At 0:25, you’ll start to recognize the melody. Around 0:55, your heart will probably drop to your stomach like mine did.
Photo is unrelated to the anecdote I’m sharing here. But the spirit is the same.
Okay, this happened years ago, but I have occasion to remember it. And by occasion, I mean I was riding the bus up Lenox Avenue near my apt in Harlem this week and the memory came gushing in.
I’m going back a few years here; 2004 to be exact.
Yep, that was the year I met Bill Clinton. Continue reading
I had to hold back my fury at my healthcare provider. Again.
You should know that this was several weeks after they explained away their refusal to pay for my mammogram as regular ole’ company policy. It’s my error, a company rep told me. I had picked the plan that includes yearly exams, but only for women over the age of 39. Hadn’t I read the fine print?
Well, no. I hadn’t. My mother is a two-time breast cancer survivor, and I’m serious about making sure my tatas are only lumpy where they’re supposed to be. That’s why I went and got an annual mammogram last year, confidently handing over my insurance card and then plunking “my girls” on the glass. Continue reading
I don’t want to think about the job interviews I didn’t get because my first name strikes some people as “too ethnic.” It’s actually Hebrew and means sky or the heavens. Still, somehow it gives off an around-the-way-girl vibe that my talent and years of work experience might not be able to shake until I meet someone face-to-face.
In case there is any doubt, my dear readers, let me be the first to tell you: I was never cool enough to be an around-the-way-girl growing up. Not even close. No bamboo earrings over here, and certainly not two pair. Plus I don’t really like lollipops.
It doesn’t matter, though. For people like me whose names have an -ia, -isha, or -quan suffix, we face very real consequences in the job market. This field study from 2003 says as much. Hopefully things have improved in the past decade, but I’m dubious. Continue reading
An article in Saturday’s New York Times broke my heart. It’s entitled “Caught in Unemployment’s Revolving Door.” Included in the wide-ranging piece is a short profile on Jenner Barrington-Ward, a 53 year-old college graduate who worked steadily from her twenties on, then lost her administrative job at M.I.T. in 2008. She has been jobless ever since and has filed for bankruptcy because she’s severely in debt and made less than $5,000 last year. Now she’s homeless.
Acknowledge that dinnertime will always be a struggle, as she is suspicious of anything except Popeye’s Chicken and will request oatmeal in its absence. Unfortunately for her, Aunt Keke does not run a restaurant and what is served is what she will damn well eat. Naturally, she will cry. Do not be swayed! Speak softly and tenderly to her, working the term “big girl” into a pep talk. Rub her back tenderly and offer to feed her a few bites while she leans lazily inside your lap. This will get you a few more bites. If you need reinforcements to get across the finish line, bring up potato chips, cookies or ice cream. They are excellent bargaining tools. Feel no shame in employing them.