Archive for September, 2011

The “fat” question

After learning I’ve moved to Seattle and sensing all was not well in paradise, an ex-colleague of mine joined facebook and requested for a latest picture of me and my husband’s. “Chris looks good”, her comment read, “yekesa yimselal”. Half annoyed at being reminded that our values are evolving/devolving into values that used to not be ours and half interested (how is it that we seem to excel in catching up to the world on all things superficial; the airlines.. fiber optic broadbands.. the dishing of “peace keeping” squads for troubled neighbours when we can ill-afford to feed ourselves; how .. like all societies full of people with a low-self esteem.. we’ve always been over-eager to show the rest of the world that when it comes to the question of ‘who minus who’, ‘yabarere endemaiyzen’. Is there a wonder our only and consistent achievement seems to be in the field of “rucha”?!), I asked “Is that how ‘abatochachin’ talked about their dinbertegna/balaNtas nowadays? ‘Ahunima… min… Qetno amrobet..?!”

This colleague is a hard-core fan of the “healthy living” mantra; she tries to “eat healthy”, cutting a once a week 1.25 cents bag of potatoe chips from her meal, despite her weekly trips to “atkilt tera” which provides her with a more or less balanced diet of organic foods; despite her dodging animal and diary products twice a week (and “metsom metseleying”, “Qomo masQedesing” on those long seasons of fisleta and asra sidist), despite not owning a car and walking when she can’t get a bus; despite a family of 5 to feed and no serategna to help out and last, but not least, despite her inability to afford to buy meat as much as her kids and husband wants her to anyway [Chris was pleasantly surprised to observe, while he was living in Ethiopia, that this is the funny thing about the poor in America and the poor in abesha-land: we can’t afford to eat unhealthy, and they can’t afford to eat healthy]. Still, in her pursuit to look whatever it is she thinks being skinny would make her look like, the one thing she will probably not stop to think is: Why does she hate being fat so much? More importantly, why does she fear it? [For we hate what we fear, and we fear what we feel in our guts is what we are on the outside, right?].

The fact that we fear it, like some epidemic, some birth deformity, some ‘bemilas yimiders’ curse, there is no question. Cigarettes come with warning labels, anti-smoking campaigns and fines. They come – with cancer! Yet none of it would make you wanna reach for your Marlboro/Rothmans less. However, watch the movie “Feed” and see if you’d wanna go near food for a month to come. None of us are immune to it, either. Unlike race and stupidity, it’s something that can happen to any one of us.

Yet when it’s considered not a nice form for .. say.. whites to make fun of blacks [it IS, Uncle Sam would assure you; a defect/an absence, despite it being a presence and nothing to do with actual presence of color], or tall people at small people, or the ‘aynama’ @ the blind,  the sharp-witted at the dull-brained [unless for purely comical purposes); despite all these forms of acceptable social behavior, when it comes to fat people, the one struggle that makes most of us brothers and sisters [more sisters than brothers, perhaps! Metabolism – as everything else in this world- is kinder to men], we are merciless! The fat kid is the bully of the playground on Hollywood movies. A wallstreet banker is a “big fat” liar. It is the fat and the obese, “Sostu tebdel sewoch”, that keep the “proletariat” in bondage [and the proletariat, the skinny mass, who is brave and selfless and who lives within its limits, has nothing to lose but its chains!!]. I’ve even heard a radio “tiri” to Los Angelons when I was there last that started with ‘are you wearing last years shorts? Please don’t make our beautiful city ugly by showing your fat”. An actual radio “lifefa”, I shit you not!

So why do we frown at this common disease, this mighty public enemy, this deformity in the form of a “disability” – of not being able to burn more than you eat? (more…)

September 28, 2011 at 12:19 am Leave a comment

Escondido Days

My new favorite writer, David Sedaris, has a whole audio book dedicated to bits and pieces from his journal/diary that he reads from at book signings and carnigie meeting halls. Thought I should share some of mine from my previous life as a happily married woman in the city of Escondido, CA. Please be forewarned that the pieces need editing. I also have a feeling i could probably come up with better, funnier, longer posts out of them if given more time than the free-90 minutes-internet usage allowed by Seattle Public Library.

