WE ARE: 5 women navigating our twenties in search of peace, happiness and love (or not). WE WRITE: about everything and nothing. From the insane to the mundane- you will find different paths taken, lessons learned and lives lived. WE THINK: you’ll enjoy it...Warning: Consumption of these views may leave you enlightened while intoxicated.


The View From Here will conclude on Friday, October 1, our third year anniversary. We would like to spend this month thanking all of our readers, followers, haters, visitors, family, friends, and fans for your continued support, encouragement, and comments over these past few years. Thanks y'all!
-The Five Spot

Friday, December 14, 2007

I Choose You...To Be My Baby Mama

It's too many black women that can say they mothers
But can’t say that they wives

-Retrospect For Life, Common (pre-Kanye beats, pre-Erykah Badussy that had him in a trance, pre-crochet sweater vests…)

So I got a call a few weeks ago from an ex-boyfriend asking me to have his child. Yeah, you read that right. He wants me to have a baby with him. And please note that I said ex-boyfriend. His convincing reasons were as follows: we have a history together, we had a “good” relationship and he thinks I will be a great mother. I can’t argue with him on the last part. Oh vanity, thy name is Rum Punch. So he tells me that we should have a child, to which I thought:

Has it come to this? Did I miss a memo? Is this what’s hot in the streets? Let’s just go on ahead and make a baby? Ignore the fact that I have always envisioned myself as a wife first?Apparently it’s not just me, because a friend of mine told me that her boyfriend suggested that they forgo marriage vows and just have a baby. Her reply: “if you can commit to being a parent, then you can commit to being a husband.” Truer words, truer words…

What her boyfriend and my ex have in common is that they are knocking on 30's door (actually the ex turned 30 yesterday) and they are feeling old. But if memory serves me correctly, 30 is the new 20, so my ex has plenty of time to have kids. But maybe not in his mind, especially when he is surrounded by friends who have kids but not necessarily wives. Oh it’s hard out here for a Black man with no kids. He must feel like an outcast in his circle.

I told friends that the ex must be going through a mid life crisis. Their chorus of replies is that he’s only 30, so it can’t be…but when you take into account that the average Black man’s life expectancy is age 69, hmmm…he might be worrying about how many years he has left, about being the old dad on the playground, about leaving a legacy…And he might want to supplement his life with a child because that seems to be a lot easier and than having a wife and raising a family together.

So to see where is head is, I asked the ex, if he knows how much children cost. His response was, “no.” Well check this, and then holla at me when you’re contributing to a 401k plan and you have some money to put into a 529. Yeah, he told me that I was worrying about the wrong things. It seems like his approach (and other men out there) is: make baby, let chips fall where they may.

He seems cool with the making a baby part but detached from the raising and providing for a child part. He just wants a little mini-he, a child he can take around and show off, see when it’s convenient for him, instill lessons and values in him not necessarily on a daily basis through example but when he picks him up from baby mama’s house…he can have someone who looks like him and will carry on his name. Meanwhile I would be left with the heavy lifting of child rearing and its daily grind.

But y’all I have to admit, I almost fell into the ‘let’s just make a baby’ vortex. I read all these depressing statistics about the rise of unmarried Black women, I know my clock is starting to tick, I see cute babies being christened at my church and I get that twinge. But then I think: anyone can make a baby, that’s easy. What’s that you say, Rum Punch? I say making a baby is easy. Raising a child is hard but actually making a baby, oh that’s easy. I mean when you compare it to: meeting someone, getting to know that someone, trusting that person enough that you allow yourself to fall in love, standing before God & loved ones to commit your life with someone and then actually making a life with that person for better or for worse, through sickness and in health, well, you know the rest.

And here’s what’s not in the vows: mortgage payments, sick children, college tuition, the difficulty of aging, being faithful, making the decision to come home everyday and being accountable to someone else. That is hard. And it’s scary. But that's what I want. But unfortunately, as a generation that has had so much handed to us, a lot of us don’t want to work that hard. So now I am left with the request that I become someone’s baby mama because he trusts me enough to have his child but not enough to be his wife. And this is not ok. Well, not for me. Silly me for wanting to build a life with someone.

Mint Julep and I were lamenting that we wished someone had hipped us to the game. I wish a Black fairy godmother had appeared à la Miss One from The Wiz mixed with a little bippity boppty boo and said to me, “honey chile, you may wanna get out that 1950s time warp you living in and open your eyes. That fairytale life you wanted might not happen.” But as women, we keep holding on and pushing the dream. And I'm not ready to let go yet! My little cousin at four years old, said, “I’m a princess, and I’m going to marry a prince someday.” Yeah it was cute at the time and since I didn’t wanna bust her bubble at the tender age of four, all I could say was, “I heard that girl. When you find him, find out if he has an uncle for me. A Duke perhaps…”

That’s my time y’all! Happy Rum Punch Friday!

