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, May 23, 2008

Money for Bus Fare

A long, long time ago, in a land far, far away, while I was in undergrad, my girlfriend and I went to hear Sister Souljah speak at Clark Atlanta aka CAU’s campus. Now, let me stop here. I am not nor was I at the time a die hard Souljah fan. But I was aware of her activist work and commitment to the community. And I was intrigued by her. So we went to hear her speak.

She was awesome. She basically called us ladies out on a lot of bullshit. Our inability to get along and let men get all up in the middle of us, have us fighting each other and whatnot. It was good. Especially if you are aware of the drama that happens between Clark and Spelman women. But I digress. At the end of her speech she told the following story (and please understand that I’m truly paraphrasing because it’s been awhile). So basically the story goes like this: her husband’s friend shows up to the house for a visit. Friend and husband go into the basement to talk, etc. While they’re downstairs Souljah starts cooking (you know being a good hostess). So after a couple of hours they come upstairs and Souljah says, “Friend, I cooked a little something. Would you like to stay for dinner?” And friend says, “Oh I can’t stay. My girl is waiting in the car.”

Can't you just hear the collective gasp from the audience? You know it was nothing but Black women up in there clucking their tongues and working their necks talking bout, “Oh no that chick didn’t stay in the car all that time while her supposed to be man was inside. Why didn’t she get out of the car?”

And then Souljah hit us with this: Some of you ladies are waiting in that car, not necessarily physically, but spiritually and emotionally. Some of y’all are waiting for that man who you know is “no good” to change. Some of y’all are mistresses waiting for the man to leave his wife. Some of y'all are sharing a man and you don't want to give up that good 'd' and be by yourself. Some of y’all are hanging on to a man, to a relationship, to an idea, to a hope, to a dream, to some bullshit. Get out of the car!

Now who knows how much of this story is true and how much of it was embellished to make a point. But the point was made. It hit home for me and still rings true today. Now I can’t lie and act like I have always known when to get out of the car. Sometimes it has taken me awhile to get my Oprah style this is some bullshit 'aha' moment. But when I get it, I get it. And it's coming sooner and sooner as I get older. And then the most important part of it all is that I see it as a lesson learned and try to grow from it while pushing myself not to make the same mistake. So now I make sure to always carry around some emergency money and my walking shoes. Cause I refuse to sit and wait on some bullshit.

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

Thursday, May 22, 2008

to protect and serve...who?

I hate the police with a passion. I know hate is a strong word but they really just annoy the hell outta me, how bout that. I’ve yet to run across a cool police officer who I would want to be friends with, ask directions of, and God forbid I needed one to actually help me out of danger. I’d be SOL for real. I don’t know what it is about a uniform and a badge that makes the mf’er behind them act soooo cocky, smug, and all-around arrogant.

On the new job, I come in contact with sheriff’s deputies, court officers and police folk on the regular. And after only 3.5 days at it, I can say with confidence that my disdain for all manner of officers has grown by leaps and bounds in this short time. This morning I so wanted to punch one in the face for making me ruin my most beautifulist, favorite suit of all time.

What had happened was this…

Each morning and afternoon, I attend bond hearings at the jail. My colleagues and I interview people who have been locked up in the last few hours to see if they qualify for our services and also to help get their bonds set as low as possible so their families can bail them out. Usually when we arrive at “the detention room”, the officers have not yet brought out the clients so we wait around and shoot the breeze until they come in. The officers will try to make conversation as if they’re human and we’ll try to be socialable while avoiding eye-contact.

Now at yesterday’s afternoon hearings, we arrived to find that the detention room was going to be the set of some movie in the near future. The Dirty South: America’s Most Disgusting Prisons. Ok, yeah I made that up but it works if you saw this place. Anyway, in preparation for filming, a crew was painting the ceiling of the detention room yesterday. So this morning when we arrived, the ceiling looked to be completed.

Once the clients were brought in, we go about our business, interviewing them trying to get everything done before the judge comes on. I’d finished with my two interviews and headed to the front to help organize the client folders and take care of last minute paperwork. As I leaned away from this little stage platform thingy, I realized realize that gray paint had now attached itself to my beloved seersucker suit. THE uniform of the southern lawyer.

Awww hell naw!

And as I turned around, the officers in the back laughed (literally laughed out loud) at my predicament. Apparently they were waiting for us unsuspecting fools to fcuk up our clothes against the wet paint. All told, they got a good laugh out of 4 people from my office before I put up a bootleg wet paint sign. And of course as we’re leaving out at the end of the hearings, one of the officers says, how bout that paint eh? I got it all over me yesterday. Snicker snicker.

