Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Monkey Business as Usual

For whatever reason, there are moments in my life when I temporarily lose my mind. I'll forget my best friend's name or throw my underwear in the toilet or walk outside with no clothes on. "Boy, you done lost your mind," someone invariably says. "Nah, I'm cool. But I don't know what I was thinking." I've grown used to my lapses and learned to regard them with a sense of humor -- they definitely make for good stories -- but the people around me aren't always so forgiving. Lil haters.

One evening not long ago, I was leaving a temporary job and heading home. I worked in a tall office building with several elevator banks and a big lobby. Each day after work a security guard ushered employees and visitors through the lobby toward some velvet ropes that led to three revolving doors, which led out to the twilit street.

The chambers within revolving doors, like public bathroom stalls and phone booths, are not social places. They are places of solitude -- little private fortresses with close walls. When someone joins you in such intimate quarters, it's an egregious invasion of space -- a violation of social code. Just think about the last time someone barged in the bathroom stall when you were taking care of business. Not cool.

As I walked from the elevator that night, a white lady wearing a knee length skirt and high heels walked a few paces ahead of me. She was one of countless others leaving the office after a long day at work. We both waved goodbye to the guard and headed towards the revolving doors. She entered first. In a temporary lapse that I still don't comprehend, I followed into her...personal chamber.

Inches apart, we walked the mini-arc toward the street. My size thirteen shoes nipped at her heels as the revolving doors hummed. "Sorrrrry," I whispered. My apology echoed off the glass walls. "I don't know what I was I thinking." She huffed, pushed her way outside and ended what must have been an eternal one and a half seconds of a black man being a little too close for comfort.

When we reached the street she glared at me. "Stop with all the monkey business, okay?"

"What you say?"

"Enough with all the monkey business."

"You callin me a monkey?"

"I didn't call you a monkey. I said no more monkey business."

"So you saying I conduct business like a monkey?"

"No, I'm not saying that you regularly conduct business in a monkey-like manner. I'm saying that you were just conducting the business of a monkey."

"What? You callin' me a monkey 'cause I'm black? Get one thing straight lady. I ain't no damn monkey. And I sure as hell don't conduct no monkey business!" She walked off into a sea of pedestrians. I turned around, temporarily unaware of my surroundings, and walked back into the revolving door toward the lobby.

"Everything alright," the guard asked as I re-entered the building.

"Yeah man. Business as usual with these white folks."

"I heard that brother. Business as usual."


Anonymous Camille said...


I have no words....

8:36 AM  
Blogger Stephane King said...

damn you trippin quint. you lucky that white lady works with you. cause if you were just some random negro...

12:31 PM  
Anonymous The Nigga Negro said...

Peace Quint.

I would have pulled out my Mandigo Magic Stick and pissed on her "flesh-toned" calf.


12:38 PM  
Blogger deawn said...

I love reading your blog, as well as your lady's--but tell me one thing: how in hell can you stand living in Houston and having to contend with insufferable heat, humidity, _and_ extra-stupid white people??

I'd have gone homocidal by now...I just know it.

12:54 AM  
Blogger sJea said...

deawn...extra stupid white people are everywhere...unfortunately...

okay...qn...was this a dream sequence? or was this sh!t for real?

9:17 AM  
Blogger The Quintessential Negro said...

What up, Camille!

Stephane, pronounce your name one time for me?

Nigga Negro, that's precisely what I was thinking! But sometimes a negro has to keep it respectable.

Deawn, thanks for the love baby. Don't worry about me -- I'm leaving Houston forever in a matter of weeks. Counting down the days.

sjea, stupid white folks are indeed everywhere, but to be fair, so are stupid black folks.

3:27 PM  
Anonymous The Secret of Sseh said...

Lucky Negro

If you were in the NBA that's a rape case. If she had some mace you might be blind.

8:35 AM  
Blogger Kristi said...

Hey, I'm white, but certainly not stupid. Maybe blonde at times...anyway, I am enjoying your blog which I found through "your lady's" Kim Plaintiff. You guys are great and fun to read! Love this post in particular. People (of all races) should really think before they talk. But it made for a good blog post, right?

8:18 PM  
Blogger Kristi said...

My bad. "Your Lady" would be Kim Plaintive.

8:30 PM  

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