Author’s Note: On a lighter and somewhat related note (I did mention Miss One in the last paragraph), The Wiz is coming out on DVD! Who would y’all cast in a modern day version of the movie? My list is below! All-star cast!

Dorothy- Keke Palmer (from Akeelah and the Bee…someone told me she can sing…) or Raven Symone
Scarecrow- Chris Brown
Tin Man – Raheem Devaughn (Chocolate City Baby!)
Cowardly Lion – Reuben Studdard
Miss One – Jennifer Hudson
Evilene – Queen Latifah or Jill Scott
The Wiz – Jamie Foxx or Wayne Brady (he has that slick factor)
Glinda the Good Witch – The one and only Ms. Patti Labelle

Thursday, December 13, 2007

An Open Letter to Calvin Broadus

Dear Calvin,

I feel the need to call you by your gov’ment name cuz you seem to have lost yo gotdamn mind. Yesterday morning I was at the gym, on the treadmill, getting my run on and I like to bust my ass when your new video came on.

Damn. Damn. Damn. Calvin!

What were you thinking? I mean. Really. What were you thinking? What coulda possessed you to make such a horrid video? Now I had heard sensual seduction on the radio and although I wasn’t feelin it enough to upload it onto the ipod, I certainly didn’t hate it in the visceral way that I do now. This video just kilt it for me man. Kilt it.

Again I ask, what were you thinking? bout the only good thing bout it was that you can cut a rug like nobody's business, lookin like somebody daddy in the ol' people club doin the real two step But here's what I think you were up to...

You tryin to do it like my boy, Three Stacks…you know, Andre Benjamin aka Cupid Valentino aka Possum Aloysius Jenkins just in case you aint followin me.

But Calvin, Andre 3000 you are NOT!

Granted, back in 2003, some new initiants to the cult of Outkast were a lil put off by Hey Ya when it first came out. But I been setting sail with a nigga from ATL, southwest that is, it's that southern ces in yo chest that is for a while now. So I knew Dre was somethin’ special. And I knew he could not only pull off saingin and rappin but that he could do that shit so beautifully that folks would be talkin’ bout and tryin to imitate his swag for years to come.

So I guess I gotta take your horribly bad with his oh-so-wonderfully good. I mean, perhaps you thought all you’d have to do was throw in some sweet coochie references and that shit would be all good, we'd gobble it up like popeye's chicken and biscuits.

I thinks not.

He didn’t just throw on some clothes from the 60’s, press his hair out and make the shot look vintage. He had a story to tell, multiple characters, girls who weren’t half dressed, instrumentation, sex appeal, even cute lil kids dancin and most of all ACTUAL SAINGING TALENT! You have none of these.

So stop while you’re behind, way behind and go back to rapping. I love and appreciate you so much better when your verse starts with 1. 2. 3. and to da 4, snoop doggy dog and dr. dre is at da doo. I’d hate to have to X you off my list due to your current creative disaster.

I’ve included a visual aid below for your review. Watch a real genius at work.

humbly submitted,

mint julep

p.s. don’t ever let me catch you in a close up shot with that plastic pipe thingy hangin out the side of yo mouth ever again. it is not sexy. be like t-pain and get a skull head microphone or somethin. we don't want a visual of how you get your voice to sound like roger troutman.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Stuck in a rut, vol.1

So is having something better than nothing?

So, on Monday I was listening to Love, Lust, and Lies - Michael Baisden's afternoon show on urban radio and a discussion surfaced on Hurricane Katrina. Supposedly, the city will knock down some housing projects that are an incubator for crime, as far an ad-hoc or permanent housing plan for the displaced individuals that is unknown -- check out the Times-Picayune for more details. Now some folks feel like they shouldn't knock 'em down (let the status quo prevail) and some folks feel like the ghettoization of urban communities must die now (change is comin') and Katrina was the impetus needed for change. Bellini would be doing you a disservice if I didn't inform you that many NO resident's fear of a demolition stems from the city council's failure to secure housing for the displaced. Apparently, the New Orleans housing authority mismanaged funds which coerced the FEDs to take the agency over. The Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) wants mixed-income housing to replace four public housing communities. But for the residents of public housing the pitch about "mixed-income housing" is a code-word for forever displaced. Once you factor the emotional distress residents already endured with Katrina and now this. . . you can't help but understand their frustration. The aftermath of Katrina is played out in urban communities across the states, so I feel like you guys can relate no matter where you are. . .

