I’m a bit of a social butterfly, most of the time. I can walk into a room, immediately identify the ‘cool’ people, and strike up conversations about numerous topics ranging from possible war with Iran to double stuffed oreo cookies to the wonders of breast enlargement. However, when I’m in very unfamiliar surroundings, I tend to clam up and retreat into the well-worn shell I created for myself back in high school, before I was the great and extroverted Dark Damian you know and love. Back then, I was a shy, quiet fat kid who made some funny jokes in order to gain acceptance, and in situations where my medium-sized personality met up with one that wore size 40 jeans and size 13 shoes, mine tends to pick up a TV Guide and hang out on that folding chair next to the staircase. Shocking, I know.

7YO was invited to a birthday party held for one of his soccer teammates. We had only met him 2 weeks prior, and had no conversations with his parents or him, so it was my opinion that I should stay home and watch football on HDTV. DWW disagreed. As did 7YO. Being outvoted and overtired from getting home at 5am after a stellar gig the night before, I knew when I was beaten, so I gathered up 7YO, got a gift card from Wal-Mart (y’all know that’s how I do), and rolled on over to the kid’s house. Party on.

When we got to the neighborhood, I was impressed. It was nice. Really nice. It was what I like to call “angry nice”, ’cause when you see the houses there, it makes you actually angry at the house and neighborhood YOU live in. The teammate and his family are black, so I was mildly surprised.

(Screw you. You woulda thought the exact same shit. I’m just ballsy enough to admit it.)

Nice, nice place. Beautifully manicured lawn. Swimming pool. Herb garden. “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” shit. We went in, and were greeted by a house full of screaming, running children and a handful of adults. 7YO, being who he is, immediately fell in with the group, and headed outside to the bounce house after waving at the birthday boy, leaving me alone inside with a house full of people that I didn’t know and had never met. “So what, Damian? You’re a smooth talker. This should be your element! A chance to wow people with your wit and storytelling expertise!” Not so much. You see, my particular brand of dry wit and sarcasm is often lost on my brothas and sistas, people. I wisecrack and make my random pop cultural references (much like I do on this blog here – people who know me will tell you that I talk in real life pretty much like I type here), but it falls on deaf ears when in a predominately black environment. I attribute that to a lot of things, but we’re not delving into my upbringing and my cultural experiences just yet. So there I stood, alone on an island full of people. It reminded me of being back in Italy, in a way. However, this place had one thing Italy didn’t: football. Score. I LOVE football. I can use the game as a launch point for conversation. I sat down next to an older woman watching the Giants game, thinking “I love football…I can surely engage in conversation here.” And so it began:

Lady: “I sure wish they’d show the Ravens game. I want to see Steve McNair play.”
Me: “Oh yeah, I’ve always been a big fan of his, every since he was in college at Alcorn State.”

Sounds promising, right? Wrong. She looked at me like I told her that her wig was crooked. Her smile faded a little, and she said “It’s ALL-corn State, not AL-corn state. Don’t say it like they do on TV.” And with that, she turned back to the TV.

Great. At that point I wondered if I should just go lie facedown in the pool until time for cake.

Another partygoer commented on how beautiful my son’s skintone is. It occurred to me that I could just drop the whole “he’s biracial” bomb on him, but honestly, I wasn’t even excited about flipping the dude’s lid, so I just thanked him and mumbled something about making him bathe in cocoa butter.

However, everything got better when SistaGirl arrived.

Sistagirl was glamorous, people. Not a pound below 275, and not an inch above 5’5″. She was wearing a denim miniskirt with rear pockets so far apart that one of ’em looked like it was on someone else’s pants. She wore a white V-neck blouse cut all the way down to her belly, but it was ok because her boobs were at LEAST size M. Pendulous, they were. Her hair was did, and she sported 4″ French tips on her hands that were even too much for me. And you KNOW I love me some French tips. She had the “Asian tips” on her toes – you know, the pedi with all the condiments and extras. Three different shades of polish (one of which changed colors in sunlight), crazy designs, and even a couple of attachments. SistaGirl look-ted GOOD, people, and she strolled into that party, sans kid, like a reigning queen. After greeting the hosts, she beelined toward the food table, gracefully picking up bratwurst and fajitas and chips and cookies and balancing them expertly on her paper plate. I was amazed. I knew a story was just waiting to happen with SistaGirl, so I surreptitiously kept track of her, waiting for something to happen.

I wasn’t disappointed.

The hosts set up a pinata in the front yard for the kids to hit. Nothing is more exciting to children than organized and permitted violence and destruction, and these kids (mine included) went after that pinata like it called their momma a bitch. While the kids were whacking away, SistaGirl patrolled the perimeter like a prison warden, eyeballing the kids like a hawk. Or so I thought. When one of the kids managed to open a fissure in the pinata, causing a few pieces of candy to fly out, I realized what SistaGirl was doing: she was strolling for candy! As a piece got near her, she swooped down and scooped that muhfucka up with ruthless efficiency. And then it was gone, launched into her mouth, making room in her hands for more. This happened once or twice, with me stifling laughter each time. Then, finally, the whole pinata got busted open, creating an avalanche of candy to cascade onto the well-kept lawn. The kids dove into the pile like ravenous hounds, all trying to grab as much candy as humanly possible. I looked for SistaGirl, but didn’t immediately spot her.

Until I looked down.

SistaGirl was on her HANDS AND KNEES, rooting in the grass for candy alongside the children. I am not kidding. She was on the ground on all fours, snatching Sweetarts and Mike ‘n’ Ikes and Now ‘n’ Laters and Nerds like a crazy person. Finally she stood up, straightened her skirt and blouse, flipped her hair, and turned to the hosts and proclaimed:

“Mmmm-hmm! I GOT me some candy! I know THAT’S right!”

And with that, she went into the house – to get cake.

SistaGirl made my day.

Peace.

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