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, November 14, 2008

Mother, May I?

While there are a few disadvantages to living at home (the lack of privacy for instance), there are some advantages. One of them has been being able to see my mother as a real, live person. Now, I had been thrown out the notion that my mother is perfect. I mean as we grow up, move out the house (and sometimes back in), travel the world, make new friends, become adults, we really start seeing our parents for who they really are, their distinct personalities, idiosyncrasies, faults, strengths and weaknesses. But now that she is done rearing me and laying down the law, we have truly formed a friendship. I am constantly learning new things about my mother and the life she led before children.

Now I’m not saying that my mother was a wild child, but she did have some fun (and not so fun) experiences. And when she shares these things with me, I wonder why she didn’t tell me sooner. I think the mother/daughter relationship is one of the most fascinating because here is this person, this “mini me”, you can put all your hopes, dreams, and missed opportunities into. Someone you work hard to ensure does things better than you did them, avoids the mistakes you made, doesn't endure the trying times you did. However, to do this, mothers who oftentimes know the landmines and pitfalls of life through first hand experience, in an effort to protect their image, give their daughters blanket lessons. Keep your legs closed. Don’t do drugs. You bet not get pregnant. Finish school. Don’t drink and drive. Come straight home. Don’t go down the hill to that neighborhood. Don’t hang with those people. Don’t date that n****a.

I know that mothers have to walk that fine line of rearing a child by example and revealing who they really are to their children. Do you reveal to your child that you used to smoke weed, only to have it thrown back in your face when they try it? Do you tell them about your “first time” or tell them to wait until they’re married? Do you tell them about that abortion you had as a teen? I mean I don’t know how I would have handled hearing some stories about my mother while I was a teen. How would knowing that even my mother made mistakes have affected the decisions I made, the way secrets I kept, the lies I told, the life I tried to lead because I didn't want to disappoint? While I grew up in a house where my mother was very open with her children, where she spoke frankly about all topics, including sex, she rarely interjected herself into these stories. Growing up I saw my mom as someone who had never done wrong, never made poor decisions, never dated men other than my daddy. Of course over time I learned this was false.

And so there are times when I do wish that when I was younger she would have opened up more about her life. Maybe I would have come to her with a whole ‘nother set of questions. And I wonder if I ever have children (especially daughters) what I will share with them. Once when I was going through my photos and I saw one of me in a shirt that revealed plenty of cleavage, I said to my mother, “What will I tell my kids when they see this?” And she said, “Tell them, ‘I was going out to look for your father.” Ha!

But seriously. What would I tell my kids about my life and what would I edit? Would I tell them about me having an older boyfriend when I was in high school? That I got a tattoo at the age of 17? That I had a fake id and snuck into nightclubs? That I drank before the age of 21?!? Or will that seem like a whole 'nother lifetime, not worth sharing or mentioning? Will I reveal my past to them or play it close to my chest? So that they never know the before kids me, and think that I just came into the world as an unhip, uncool mom who never lived and then when they try to put something over on me I can be all, “You must not know ‘bout me…” Regardless of if I try to mold myself into “perfect” parent, my mom is already talking about, “Wait til you have kids. I'ma let 'em know...” So I know that she will be somewhere in the background telling my kids how I really got down. Dang, those witnesses!

But for real, readers of the 5 spot, what do you wish you knew about yo’ mama and what do you wish yo’ mama had told you ‘bout herself while you were growing up?

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

Thursday, November 13, 2008

legalize it

For the past few days, I've been hooked on weeds, the Showtime dramedy about a semi-rich White suburban housewife who moonlights as her neighborhood dopegirl. After her husband drops dead of a heart attack, Nancy Botwin peddles dime bags to her neighbors and friends in an effort to maintain her lifestyle for herself and her two sons. Initially, I thought the show would be full of unfunny cliches but I actually find it to be quite interesting and hilarious. Afterall, those of us who live in houses without cable can't reject the gift of a dvd. Gotta have something to watch when nothing's on the 3 channels I get for free (until Feb 09).

Anywho, I also like the show because it depicts the widespread usage of marijuana in White affluent communities and because with each episode, I secretly hope that Nancy will get busted and end up doing serious time. A little bit of justice to make things right in the world. In episode 5 of season 1, I almost got my wish when Nancy's brother in law Andy gets popped for simple possession. Andy tries to go into business for himself since Nancy won't let him in on her hustle. On his way back from picking up the product at Nancy's supplier, Andy gets pulled over for running a stop sign. Thankfully it's Agrestic, California and not Any Hood, America and the cop intends to let Andy on his way with a warning to stop and look both ways next time. But Andy gets smart at the mouth so the the cop pulls Andy out of the car, smells the weed and takes him down to the station.

