chinaka and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day

Posted on May 1, 2008

chinaka knew it was going to be a bad day when she woke up falling off of her sofa, crumbs from the night before in her toes. she still felt sick. it was hard to move.

but up she got, and into the shower. wash, wash she went, until she knocked over the special pantene pro-v for women of color. she wondered why they put it in a brown bottle anyway? “no matter” she thought.
out of the shower and on the way to get dressed she noticed the time. “my word,” she thought, “i’m going to be late for work. i’d better hustle. it seems like everyday i’m hustling. hustling, hustling. everyday.”

chinaka decided to text message her friend lauren. days were always better when lauren rode to work with her. “scop you at nine forty five” she texted. then deleted. then she texted again: “scoop you at 945?”. lauren wrote back quickly “i’m in berk. trying to take my final, but it’s locked in some woman’s desk.”

womp. womp. this day was shaping up poorly. thought chinaka. “no matter,” she thought. “soon enough I’ll be at work, and this day will be ending as soon as it began.”

no such luck. there was so much traffic on the freeway that they announced it on the radio. that’s bad traffic. the drive to work usually took chinaka fifteen minutes. today it took over an hour. and in chinaka’s car, that was very dangerous. chinaka’s car needed a new timing belt, and any idle moments let it almost break down. there were a lot of idle moments. chinaka wanted to go home. chinaka should have turned around and gone home.

but she went to work. work wasn’t so bad. lunch was good. then chinaka met with very nice people at the museum of african diaspora and guess who was there? chinaka’s friend’s parents who were always very nice to chinaka. chinaka waved! hi mrs. johnson! hi mr. johnson! this day was looking up. then chinaka noticed a huge crowd. what were all these people doing at the museum in the middle of the day? didn’t they have jobs? they were listening to a man speak. who was this man?

chinaka looked closer. it was michael eric dyson. he liked hip hop. chinaka liked hip hop. chinaka liked that michael liked hip hop. he seemed like a smart man. chinaka liked smart men.
but chinaka had to have a meeting and couldn’t keep listening to the smart man. that was bad news. goodbye mr. dyson.


after the meeting, chinaka left the museum. she checked her phone. bad news on the voicemail. she found out that she wouldn’t be seeing some of her good friends for a very long time. this made chinaka sad. very sad. chinaka needed a hug.

“but wait!,” thought chinaka, “i’m close to my mommy. she works nearby.” and chinaka went to visit her mommy. it bothered chinaka a little bit that she was almost 24 years old and still needed hugs from her mommy. but she needed a hug, so she went. she hoped her mom was not too busy at work.

guess what? mom was busy, but mom took time. it was nice. mom let chinaka talk about nothing, and shared her cranberry juice with chinaka. chinaka loved cranberry juice, but she loved mom more. yay mom.


but it was time to go back to work.

chinaka decided to take a taxi. taxi cabs were fun. chinaka went to a nearby hotel and waved for a taxi. the cabdriver pulled up and asked chinaka if she was going a long way away. chinaka wondered why cabdrivers always assumed she was going far away from the center of the city. it was almost like just by looking at her they could tell where she lived. incredible.

chinaka said, “tenth and division.”

the cabdriver said “hop in.”

as soon as chinaka got on her seatbelt, the cabdriver asked her to get out.

“why?” she asked?

“because that guy is going to pay me more,” he said.

chinaka got out. chinaka noticed who that guy was. he was very tall, white and had on a tie.

the cabdriver was white. but he was not as tall. and he didn’t have on a tie.

chinaka was not white. she was not tall. she did not have on a tie. too bad for chinaka.

the taxi dispatcher told the taxi driver that he was being unfair to chinaka.

the cabdriver was a dick.

fuck that motherfucker. ruined my children’s story like day. he was all: but that guy’s going to pay me more. actually said that. and then went on to say that he was just trying to eat. never asked where the tall white guy was going. just assumed that i wouldn’t be paying as much. and proceeded to say “sorry, but I’m sure you understand. everybody deserves to be able to eat. this is america, after all, you work at the gym down here? you look pretty tough…”

you bet your ass i look tough.


4 Replies to "chinaka and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day"

  • Elz
    May 3, 2008 (3:27 pm)
    Reply

    damn, you should have stayed and listened to mr. dyson.

    question: and this has been troubling me lately . . . if someone read this story, and said, “how do you know it was because your were black and he was white? why does it always have to be about race? did he SAY it was because you were black? did he actually SAY that?”

    i’m asking because i get that a lot. and i can’t really come up with a coherent answer because all of my efforts are focused on not crying.

  • adriel
    May 4, 2008 (8:32 am)
    Reply

    to elz:

    you should say, “that’s what he said you’d say.”

  • ixley
    May 6, 2008 (2:51 pm)
    Reply

    and this is why I ALWAYS wear ties when stealing cabs from black folk. There’s really no better way.

  • blackscientist
    February 6, 2009 (10:24 pm)
    Reply

    this is why i wear a tie too sometimes. performing, oh what fun.
    i’m obviously late, but i’m fine with that. dope.


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