Still.. so.. here goes.

Is barking a dog’s way of asking to get to know you?!
There is a dog that lives in one of the houses i gotta walk by when going to Barnes & noble in my “bozene” days. I’ve started referring to him, when i can be bothered to remember he exists, as “Bartolomew Being”, which is the name of a terrier that belonged to Stephanie Being, who also “biteth like a serpent”, in the book “The Code of the Woosters”. So everytime i passed by, this other Being runs upto the “biret attir” that separates us and demands for blood or surrender in no uncertain barks. This morning, being sunday & cloudy, i decided to walk to work. When I approached the atir, I saw my four legged friend run upto the “birret atir” he always runs to when a stranger approacheth. At seeing me, however, instead of being the quarellsome self he used to exhibit four months ago, he seems to change his mind. He stared at me “zeleg lale gize”, in that most almost-human look dogs have, and retired to civil life.

Men vs. Cigarettes: Who is your buddy?
If you have taken the time to ponder over it, the confidence with which a packet of tobacco holds its self is mind boggling. It’s the most understanding, accepting, open-minded lover you can come up with. Unlike that boyfriend whose brain is full of a philosophy he has no intention of walking-the-walk wtih and a tongue that neither dies nor goes to sleep [like some goddamn hell-dwelling worm], Tobacco tells you it’s bad for you. Contains “carbon monoxide”, it says, which is both addictive and harmful to your health, drawing you nearer to the grave each time you breathed it in, and breathed it out. Unlike a man who leads you on while “exploring” his “options” before settling with the first air-headed bimbo that comes his way, cigarettes makes sure you were well informed before “getting into it”. It’s bad for you if you are pregnant, a child, somebody who likes to reduce risks to their health. It’s bad for you, in short, if you are alive and like to continue being. Adhere to it’s warnings and you don’t have to pay hundreds in self-help books or at couches of shrinks who ask “how that makes you feel” as if that was a question that can only be meaningfully asked by “professionals”. You can get a gum for less than 5 bucks, or a nicotine-patch that would work its way into ur blood stream and — i guess – make you wanna smoke less. Unfortunately, there is no such remedy for men who eat at the marrow of your youth, and then leave you with a hole in the heart and an inability to see the world, others and urself again the same way.

One silver lining when it comes to men, boyfriends come and go but cigarettes are forever. Well.. till death do you part, anyway.

Health Care: The devil MAYBE in the details
Long after the debate concluded, and the debators went to their respective cozy and insured villas, I have been in a “health-care” state of mind. Cause: I had my first [american] accident last week. Effect: A realization that it isn’t what it appears to be.

It was Tuesday afternoon, outside the break room where the Microwave was stationed, at work. Instead of minding my own business with the “siletam” soup can’s top which has three warnings ( to: 1. Lift tab to rim. 2. Pull up & back slowly. CAUTION: Edges will be sharp); I was found watching an elderly collague [the type who has gotta feed or bully somebody around] throw a fit about [lunch] schedules one of the managers asked her to make sure were adhered to, but not as if her very life depended on it.


