Tuesday, March 7, 2017

You're Different

Your old person name is Pearl. You are full of bliss and you welcome the future with happiness. Joy runs deep through you and your warm spirit can cheer anyone up. 
~the Facebook oracle

Funny, I'd have thought my old person name would be Karen, but if it does turn out to be Pearl, it will be a nod to my great-aunt Pearl, whom I never met but heard about from my Richmond grandmother, Bessie (which is probably the most old-fashioned old person name on this or any planet).

As for my bliss, joy and warm spirit, well, I'm inclined to think that they qualify me for friends who not only appreciate those qualities, but also know who I am well enough not to underestimate me.


Tonight was all about staying on the Black Restaurant Week train, so I made plans to meet a friend at Croaker's Spot, but before he even arrived, I met a guy from Boston sitting at the bar. Truly, I was amazed to hear that the Hilton across from Philip Morris had suggested he come into the city and try Croaker's Spot.

All I can say is, go team Hilton.

Once my friend showed up, we headed to one of a very few available tables and tucked ourselves against the wall to stay out of the fray. Only one menu was free, so we shared.

It wasn't long before I overheard a server tell a table that they hadn't anticipated how busy Monday night would be (to be fair, it is the first Black Restaurant Week in Richmond) and later, when a server got busy rearranging small tables to form a table suitable for 12, we asked if a big party was in route.

"There's always a big party coming," she said smiling but rolling her eyes.

Our server had such a distinctive accent that after she left, my friend wanted my best guess on her origins. The first thing that came to mind was that she sounded like she had come from a British colony and I wasn't even sure what I'd heard that made me say that.

Naturally, when she returned, I asked. "Australia," she said, explaining that it was by way of the Philippines and Texas and her mother was Irish, so her accent was probably compromised Australian after 17 years and 4 children in this country.

She also insisted her ancestors had not been prisoners before taking our orders.

Friend opted for shrimp and grits while I'd known going in that my heart was set on seafood chili, the first dish I ever had at Croaker's, back when they were still in Jackson Ward. Luckily for me, he was gracious enough to share his brick o' sweet cornbread (we'd have called that cake in my family) with me.

Is there a power to erase this?
Is it dissolvable and tasteless?
You can't imagine how I hate this

Along with cornbread crumbs, on the table tonight were two of the key components of a long-lived friendship - an apology and an explanation - followed by more words than usual (up for debate was whether or not they'd been offered on a "soon" basis) for the simple reason that successful friendships - any relationships, really - are dependent on honesty and two-way communication.

Sure, I know not everyone needs as many words as I do, but in addition to being born a mover, I was also born a talker, so silent slugs need not apply.

When I look at the relationships I enjoy most, they're inevitably the ones with people who react to me as who I am and not as a stand-in for stereotypical expectations of gender, relationship uncertainties or preconceived notions.

Just recently, a new friend reminded me that I should stop expecting others to be as forthright (that's a polite way of saying direct) and forthcoming as I am because most people are unused to, not to mention uncomfortable, being candid. "You're authentic and most people aren't," he claimed.

Oh, you wouldn't want an angel watching over 
Surprise, surprise, they wouldn't want to watch
Another un-innocent, elegant fall
Into the un-magnificent lives of adults

Pearl's adult life, I feel certain, would be a magnificent one. Difference is a virtue.

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