconvenience is more important than the lives that have been carelessly cut short is complicit.

III.

When a child tugs on your clothes in order to show you her wounds, you don’t chastise her for getting blood on your shirt. Well, an entire group of people, an entire race is showing you that we have been wounded. Repeatedly. Throughout history. And we are gonna get your attention any way we can.

But, you know. Sorry about your BART delay, bro.

Hold Me Closer…

So, this happened: 

tiny panther

 

But then I thought about it. And I decided that the world needed this:

tiny panther2

Sincerely grateful for the healing, joy, laughter, and love this little guy has brought to my life. And for every single one of you who thinks I am as funny as I think I am. Happy Thanksgiving. 

Tag

I’m guessing y’all still remember Monster, the wee kitten I brought home a few months ago.

2014-10-05_1412547194This little guy has proven to be intelligent, inquisitive, loving, affectionate, cuddly, talkative, and very playful. He plays fetch like a pro, and includes the amusing theater of officially “killing” whatever object I have thrown for him before proudly returning it to my feet.

He’ll do just about anything to spend a few minutes batting the drawstrings dangling from any of my hoodies and will jump into my arms when I am least expecting it to do so.

One of my favorite things that he does, though, is stalk me as I walk through the apartment and attack my legs. He never bites. He never uses his claws. He just tags me and runs away. If I don’t ignore it and buy into the game, we end up chasing each other around the house, with my victory more or less assured by the fact that I can pick him up, flip him over, and snorgle him whenever I like.

It sorta pisses him off, but he also sorta loves it.

But I guess I got complacent about that whole opposable thumbs thing. Cocky, even. Because either through sheer luck or a creepily intelligent ability to anticipate what I was about to do, Monster positioned himself in such a way that my single available move involved falling backward on my ass and landing flat on my back.

And if you think that’s bad, the fact that he jumped on my chest to drive his victory home with purring and nose boops seriously burns.

I’ve learned my lesson, little cat. Oh yes, I have. I won’t underestimate you again.

Animal

Hey, kid.
Hop off your tricycle.
Listen.
It’s never too soon to know what you are.

You are Black.

You are.
Black.
A diversity statistic.
A token.
A shoplifting risk.

You are.
Potential trouble.
Definitely trouble.
Going to be suspended.
Not a job prospect.

You are a tangible threat.

Terminology is essential, so keep these in mind:
Y’all don’t rally, you riot.
Y’all don’t assert your rights, you resist arrest.
Y’all don’t find, you loot.
Y’all are not persons fighting for equality, you’re animals.

Animals.

Hey, kid.
Don’t worry.
We’ve got your back.
Three squares a day.
Once we manage to pack you away.

Hey, kid.
Hands up!
Just kidding.
That never works.

Hey, kid.
Nice trike.
Now tell the truth:
Where’d you get it?

Monster

Last month I lost my best furry friend, Thumper. He was pretty much everything to me, so his passing was heartbreakingly difficult. When the vet took him from my arms one last time, she begged me to consider getting another cat someday. In the moment, I couldn’t imagine loving another cat, but I acknowledged that, maybe after an extensive amount of time to grieve and heal, I wouldn’t be able to stop myself.

And then I spent a few days at home. 

And it was quiet. Too quiet.

There was no sound of paws padding across the hardwood floor. There was no cat waiting at or near the front door for me to walk in at the end of my day. There was no critter to tell me that there was insufficient food in his dish, or too much poo in his litter box. There were no cuddles, no nuzzles under my chin, no paws to hold, no motorboat purrs.

I started losing my mind almost immediately. I am a person who needs a critter to love and care for; it’s an integral part of who I am.

So, a few days later I walked into San Francisco Animal Care and Control and met some cats. I wasn’t expecting immediate results, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to visit with some animals and give them some play time and love.

I met several kittens that day. They were all adorable. I wasn’t feeling terribly well, and I was a little overwhelmed by all of the animals. Being who I am, I felt immediately guilty for not being able to give all of them homes. And I did not connect well with any of the kittens I had met. So I was ready to go home, when the volunteer who was helping me pointed out a slightly older black kitten. “What about this one?”

3

SPOILER: I TOOK THAT ONE HOME

I shrugged. Well, if nothing else, he matched my wardrobe. So I allowed her to usher us both into the get-to-know-you room and sat down on the floor as she came in with the carrier box. She opened the top. And I knew somewhere between 45 and 60 seconds that this was my cat.

Unlike the rest of the kittens she had brought in for me, he needed no help getting out of the box. He hopped right out and strutted about the room1, tail straight up, full of fucking swag. He cased the room, and then checked me out. When I reached for a toy, my foot shifted and he pounced on it. When I grabbed him, he didn’t object, and when I flipped him onto his back and rubbed his belly he merely grabbed my hand with both of his paws and purred.

When I was finally able to pick him up from the shelter (thank you, Tristan!), it was pretty clear that he knew I was his human, too. The cuddles were immediate, and he followed me from room to room. That first night, as I lay in bed, he curled up beside me, wrapped his paws around my arm, and purred, occasionally stretching to lick my nose.

It was as if he knew how badly I needed those cuddles.

So now I have this kitten. He is made of love and purrs and headbutts and a willingness to burrow under my chin and a love of hugging my hand when I pet his belly and of gently tapping me on the face to get my attention at 5am.

To paraphrase my friend Valerie, nothing will fill the Thumper-shaped hole in my heart, but having this little guy curl up in it is a huge comfort. 

Also, he does this:

4

I love my Monster. 

(For hot and cold running pics of an adorable kitten, you can follow me on Instagram.)

 

Dear Fuckwit

Dear Fuckwit,

Hi. I am the person who was riding the absolutely badass motorcycle next to your nondescript black SUV today on 280N. You were obviously going on a bit of a cleaning spree in your car, and have a queer sense of timing, as you emptied your ashtray directly into my helmet.

I really enjoyed the spray of dirt, ashes, and cigarette butts in my eyes and mouth, and especially appreciated the still lit butt that bounced off my cheek.

Exfoliation was never this exciting. Now I see why there are entire industries based around it. The adrenaline rush alone from my momentary loss of sight and worry that the lit butt was still in my helmet will keep me going for HOURS.

I imagine all sorts of reasons for your choice of time and place. Perhaps you were being attacked by angry, vicious alien raccoons and had to eject your ashtray so they couldn’t take any cigarette-based DNA samples away with them. Perhaps your mother-in-law suddenly materialized in the passenger seat and you’ve been lying to your spouse about quitting smoking. Perhaps you are a shitweasel of the lowest order who litters and doesn’t give a single fuck whom that litter might hurt.

It’s all good, assnozzle. You only nearly blinded and potentially killed somebody on the road today. No biggie, right, dicknugget? Yeah. I hope I get to meet you someday, you utter fucking twatwaffle. So I can shake your hand. With a chair. To your face.

Sincerely,

Whiskeypants.

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