So do we knock down a breeding ground for crime, violence, rape, etc. or do we acknowledge that a dilapidated building is home to many and we should allow the stucture to keep on keepin' on. . .???? ponder on that for a few minutes -- cu'z when I got to thinking I realized Bellini was stuck in a rut -- but not for long . . .

This is when my political background comes to good use. . . if city council had the gumption to propose a linkage policy (what is that you might ask-- a policy complemented with a guarantee clause that protects citizens against the perils of doing business on their behalf [i.e. a developer wants to build condominiums and demolish public housing, but claims they will build housing for the poor -- well city council fine the mess out of the developer per day that displaced are left without housing and use those monies to secure housing for the displaced]) but like I said it takes gumption. So, in the meantime what are we to do as we stay stuck in a rut?



Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Shut Up and Drive

Live long enough and you surely will see and hear almost anything. Just look around ya'll. Could you have imagined a music player, a computer and a phone as one device? Who could have possibly foreseen that crossbreeding an apple and a grape would birth the decadent grapple? There are so many mergers and synergies it should no longer shock and surprise when unions are formed between things that weren't naturally meant to go together...

...But nothing prepared me for the Karaoke cabbie I hired on Friday night. I was just trying to get home ya'll! But as he missed my exit he must have realized that now he had a captive audience...

"Do you Karaoke?" But before I could say "Whaaaat?" and tilt my head to the side in confusion-

This dude had his portable Karaoke monitor mounted beneath the ever increasing meter. Mic in hand. Music playing. And he was siiiiiiiiiiing
"Lady In Red". And damnit if I didn't have a red dress on-but he chose the song, he explained, because he "love, love song" so it was a pure coincidence. Too bad he SUCKED! And no, I'm sorry, but cabbies should be watching the road- especially when its raining-or maybe asking me how my night went. Not sharing a passion for empty orchestras with strangers. Where was his shame? Where was his embarrassment?

I mean really, what the world needs now is shame and embarrassment! The "Do You" and "Keeping It Real" umbrellas can only cover so much. Haven't you noticed this epidemic spreading? Folks just popping off and being loud-I guess to prove their point-even though they are clearly wrong. Or how about that dude who just wants, not only 2 front teeth for Christmas because he only has one tooth, but also your phone number. Oh and hello to the club chick whose titty just popped out her shirt, she notices and lets it just hang until the end of the song. I mean at least Janet mocked embarrassment. Am I the only one seeing these people?

I don't want folks to walk around with their heads down. Embarrassed every time they fart or shamed at their mistakes. I don't want people to have low self-esteem. I'm just saying-I need them to accept that I may not be ready for all their realness.

Oh and how could I forget the young ones? Haven't they taken it to the NEXT more ig'nant LEVEL? I'm not even gonna to speak on them dressing themselves-I understand and can appreciate creativity. But do you have to be loud. Cussing each other. Calling everyone niggas and bitches? Especially in public? On the train? In front of *gasps* white folk? I know by proxy I'm feeling a little shame and I'm greatly embarrassed. But why aren't they?

No. No. No. This won't do! It's Shaming Time! And I'm doling it out to the needy!

To the lady who got loud and belligerent with me in front of her son: Maybe if you had read the policy that you signed, you would have known that I couldn't help you. Instead you embarrassed yourself and don't be surprised when 'lil Rufus cusses you out for not getting his way.

To the man with one tooth: You thought I was cute. Thanks. I appreciate your confidence. But I need a full set of chompers to entertain any suitor. Nothing personal, just a preference. There might be a girl lacking a few incisors who would welcome you openly.

To the chick at the club: Damn! I know that was your song girl! But you could have pulled up, tucked in, and walked it out to the bathroom real quick. Just this once!

And finally To my Karaoke Cabbie: Wherever you are in the DC metro area today. I'm sure you're singing badly and missing exits. I'm sorry I wasn't ready for all your realness the other night. If we meet again I've got a song picked out to sing. It's by Rihanna. Have you heard of it? It's called
"Shut Up and Drive"!

See You In Seven

Monday, December 10, 2007

Ready to Rumble

It's just one of those days
That a girl goes through
When I'm angry inside
Don't wanna take it out on you.
It's just one of them things
Don't take it personal.
I just wanna be all alone
And I you think I treat you wrong.

- Just One of Those Days, Monica

It is definitely one of those days. This storm is quietly brewing. The kind of storm that takes no prisoners when it finally erupts. I'm sure you've had a day like this... we all do. Days when nothing you do goes right. And nothing you say sounds right. And folks keep trying to test ya like there's a sign on your forehead that reads "push button here". Well I am ready to steal somebody dead in their chin. 'Bout to hit 'em with that check hook. Punish 'em. You catch my drift... Do I sound a lil' violent right now? Yes. Crazy? Wouldn't be the first time. Do I care? Hell no. Like Monica said, don't take it personal.