Cut to Nancy and Andy post-arrest meeting with a lawyer played by Alison Janney. Ms. Janney informs Andy that because he had less than an ounce of weed on him, the most he'll get is probation and an anti-drug class. Cause less than an ounce is a misdemeanor. Nosy Nancy starts asking all these questions about penalties for getting caught with more green or for distribution, you know, just in case. Ms. Janney "says that's only if the cop's an asshole; most cops just let you go. "

I laughed at the irony. Really Ms. Janney? Only in tv land or the right side of the tracks would that happen. It makes sense though, kinda sounds about right. You should get a slap on the wrist for having some weed. It's from the Earth, doesn't harm anybody, makes you feel good, etc. But being as how I deal with marijuana cases everyday I shook my head in disgust. Where I'm at, if you're caught with any thing, an ounce, a joint, some stems and seeds, the lingering aroma in your ride, you're facing 6 months in jail plus a fine when you get out. Most judges won't lock you up for that long but they will make you do some probation, often up to a year's time and pay over $400 in fines and fees. Taint so bad when you take that in the abstract.

But if you're picked up again for that same amount, on your second offense you are looking at a felony. 5 years in jail. FOR SOME WEED! And don't get caught a third time, for that same joint, cause its a wrap. 20 years. FOR SOME WEED!

It's estimated that 4.8 million Americans age 12 and up use marijuana at least once a month. On any given day down here, more than 50% of the people arrested are taken down to central lockup not for violent crimes, not for shootings, murders, robberies, but FOR SOME WEED! Usually a joint or less.

Some argue that marijuana is the gateway drug to coke, her-roin, and meth. Pish posh. I know 50 year old weed smokers who have never touched anything stronger in their lives. Old men who take a toke every Saturday evening in the comfort of their own homes to calm they nerves and unwind. When's the last time you heard of a weedhead holding up the corner store? Have you ever heard somebody getting shot over some weed or dying of lung cancer from too much weed inhalation? Yeah, I thought not.

That's why I say let's make it like cigarettes, the real deadly tobacco. Package it up and put it on the shelf right between the menthols and the cloves. Add a 25% tax to it. Think of the tax revenue that legal marijuana sales could generate. 'Bama could fund universal healthcare and national education programs from one year's receipts alone.

Just a thought.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

dysfunctional tales, vol. i

So a cousin of mine has 4 kids and she’s not 30, nor did she commence having children in her 20s. Over the weekend, I spent some time with 2 of her kids (both girls). So the littlest one was eager to tell me she had books – the initial indicator that the girl is smart and is willing to learn, so I told her to show me. The child is 5 and is in kindergarten – remember this tidbit as the story evolves…

She gets the book and I point to each word in the title, however she’s creating her own title. Initially, I thought it was being done in jest, but as we turned the pages to the book she couldn’t logically sound out words. So, then I blurt out “Can you read?” And she says "yeah" a pet peeve of mine – it’s YES. So, I point to the word ‘the’ – and her response is a singular letter ‘a’ or ‘i’ – clearly my ass is lost. So, I close the book and ask do you know your alphabet. She retorts, “A, B, C, D, EFG, H, I, JK, LMP… just because she half-ass knows the song doesn’t mean she knows her alphabet. So, now I ask the easiest question of them all – spell your name… A.. y – enough, she doesn’t know how to spell her name.

Time for plan B.

"Get me a sheet of paper, I’m going to write the alphabet." Interestingly enough, she brought me writing tablet paper and not regular college ruled paper—that was a second indicator that the girl is smart and nobody is working with her. So, I write her the alphabet, capital and lowercase letters adjacent to each other and on the final line I write her first and last name. After the letters and her name were written, I began to quiz her on phonics. "What begins with A – name me a fruit, what begins with B — name a color…" This is the process I follow until we hit all 26 letters. So, I inform her that the next time I see her she needs to know how to spell her first name.

Now did the adults really think just because the proper tools were present for thriving learning environment, that osomosis would take place and ooze through the girl's brain and BAM -- she's a reader?

In this household on this given Sunday was the mother, grandmother, and grandfather. Mom is upstairs watching “Two Can Play that Game”, Pa Pa is yapping on the phone, and grandma is watching t.v. and braiding her great neice’s hair. The grandmother was present for my mini-school session. And she claims, "I had no idea all this summer the littlest one couldn’t spell her name." Lord forgive me, but had you struck her ass Bellini would have understood right then and there.

You have a child willing and eager to learn and no adult can put their fucking life on mute and dote on the child.

Ironically enough, I asked the Mother during the beginning of the school year how the 5 year old was adjusting to school and she replied “just fine”. Clearly “just fine” means two different things. I had the impression that she was on point as a 5 year old: could read, or was an emergent reader, identify letters of the alphabet, understood the phonetics of sounds, etc. cue Deneice Williams “Silly of me…” Be’cuz that’s what 'just fine' meant to me.