September 26, 2011 at 8:46 pm 2 comments

For my single ladies

Y’all would bear witness to this, looking pretty is a tricky business. You get up one morning, I mean to say, with the lids puffed up, the cheeks threatening to take over the whole face, the hair refusing to budge; you walk out, in something you found at the bottom of your drawer (if you have one) that you aren’t sure is even clean; may not have even taken a shower — just wiped your under arms with soapy towel, or sniffed and felt you could avoid detection. The sun starts assaulting your eyes; your face feels more oily by the minute, your whole demeanor is pissed off, and defiant = a picture of misery. And you notice…. that men … w.e.r.e… looking at you! Yeah, the kind of men who aren’t in their late senior years, in wheel-chairs or asking if you could spare a change for the bus. They are looking at you [in a very meaningful way, like you were a new ice-cream flavor they have been looking forward to sample, the japanese ‘eel’ at the door of a Geisha’s ‘cave’ poised to enter and explore] while trying to cross the street (putting themselves in danger). And it’s not just one man. It’s more than one man. It’s the bus-driver who gives his “Well hello?” a tilt that makes you wanna ask him to be a good boy and watch the road now, it’s the cute wild haired nerd sprawled, along with his laptop, infront of your seat, it’s the short “professor” with the big nose and face full of hair who is waiting for his coffee before you, with his body titled to one side, gravity, hisside-pack and the need to respond incase you said something.. or something funny came up.. pulling him to the side. They are all looking at you, looking at you like you are a dog (a bitch really) in heat. And like they are vultures (dogs really) with the same heart beating in them, the same pulsating nerve, the same desire and the same intention. Like they are members of some blood-sniffing cult, glassy eyed and almost robotic; intent on attack and conquer. As if something on you is activating some — signal, sending some kind of sun beams into the world, outer world… that rare planet men belong to, goofy and stepping on one another’s feet, the planet where nothing really makes sense. Like you are grass and they are the earth. Like you are water and they are perched. Like you are a hot.dishy.diva they can’t wait to see in her birthday suit.

And then there is that other day. That day that’s more often than not. That day which is everyday for most of my single ladies. That day in which nothing you do, nothing you wear, no type of hair-style or hair color seems to work in your favor. That day in which you are a rose, in full bloom, all out and about, ready to be seen and appreciated [take me, you heart is entreating, feel me, love me], and everybody seems to skip their heels and head for the horizon, wary of the thorns.. or the dead cells underneath. That day in which all your life feels futile. In which you know you’d die alone. That this was it, innit, this is what 42/45/47/60 feels like. The day in which everybody looks desirable and taken. That all things come in pair, especially the good ones. They are married, or gay; or both. That morning in which no one, save for the odd-ball balding white guy seems to notice you and him like he is resenting you, like he didn’t have a choice in the matter, like he wants to protest that he could have done better if given half the chance.

It’s tricky; in that what you felt would work, never seems to work. And what you felt would make you stand out like a sore thumb, for some reason, turns into the beaconing light he-men-beings can’t help but follow.

And then there are those days in which you don’t really care. These days may or may not be proceeded by a morning of dragging your weight onto the scale and being pleasantly surprised by the Lbs that are no longer on your curves. Or when your hair seems to suddenly give up the protest and just does what you want it to do. And/or when you take a long look at your reflection in the mirror and see that woman you know yourself to be. That woman, for better or worse, that you recognize as the you that u know is in there, too shy of critisism/betrayal/failure/whathaveu to come out and play. And when you realize that she isn’t half as bad as you, in your darkest moments, thought she was. That she wasn’t half as bad as he made you feel she has become. That she wasn’t half as bad as you saw her using other people’s mirrors (faces/body sizes/values). That day, nothing you wear makes a difference. Nothing you did or didn’t put on, calories included. You walk out, with your head held high, looking the world in the face and’s.ass. You feel the sun, and it’s warmth. You see the buildings, and their architectural wonder. You look at people, couple, loving their love/their smile/their genuine desire to be/appear/do good. You wish you could bottle down this feeling and take it out, for a sniff, when the skies get pregnant with anger and hopelessness. It’s the sanest place you can be emotionally. It’s really the truth. [A truth that isn’t relative or tinted by subjectivity/politics/religion/race] That when it comes down to it, nothing and no one can beat that, the fact that you were looking and approving.

If only it lasts!

September 1, 2011 at 7:33 pm 4 comments


The blogger tries to think outside the box, or wonder why she sometimes can't.

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"I will speak for you, Father. I speak for all mediocrities in the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint." - Antonio Salieri, from the movie "Amadeus"

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September 2011

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