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, August 22, 2008

Kickin' the Bucket (List)

Earlier this week I went trapeze flying. Yes, you read that right. I, Rum Punch and all 200+ pounds of me went trapeze flying. I saw it on a television show and I thought it looked cool. And so I was bound and determined to try it. Well I did. And it wasn’t cool at all. It was painful and I used muscles I didn’t even know existed. But it was kinda fun all at the same time. And my friend who I dragged with me said, “Well we can cross this off our bucket list.” Indeed.

While I’m not the kind of person who ever made an actual list of things to do before I die, there are times when I’ve done things that were fun, cool, maybe dangerous, and exciting. And once I sat back and reflected, I acknowledged how glad I was to have had the experience and if it never came around again, I could live with that. Trapeze flying is now one of those things. But for the past few days I have been twirling the idea of having a bucket list in my mind.

There are some people who will probably never do half the things they want to do in life because of fear, or little motivation, or just plain lack of opportunity. There are other people who really live in the moment and are willing to try new things on a whim. I waitresed with a girl who would work hard for like three months, then take her tip money and travel to some foreign land. “How long are you going to be there,” I’d ask. “Don’t know,” she’d say. “Where are you going to stay,” I’d ask. “I’ve found a few places,” she’d say. “What are you going to do there,” I’d ask. “Don’t know,’ she’d say. Oh how the Type A in me envied her. Whatchu mean you ain't got no plan?

And then there are the people who make actual bucket lists. I met a woman in the hairdresser like that. And one by one, surely but slowly she was crossing things off her list. I found this quite intriguing in a ‘which came first the chicken or the egg’ type way. Did making the list prompt her to start completing everything or did she have a desire to try new things and knew she would never do them if she didn’t make a list? I wonder…

I know that I probably wouldn’t have sought out trapeze flying if I hadn’t:
a. Seen that particular episode
b. Thought about how cool it was and wondered if I could do something like that in my city and then
c. gotten an email literally the next day about trapeze flying in a city 40 minutes away. Divine intervention, I thought. And then came
d. The follow through.

That’s the hardest part, ain’t it? Because often times the things on your bucket list are the things that take you out of your comfort zone. So I think first you have to be open and willing to try new experiences and then you have to be ready to pursue them. So because sharing is caring, here are some things that I want to do before I die. However, I prefer to look at it as experiences that should/might/hopefully will enhance me as a person and my life as a whole. Here they go:

1. Go on a safari
2. See the pyramids
3. Go to Cuba before Castro dies (Hang in there Fidel! I'm counting my pennies and devising a plan now)
4. Go sky diving
5. Go scuba diving
6. Get married. Heh, heh, heh…
7. See the polar bears
8. Start a magazine
9. Get my Alex Haley on and trace my ancestry
10. Drive cross country a la Oprah and Gail (But this is contingent on those damn gas prices coming down!)

Anyway. Those are some of mine. I suppose I should get to getting because this is just the tip of the iceburg... What are some of yours?

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

Thursday, August 21, 2008

cater to you

A friend and I have this running conversation about B&B's, that is bold and brazen (black) women. Ladies who claim him! After observing the aggressive tactics of another woman my friend wondered aloud whether she needed to start being so B&B: picking out a man, claiming him as the one, being ready willing and able to do things for him, generally catering to him cause every day is his day. I countered her query, suggesting that this particular woman's actions (buying opera tickets, saying he's the one for her) to my thinking were more like catering-lite and actively showing and stating interest, a step down from bold and brazen, albeit a tiny step. To me being B&B is self-explanatory: the woman boldy intiates the contact, doing things like asking for his number, calling first and brazenly goes after a man while he goes along passively for the ride until such time as he opens the door and jumps out while the car is still rollin. But with most things in life, there is a fine line between B&B activities and those that are not.

Case in point. During my training last week, one of my male colleagues got sick. While drinking at a local spot, he reached over and partook of some oysters from somebody else's plate. Unfortunately these oysters did not agree with his stomach and the next morning he was down for the count. He'd be throwing up, take a nap, try to eat, and throw up some more. So commenced a vicious cycle for the next 4-5 days.

Some time around day 3, his girlfriend of one month, upon hearing about his distressed state, came to the rescue. Without any prompting, she jumped in her ride and drove over to where the training was being held. Keep in mind that we were training 6 hours away from home and co-worker didn't know she was coming until she called him from the road. Homegirl swept in with groceries and proceeded to cook and clean and nurse her man back to health.