Bastard. Would putting up a sign have been to much to ask of your ice-cold soul?

I hate cops!

p.s. any tips on getting latex paint outta cotton?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

It's bigger than you and I

Over the weekend, my cousin matriculated and received her MBA. It was truly a family affair. The Bellini clan was very proud, we partied, popped champagne, and spread the love with friends. My Dad roasted my cousin, reminder her and attendees that this moment is bigger than all of us. And that we must take things for granted and strive to improve conditions for ourselves and look out for others. Have you ever seen the movie Annapolis (starring Tyrese) and the scene in the beginning where the character Marcus Nance is thumbing through the slides on his lap top – looking at home. The pride the town –not just the family- felt that he was accepted in a prestigious institution. That’s how it is for the Bellini clan. So, the spiel I hear all the time -- has resonated with me a long time ago – since I was little girl. Now what has dawned on me the older I’ve gotten is that my existence is an anomaly. What’cha ya saying Bellini?

It was not until I reached college, that I realized how far we have to come. Remember back when I shared that my bread ‘n’ butter major is political science – well of the classes I took to satisfy my major’s requirements—oftentimes than not I was the only person of color in a sea of white folks. Now, if you know me that is not problematic – that’s been the story of my life. But, what I didn’t realize is that for many of us – we are used to being amongst each other and everyone else composes our periphery (i.e. the mainstream). And that we either feel out of place, ashamed, and/or yet inferior to our surroundings. Here’s a situation that still haunts me today.

Last year I traveled to Chicago for work, I had dinner on the southside – after being the minority /anomaly all day, I needed reacclimation with my kinfolk. As I order a martini as an ice breaker, so I could mellow out. I remember all the stares I received maybe be’cuz I was young Bellini has a baby face, dining alone, and in business suit. Folks seemed to have trouble grasping their minds around the image. I’m not sure why – (on a sidenote- I remember sharing my encounter w/ dark’n’stormy and she was like why did you eat alone implying why I didn’t dine with my colleagues—well, a girl has to eat on company travel or not, second I had decided days prior to my trip that I was dining on the southside and I didn’t bother to invite colleagues I’m trying to wine down and not be pc about shit all night.

So, my waitress decides to ask the burnin’ question. And I told her my profession, why I was in town, blah, blah… She then shares she’s in school tryin’ barely holding on… that she has no family support. Family is undermining her goals and wasn’t sure if she should push on. My mouth dropped to the floor not be’cuz I know everyone didn’t grow up the way I did, but be’cuz the stakes were too high for her. And that I knew she needed a conviction to finish and that usual place to receive such affirmation comes from the home and that she couldn’t obtain support from there. Damn.

I have never felt so hopeless in my life. To add insult to injury all my business cards were in my hotel room—I can’t recall if I gave her my mobile? She couldn’t see the light at the end of tunnel and you know what happens why you don’t have faith—you will retreat. And I attempted to stress to her to not give in too temptation. That life ain’t easy, that her soul needed her to finish ‘cuz she knew deep down inside she was making the right decision. And yet, I’ve also learned in life that some messages must come from certain people or else risk having no significance at all. It’s sad, but that’s a stark truth I’ve come to accept, but that doesn’t mean it absolves my responsibility from inspiring hope and droppin’ jewels of knowledge ‘cuz if I don’t who will. Are you? Now, Bellini is not hear to preach, it just ain’t my style, but please remember shit is bigger than you and I.



Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I Hate You So Much Right Now!

Oh look at the pretty picture. Is there anything more lovely in the spring, than seeing a field of flowers? Blowing in the wind. Oh how they sway and bow in the gentle breeze…

But what is not depicted is those flowers' nasty desire to reproduce. That’s right I’m talking about that stupid pollen that blows and flies around looking for a place to get a little comfortable. Get a little freaky deeky! A place to start a new life! And they don’t care where.

Stupid pollen! Flying up in my nose and shit! Getting me all congested, and itchy, and watery eyed. Making me question why I even bothered attempting to open my eyes since they are all puffy and red. Making me look like I just got high, just to get by, but without the postulating and acute hunger side effects...you know the good stuff.

*Sigh* I’m miserable right now.

But I have the sympathy of my coworkers…
“Oh Ameretto, you sound terrible”
Me: “Yeah. I want my Mommie”
"Oh, poor baby. You should go home."
Me: "You think so?"