My weekend was enjoyable and fulfilling. Last night, I went to sleep with a smile on my face and merry thoughts on my mind. This morning, I awoke to the sound of someone banging on my front door. Now I live in a security building, so whenever I get a knock on the door and I haven't buzzed anyone in, I'm already annoyed. I assume its probably a neighbor and immediately wonder what the hell do they want. Indeed it was my neighbor. The Spanish* man from the 2nd floor who is always whining about sh*t but refuses to submit his complaints to the proper party. You know, like someone who may actually be equipped to solve your problem instead of your poor, helpless neighbor dark & stormy.

Add annoyed as hell to that list because Jose (yes that's his real name) had the nerve to be knocking at 7:19 AM. My alarm was set for 7:30 but I had already decided I was going to stay in the bed 'til 8 'cause I went to bed kinda late. When I saw his damn face through the peep hole, I became feverish with anger. Do you know this negro (marrón is more appropriate- haha) asked me if I noticed the hallway light that had went out?! And then asked me why no one has come to fix it! BTW- there are six lights in the hallway! I'm like this cannot be real. I must be dreaming. Umm... yeah so we have emergency & non-emergency contact numbers for maintenance. I do not have a door sign that says D&S Management Company. So long story short, I had to tell Jose get the hell away from my door before with that early morning bullsh*t! I tried to be nice about it. And by being nice I mean me smiling before I closed the damn door in his face. I hope he caught a whiff of my fresh-out-the bed-and-hotter-than-tar breath...

[Thick fog rolls slowly]

Fast forward to my commute to work. I catch public transportation to work everyday. Not the train, the bus. Think of it like brunch at B. Smith's vs. brunch at IHOP. I board the bus at the beginning of the bus route, so I am guaranteed to get a seat. By the fourth or fifth stop, the bus is jam packed. The ride is about 25 mins. during regular rush hour and about 35-40 during hell rush hour. With our traffic, it's more likely the latter than the former. So you can guess which one I was stuck in today.

[Dark, stratus clouds move in from the northwest]

I don't like sitting in the inside seat because I'm a tad claustrophobic and I don't like being close to the nasty window. There's usually a combination of greasy hair residue and hot breath stains (yes I do think it exists). Not saying every window looks like this, but one is more than enough for me. But I digress. So I have my usual seat close to the aisle. As the bus fills up, people have to stand in the aisles and hold on to the handle bars over head or handles on the back of the seat.
There's this dude standing right next to me. His cologne was so strong, I could taste it. Blaaahhh! He was really too short to hold on to the overhead bars but not in his mind of course. I heard him cough a couple of times but tried to ignore. Every time he coughed, he buried his head into his coat to muffle it. Every time the bus driver hit the gas, he would jerk forward (because his damn arm was too short to be holding on above) and his bag would tap my knee. After cough number three and knee tap number four, I thought I heard a baby sneeze. I coulda been wrong but I doubt it.

[Single thunder clap]

I looked up and said "Ay man, you got to go. Don't care where you stand but it won't be over top of my head." Dude looked straight at me and ignored me.

[The wind starts kickin - 5 mph]

I increased the volume and repeated my sentence. He says to me "it's crowded, nowhere to go." I paused and looked ahead as I took a deep breath and ignored the devil on my shoulder telling me to snap youngin's neck. And then he coughed again.

[Multiple thunder claps. Birds roll out in their V formation with the quickness]

I swear I had an outer-body moment. The next couple of minutes include me speaking very un-ladylike words as I shove dude's bag away from my knee and an elderly Asian woman sitting across the aisle looking at me in horror. The bus driver asks me to calm down. I tell him "let dude come stand next to you with his germy ass and then show me how calm YOU are."

[Wind gusts climb to 18 mph]

The bus driver puts on the emergency break and gets out of his seat. I already had the boxing gloves on... waiting for him to say something! Bus driver told germbucket to get off the bus. Well I'll be damned! And told me to please behave for the duration of the ride (how dare he). Shoot, I was cool then.

[Thunder stops. Winds die down to gentle whisps of air]

'Til I realized I was late for work. Again. And couldn't find my cell phone. Got to the office and my supervisor was talking smack.

All that and it wasn't even 10:00 yet. Yeah, this is not going to be a pretty one.

Ding ding ding.... Let's get ready to rumblllllllllllllllllle!!!!!!

You ain't know? I been ready. And still gotta ride home. Holla at your girl if I can put you on standby for bail money.

Tumultuously Yours,

Dark & Stormy

* He is from Spain, the country. FYI- every Spanish speaking person is not Spanish. Sorry, had to drop that PSA right quick.