My friend chalked it up to the magnificence that is him. But I wondered.... Had I just witnessed a B&B sighting, wifey auditions if you will, before my very eyes or was this woman simply being considerate? On the one hand, they'd only been dating a month and 6 hours is a hell of a long way to drive to spoon feed some grown ass man crackers and gatorade. On the flip side, you only have one chance to make a first impression, to show yourself to be the concerned homemaker who will drive any distance and clean any surface in order to please her man. This is a quasi-extinct black male with an advanced degree, no kids, and a good head on his shoulders we’re talking about.

Me no know. It could go either way, right? But if you held a gun to my head and made me make a choice about whether this was B&B behavior or not, I'd say it wasn't although the length of the relationship would cause a raised eyebrow. My only concern is whether she did all this out of the goodness of her heart or because she thought it would get her brownie points. Does it really matter her motivation especially if he isn't aware of why she's there, only that she IS there, showing him that she's willing to be down for him. He said he thought it was nice of her and maybe somewhere in the back of his mind she gets a check in the "could be a good wife" column. So who cares what other people (read: women) think about her actions. Maybe some times B&B behavior is called for if you want to survive. I say just don't make it a habit.

What say you?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

is naivete to blame?

Recently, I had a conversation with my waxologist and another client centered around celebrities and their drug addiction. Don't ask me why, but we had this triangular conversation about celebrities and their access to all types of vices. So, of course drugs came up and we went through the list: crack, cocaine, heroin, Valium, ectasy, etc. And I'm adamant about not touching, inhaling, sniffing, smoking, and shooting up drugs. I mean DARE (Drug A* Resistance Education -- I don't remember what the A stands for -- sorry) schooled me well and my monumental fear of fooling with a substance that could overpower me and my life, and I'd be remissed if I didin't mention I do have a Type A personality. So, no thanks. Now, what was interesting about this conversation is that my waxologist was on some other shit.

She professed her curiousity of all the substances listed above. The alleged high Valium provides, the potency of heroin, etc. . . I mean she might as well have been a junkie of the vicarious nature. I was shocked and baffled all at the same time. Didn't you sign a petition during DARE vowing to not partake of any substances. Obviously my favorite drink is Bellini -- the effervescence keeps me light and bubbly, but never in a stupor. In my mind, I'm hoping and praying she never finds herself in a predicament where drugs are readily available. And then I think about the irony in life, she could probably ride drugs heavy and still be the most functional waxologist in all the land. And if it was me... nope -- I'd be the one strung out, hair matted, teeth missing-- you get me drift.

And in between my waxologist and myself is the other client. We were allies in our joint crusade to never touch the powders or inhale the gases. Her conviction rests in personal experiences of having family members as former addicts. So, she saw up close and personal the effects of drugs. My waxologist wasn't fazed though...she seemed indifferent to her client's experiences.

What happens from childhood to adulthood that renders our childhood experiences irrelevant or invincible? I get it life happens, but that answer isn't good enough for me. And perhaps my naivete has gotten the best of me?



Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Please Save the Children

It’s summertime and the living is easy! The fish are jumping…and the cotton is high! I so looooved summertime in my youth. As I sit in my cubicle I allow my mind to wonder back to the swimming, the cookouts, ice cream cones and no school and it makes me smile, and helps the day to go by much faster. There was something very heavenly about that vacation time *Sing angelic chorus! Sing!* Kids chant no more school, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks while parents ask themselves what they are going to do about the children. What does one do with little ones who aren’t old or wise enough to be latchkey kids, grandma’s got her own life to live and well you ain’t trying to break the bank to pay some woman in a trailer to watch them. Well the answer becomes quite simple really, you pawn them off on whomever you can!

And so begins my tale...

I rent a room from a lady I’ve know for about thirteen years. Now this familiarity allows my mom to worry less and the arrangement works quite well for landlady and me. We’re like two ships passing in the night, on our way to our respective jobs. Landlady cleans the common areas and sometimes she makes me eat food she’s prepared. Hello? Can we say win, win? Yes we can! So a couple weeks back, during one of those free meals she cooked up, she informed me that her niece (12) and nephew (9) would be hanging out in our home for a few days in this summer because their mama and their papa were busy working. Well what could I say, like I said I rent a room, I ain’t on no deed, and since I knew these children I wasn’t stressing…

But how many of ya’ll know that the devil comes in many forms!

