Friday, November 20, 2009

low-level shit...

“To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars
is the very bottom of hardships.”
~ W.E.B. DuBois

We live in a world where 20 percent of the population uses 80 percent of its resources, where upward of 1 billion people live on $1 a day or less, where 16,000 children die daily from malnutrition and where the people of sub-Saharan Africa, the globe's poorest region, spend $25,000 every minute servicing their massive debt to the rich countries of the North. All those markers of extreme poverty have gotten dramatically worse since the 1980s; despite rapid technological and agricultural progress in the developed world, the number of people suffering from chronic, absolute (as opposed to relative) poverty and malnutrition has roughly doubled in the past 40 years. There are places I have seen in Brooklyn, L.A., Harlem, or Chicago that look as "third world" as anything I have witnessed in Bangkok, Cairo or Rio.

Out of all my 27 years living in New York City, in El Barrio and Harlem, I have prided myself on never having been robbed, mugged or stuck-up.

I have had knives pulled on me...
I have had guns flashed on me...
I've been spat at, punched in the face and somehow people have never manage to get my wallet, money, or in one case, my Jordans.

In any of the other countries I have been to I have seen people pickpocketed, robbed, beat-up and beat-down (with metal chairs) but I have managed to avoid such misfortune despite having the habit of taking random walks into different neighborhoods with the help of maps or a destination. I truly believe that New York breeds a particular type of street knowledge that is universal and allows one to analyze situations before they occur and avoid becoming a victim. It also helps that at one point during my youth I was briefly a stick-up kid in El barrio until I saw that this was a temporary solution to a larger problem and more profound needs.

What I "needed" in my youth was quite frankly money, because from an early age, literally when we first realize as kids that our parents can only obtained toys and candy with this "thing" called "money", we identify it as a means of obtaining our material desires. As young adults we begin to associate money with social mobility and status and the objects we can obtain with it as a means to define our worth. Even as a child I knew that the "power" that local neighborhood drug dealer had did not garner the same respect or the same power in any other context besides local neighborhood politics. Obviously long-lasting change in my socioeconomic status and social mobility would have to be achieved by other means.

Years later I find myself in Chicago visiting one of my dearest friends to network and politic with her in the Second City for a couple of days. A couple of spots we hit up include J-Bar, which is a lounge located in the upscale James Hotel and patronized largely by well-off minority clientele and
Funk Lounge, which is more "hood" with a vibe of a strip club (it has poles), though it is open until 4am on the weekdays.

Last night I found myself at Funk Lounge posted up against the bar, watching my homegirl's purse and coat while she networked. I was busy on facebook, text messaging, emailing and doing a hundred others things besides listening to the music and checking for women. I wasn't worried, I had my black trench on with True Religion jeans on so I knew there was no way anyone could get to my wallet unless they cut a hole thru my jacket and jeans.

While looking 4 the "Halle Berrys", the "Mo'Niques" graviate towards my ass instead...some girl just reached 3rd base w/ me against my will in Chicago...
-a random tweet of mine from 19 November 2009

Sometime around 3am his heavy set woman walks up to me to dance while am text messaging on my phone. I cut her a smile and continue to ignore her.

When she gets close, I pull away;
When she grabs my pants, I push her away;
When she grabs my dick, I elbow her.

I tell her am with my girl and go reach for my friend who is standing behind this woman though she is oblivious to what is going on. As I walk away the girl sticks her hands in my pockets and tries to grope me while my friend laughs thinking I am enjoying it, encouraging me to dance with her. In the process, the girl pulled out my money clip from my pocket, an empty money clip, minus a £20 British Pound, because in the struggle my American money slipped off of it. Do girls really go to clubs and damn near give dude's handjobs to locate and then remove money out of there pockets? Grown women? Come on, really? And then you have to leave the club before the person realizes it. So do you make a night of it? Just continuously club-hop until you get enough to keep your cellphone on and your rent paid? Like F. Scott Fitzgerald said, "You can stroke people with words" love, I woulda gotten you a drink and sent you home in a cab like a lady if you would played your cards right, maybe even a meal with the happy ending you were attempting to give me.

You can't be mad when misfortune hits. I hope she enjoys the money clip filled with a foreign currency note. I mean I did get turned on a little bit by the whole event. That being said, I hope she realizes that you can't make a career out of such low-level shit. Women possess the power to manipulate men in far greater ways than literally digging through their pockets. If I have learned anything from my business degree is that there more insidious ways of acquiring lasting wealth. Ways of gaming the system to gain influence and then using your newfound power to change the rules to your benefit (re: NYC Mayor Bloomberg). Exactly how different are these scenarios? Compare any nickel-and-dime scheme to the fraud perpetuated on Wall Street and you visualize the difference in scale that I am talking about. You can quite literally rob and deceive and have people pay you for the pleasure of being relieved on their money and belongings. If your going to hustle than be the best at it. Go all in! What that woman lacks in foresight can never be found in the pockets of men.

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