Unfortunately, the parents seem indifferent to the window of opportunity children have; where there could never be endless of hours of learning and their engagement is full throttle, it will be sad if this little girls aptitude for learning diminishes in the same year she officially started grammar school. And I pity the schoolteacher who has to teach this girl, but can not count on the parents to do their part. And folks holler and shout about the state of public schools, and yet the assumption is parents are doing their part, when clearly that is not the case.

So, I leave with you an op-ed piece from William Raspberry – a former Washington Post columnist during the 90’s who wrote provocative opinions about the state of black America.
Enjoy this kick-ass piece featured in the Post yesterday.



Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Greater Appreciation

My grandfather served in World War II. When he came home he attended Hampton Institute (still the real HU), married my grandmother (a nurse) and had three sons. My grandfather purchased a home in Hampton that he remodeled himself and provided for his family while working at Fort Monroe.

I realize now that there was so much I did not know about my grandfather who passed away in 2003. I don’t recall having conversations with him about what it was like being a black man serving in the war. I never asked him how he felt protecting a country that denied his youngest son (my father) access to the nearest bathroom because they were black. I never asked him what it was like being raised in Fort Worth, Texas and not be discouraged by the racism that was rampant. But I do know that my Granddaddy was a man of faith.

I say all of this because sometimes I regret my youthful understanding of things. Often times in the moment, appreciation takes a backseat to the trivial. One summer when I was about 12, my Grandfather took me over to Fort Monroe and showed me some of his world. The model ships, the bombs, the history lesson, the photographs of young men now old. My grandfather, a carpenter, showed me this world of war and then led me down the halls of wood that he worked to preserve with his own hands. When showing me around a man overheard my Grandfather’s voice and was left in awe at his story. The man asked me, a child who did not know better, if I was proud of my Grandfather. I said I was, but at the time, in my heart, I didn’t care. I would have rather been anywhere else then at some old fort on a hot summer day.

But look what I carry in my memory. I have no idea what else was more important than spending a summer day with Granddaddy. I have been taught to understand that time is both limited and fleeting. I have learned to appreciate the man who loved my grandmother through cancer, taught his sons to be men in a segregated South, and prayed for me when I had no idea what it took for him to be there for all of us.

This is just part of my Grandfather’s story-a veteran who served his country, community and family. As I enjoy a day off today, these are the words of a granddaughter who is grateful that she is finally able to appreciate a great man who fought. A man I am proud of. I man who I had the honor to call my Granddaddy.

I encourage ya'll to take a moment to think of those who have and currently serve in wars they may or may not believe in.

See You In Seven

Monday, November 10, 2008

What do you say, Courvoisier? (Part 2)

Dear Courvoisier,
Remember that friend I was telling you about? Well, she has offered to help me out with this project I am working on. I am not quite sure if I should accept this offer. I could really do with the help and she is willing to help me in every which way she can. She has proven this several times but this relationship is rather tricky. We have slept with each other a couple times, nothing steady or regular, and I am afraid that this may be ploy to get closer even though she already has a man. Like I said I could do with the help but I can’t…well you know how women are! What should I do?


Although I am a woman, I can’t really speak for every woman. However, I do believe that
neither pussy nor dick should hinder you from achieving your goals. If anything it should help the process or make it more enjoyable! (chuckle)

So, has this said friend exhibited a crazy-lady mentality? In other words do you think this chic will bust the windows out your car? If you two have been casual friends for a while, sleeping with each other on and off, it is highly unlikely that she will all of a sudden start wil’in out, break into your house and lay naked in bed waiting for you to come home.

Let’s do some math…you see each other a couple times a week, communicate everyday and have slept with each other 7 times over the past year and a half. I am guessing (no offense) if your little sporadic rendezvous were mutually all-that, potentially crazy lady might have already had a manic episode.
(chuckle) People don’t all of a sudden become crazy!

Listen, it is understandable that you are hesitant about this situation, it is almost the same as screwing someone that you work with (ah-ha…another topic we might want to discuss later). My advice to you is, if you NEED the help…go for it.
Successful ventures are fostered by a great team, not one man. Let potentially crazy-lady, whom you yourself said has delivered, know your expectations for the new dynamic of the relationship. Make sure YOU adhere to that and check yourself every time it goes too far. This may turnout to be a mutually beneficial relationship. If you know what I mean! (chuckle)

And if all else fails, assist potentially crazy-lady in finding a boyfriend.

Oh, I forgot…she has one already!

Seems like a no-brainer to me but let’s hear what everyone else has to say…

Much luv until next week…peace :)


*Of course, like always the names have been changed to protect the misguided.