When I came back from Atlanta the house was like I had never seen it before! There were pillows on the floor, dishes piled in the sink, an odor, and food on the table. It was like an open invitation for roaches to come do the Cupid Shuffle on the table. Seriously! Please come go with me ya’ll back to the Color Purple when Celie walks into Mister’s kitchen for the first time and the walls were black! Ya’ll remember that? And so for a nano second I was like let me braid my hair and get my bucket and get to scrubbing. You know, help the folks out and such, but then I was like f-it I’m just going into to my room. And so I did and closed my door.

Peace and serenity.

There have been a few times when I came home early from work (quite unexpectedly I might add) and found the children home alone. TV blasting. Kitchen and bathroom nasty. And them doing unspeakable things with toast and chewing gum. So I told them to let me know if something caught on fire, otherwise I’d be in my room. And I closed my door.

Safe and secure from all alarms.

And then it happened. It was a few Sundays ago. I didn’t get myself together in time to go to church, so I was just piddling in my room. I had showered and dressed and was about to go to somebody’s cookout. The house was quiet and I was enjoying just taking my leisurely time, enjoying my day. I was standing in the mirror applying lip gloss when suddenly my door opened! And then I saw the head of both the niece and the nephew, wide-eyed and mouth agape. Immediately when the saw me they apologized and closed my door. WTF?

But in those few moments I had already decided to kill them… slowly. Softly. Maybe with a pillow. Or maybe with a knife. Heh.

I mean really! Why didn’t they knock? What if I had been naked? Why are they opening my door? And the fact that they apologized means that they knew better! Is this how things go down when I’m not home? Do I need to lock up my good…um. Well still, had I not been there, would they have gone through my things?

Sadly, the shock of their violation prevented me from ripping them a new one right then on the spot. And the fact that sometimes I forget I am an adult and can reprimand a child for their ignorant and naughty behavior if the situation requires it. But I will say this, if they so much as look at my door or are tempted to even touch the knob, oh heaven help the child! I can’t wait for school to start again! It’s summertime, and the living is supposed to be easy. But my patience is thin ya'll...and I want revenge. I can’t be catching no case over some ignorant devil touched children! I’m too cute to be tossing salads in prison!

See You in Seven

Monday, August 18, 2008

Weapons of Choice

Y'all Show Your Love as 5 and a Possible Present: Torrance Stephens. Check his blog here.

For many of you, it may surprise you that this black man here loves him some guns. Not just for the sake of violence or what they can do, but more so in the same realm as I do coins, stamps, baseball cards and beer cans. And albeit I am a second amendment fanatic, and love my SKS, as a weapon, they are no where close to what I would choose to, or select to engage in battle with.

My folk from the crib, Memphis will likely saw the ax or a hammer. True, I love me some axes as well as throwing them. But neither of these are my favorite weapons either. If I had my choice, most likely it would be my tongue or my pen, for words are very dangerous and seem to reflect the dialectical nature of the ruminations encapsulated with in the corpus of my mind. I can you words to maim, or cut and inflect damage just as I can a gun, rifle, ax or hammer.

Words for me are tools enhanced by my penchant for the written word as well as my voracious appetite for reading. However, these too are often moot and cannot exemplify what my heart and spirit is capable of. No neither weapons, nor words nor the pen are my preferred weapon of choice. What is my preferred weapon of choice you query? Kindness.

Kindness is the greatest and most debilitating weapon of all. For you see it is the reflection of the heart, soul and spirit. It enables one to create compassion in an environment of hate. It allows you to stand and smile even when bullets are directed toward you even if they are in the form of words.

The brother is boy genius:
Torrance T. Stephens, PHD is originally, from Memphis, Tennessee. He attended Morehouse College where he studied, psychology, biology and chemistry. He received a master's degree in Educational Psychology and Measurement from Atlanta University and a Ph.D. in Counseling from Clark Atlanta University. He has participated in Post-doctoral experiences in Nigeria, Senegal and several other African contries working with Africare International. His research targets infectious disease and substance abuse risk among incarcerated populations. He is an author and has a novel, three books of short stories and a book of sonnets on the market. He has a book of plays and a book of essays coming out later on this year. He is the father of two and currently lives in Palmetto, Georgia, just outside Atlanta.