So while looking like the dedicated worker that I ain’t, I’m about to throw up my deuces. Sucks that I’m actually using a sick day because I’m sick…something about that just ain’t natural!

I think Kelis said it best in this little song from the turn of the century.

Hey, Mr. DJ I would like to dedicate this next song to all the pollen blowing around out there…from stamens, and car roofs, and finally to my nostrils… this one is for you pollen, all for you!


See You In Seven

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Night to Remember

Everybody's got a bomb, we could all die any day
But before I let it happen, I will dance my life away
Oh they say 2000 zero zero party over, oops, out of time!
So tonight I'm gonna party like it's 1999!
- Prince, 1999

Happy Monday family! 'Tis the season for strutting across the stage in caps & gowns and shopping for the perfect dress or tux for the prom. Over the weekend, I ran into one of my neighbors who is getting ready for her senior prom. We started chatting about limos, after-parties, and everything in between. Before I knew it, I was two-steppin' down memory lane...

I wasn't crazy about the idea of going to prom. I didn't really give a damn about getting dressed up and paying for an overpriced ticket to party with folks that I could barely stand sitting in a classroom with. I just wanted to hurry up and be done with it all and was counting down the days I could give Anytown USA H.S. the finger and be out. But my lovely friends and my mother reminded me that if nothing else, I would enjoy the memory years later and it would make for a wonderful story to tell my kids. Boy were they right.

At prom time, I had boyfriend. He was a few years my senior and I had no intentions of bringing him as my date. The theme was "Party Like It's 1999", because the year was 1999 and we had the most creative prom committee ever. My dumbass high school would only sell couples' tickets, so Bellini and I went half on a ticket. I remember going from mall to mall searching for a dress but all I could find was yards and yards of gaudy fluffiness that you could not pay me to put on my body. Already not a dress chick, finding something I felt comfortable wearing was a hard task. I decided to go the non-traditional route and bought a short dress that, as my mom described, looked like a slip with flowers. I liked it, so who cares.

The evening of the prom, I was actually looking forward to having a fun night out with my friends. We rented a stretch limo. We had dinner reservations at B. Smith's Restaurant. And being the resourceful young folks that we were, we booked two hotel rooms at the Omni Shoreham where our prom was being held. I gotta give it to us... Even as youngins, we had it goin' on!

When the limo arrived at my house, I remember thinking it looked a little full. We rented a 14 passenger vehicle and there were already seven upon arrival to my crib. We still had to pick up Rum Punch & her date, and this other chick (didn't like her or invite her) and her date. The plan was to have a total of 12 in limo. Another friend (we'll call him T) and his date were riding together in a Mercedes-Benz (borrowed for the occasion). Well by the time we picked up the last couple, the limo was mighty tight. I ended up hopping in the Benz with T. Wasn't too happy about that...

Dinner was a nightmare. Upon arrival, our table was not ready. I still cannot understand why not given the many weeks' notice that the restaurant was given. So we were seated late. And then it took an eternity for our food to arrive. Dinner itself is a blur to me. However, I clearly remember how folks came up short when it was time to pay the bill. This is what happens when you invite extra people, who ain't really your friends, in the name of saving money. It was a good idea at the time but unfortunately we got stuck with a couple of trifling broke asses.

We were extremely late leaving the restaurant. I think we arrived a lil' after 11 PM. The prom was over at 1 AM. The prom itself was ok. There isn't much the actual party that sticks out in my memory. Big ballroom, loud music, everybody snappin' pictures... the usual stuff. And I was still salty over the dinner fiasco. The plans for after the prom were to go back to our high school for the PTA's "safe, parent-approved" after prom party. They had free food and a few fun activities. Then we'd return to our hotel rooms and get the real after party started.

My friend T's date decided she wanted to go home, so I couldn't ride with them back to school. Instead I rode up front with the limo driver. If my memory serves me correctly, the limo dropped us off at the school and we took our own cars to the hotel.

Our hotel after party was quite interesting. The two rooms we reserved were connected by a door in the middle. The fellas brought up many bottles of liquor in a big duffel bag. I think we had music playing but not quite sure. I kissed some dude who I didn't even like... but it didn't go any further than that. And not too long afterward, I passed out on top of the bed. The funny thing was there was about five of us stretched out on top of the bed. A couple of more folks out on the floor. And one dude made his bed in the bathtub.

Definitely a night to remember. Or should I say a night I kinda remember. Do you remember your prom night?

Forgetfully Yours,
Dark & Stormy