so i was reading this post over @ my good buddy’s blog, which i routinely keep forgetting to put in my links, but i will soon, and was reminded of a story that i want to share. yeah yeah, this blog aint abt me. but this entry is. shut up & love it.
so my job now is extra super fantastalistic, but before i got here, i was at a big name insurance company ‘processing claims’ as a temp as it struggled to keep its head above water (which it didn’t do, btw. it had to merge w/ another company). there had been some big conversion and a lot of claims were ‘lost in the system’ (i still dont know exactly wtf that means). so, my job, as well as the other temps who were brought in, were to process them. i still dont know exactly wtf that means, either. we were trained for two weeks but only saw our instructor for like 4 days out of those two weeks, so we basically got out on the floor and pushed a bunch of buttons. that was cool with me b/c i really like to push buttons. its stress relieving. i enjoy that shit.
anyway, a disproportionate percentage of the employees at this particular branch/office were black women. i thought it the oddest thing. i mean there’s a shitload of black ppl in philly anyway, but ive never ever worked in an office with so many black people, or women. most of the older women were REALLY into the church and the lord and all that jazz, which isnt surprising–i find that a lot of black folk in philly are pretty religious. on the trolley on my way to work every morning, i typically see at least 3 people with christian books if not the Bible itself, and i hear enough casual conversations abt the goodness of god (yeah girl, lil shaquadranaydre’ made the color guard! god is good, aint he?!) to note it as interesting in my brain. of course its usually the older ppl who talk abt it the most.
we sat in quads, and directly across from me was a lady named Miss Michelle who was nice enough. kind of judgemental. very religiously fundamental. as sweet and level headed as she was (i guess she was in her 50s or so), i heard her say some very off-color things abt gays in the name of god that kind of turned my stomach. but she talked abt church aaaall the time. all her time was spent in church. church church church church church. to the left of her sat Queenie, who is to this day the largest woman ive ever personally known in my life. morbidly obese. it was sad, really, because she was a really nice woman (lol im talkin abt her like she’s dead, wtf.. she still alive!).. she was youngish, late 20s, i estimated, and stayed doin her hair. she was good at it, too, but unfortunately she was suffering with Philadelphian HWS (Horrid Weave Syndrome, the Philadelphian strain of which is particularly crippling). so one day she’d be fine, fresh perm, Sebastian wet @ the roots so she got the seasick waves goin on, and the next day she’d roll in lookin like a roosterfish. anyway, Queenie was a hood chick into hood things, so her conversation was usually about the latest club she went to & got into a fight at. but she was funny, so i didn’t mind hearin her talk. plus she couldn’t correctly pronounce words that ended in -ed; ‘looked’ was ‘look-ded,’ and so on and so forth. call me what you want, but that shit was fuh-NEE.
across from Queenie and to my immediate right was Miss Starry. Starry was an interesting woman with a roaving eyeball whom i estimated to be in her 50s as well, late 50s. kind of grandmotherly. she had this weird dred scott/bride of frankenstein thing goin on with her hair; it was big, bushy, burly, and coal black except for the random streaks of silver crashing through it. she was boxy in the body and the moles on her left cheek made sort of a dog-like shape. sometimes when she was talkin to me id get lost lookin at it because when her cheeks moved it looked like the tail was wagging. anyway, she was real good friends with Miss Michelle and also way into the church, so they talked all the time.
now, im a pretty personable person, and as the sweet semi-southern girl i am, i was always very cordial and polite, particularly with the older ladies. so we’d sit around all day, pushin buttons and makin small talk.
on the second day they had us temps workin out on the floor, out of the clear blue sky, right in the middle of a conversation about whatever reality show she all happened to catch the night before, Miss Starry looks at me and asks:
“are you saved?”
it was so entirely random. i looked at her dumbly and blinked at least 5 times before saying “..am i huh?”
“saved,” she repeated again, thinking that i just didn’t hear her, “are you saved?”
let’s hit the pause button for some background info right quick. i was raised baptist. my family wasn’t super religious but we went to church. i quit going when i went off to school because i didnt find it necessary. my beliefs, if crudely put, are pretty much as follows: 1 – there is a god. 2 – god is neither male nor female. 3 – there are many paths to god. 4 – walk yours the right way and you’ll get there. over the years, i have learned that its far easier to just smile and nod when someone tries to make sure you’re on the right side of their Christian religion. ive had too many rumbles with old people to ever want to go down that path again.
so. on this day, i smile and nod, ‘yes ma’am, i am,’ thinking that it would be over and done with. i smiled, happy that id successfully sidestepped an awkward situation that would have turned into an awkward work environment. she smiled, too, and i turned back to my computer screen, but she kept talking.
“i knew you were. i can tell.”
*smile and nod*
after a couple hours of pushing buttons, its lunch time. i stand up to make my way to the break room, and Miss Starry calls me over to Miss Michelle’s desk, where she was standing.
“this is our sister!” Starry beamed to Michelle, “she’s saved, too!”
“oooh, well god bless you, sister!”
*very, very awkward smile & nod*
oh well, i think to myself. it could be worse.
AND IT GOT WORSE. how bout then she proceeds to take me around to every save-ded [(c) Queenie] woman’s desk in the office, introducing me to my new “sisters.”
i was so mad. i mean she was coming from a good place, sure enough, but i dunno. i didn’t want that, but it was forced upon me. i felt so violated! like i just wanted to go sit in the bathroom and rock back and forth after it was all done.
and i could only imagine what was to come next. invitations to bible study. mid-work prayer groups. an honorary pair of white usher’s gloves and a gold sequined church lady hat. off black pantyhose and orthopedic shoes.
thankfully, there wasnt too much craziness after that, though i did have a plan in place in case they did try to adopt/abduct me. id start talking about sex. very loudly and very often. abt how much i love it and just cant get enough and how being hairless and fornicating just makes it feel sooooooooo much better, inside and out. and when they gasp and clutch their pearls and say “sister brokey, we thought you were SAVED!!” i’d look at them and say,
“saved? oooooh no i thought you said shaved. cause i’m totally into that freaky shit.”