Please, Keep Assuming That I’m Harmless

Photo: Two little bears “dancing” in front of a very old door in Massachusetts. Too bad they aren’t facing the camera. Otherwise, this had the potential to be a great Christmas Card picture. Mission Impossible!


I did not get to have the pleasure of turning in Ursa Minor’s preschool application in front of Peggy yesterday morning.

Because her husband, Bill,  was the one who attended drop-off instead. And wasn’t that terribly interesting? Here is this big tall man in a very well tailored suit with me and one of the other moms, our children running and screaming at our ankles. He was certainly uncomfortable–this was not his territory. But being a man of his stature (literally and figuratively) he chooses to make the best of it. Extending a hand to the White mom in the hallway, we’ll call her Diane, first. Note, Diane was not at the potluck party two weeks ago and it seems as if they had not met before. Then he turns to me, putting on one of those fake smiles that you put on when you see someone you’d rather punch, and extends his hand.

“I vaguely remember you–”

(Vaguely? I was the black person at that one party that one time. The only one. We spoke for a good 15 minutes!)

“I’m Kyra, you met me at the party two weeks ago,” I say, extending my hand to give as strong of a handshake as he is going to give me.

It’s really too bad, because under regular circumstances I’d have a reasonable amount of respect for Bill. I appreciate a man with a good strong handshake (so rare these days) and I certainly appreciate a man who knows what a good suit looks like and can wear it well. That suit was impeccable, not too flashy, very classic… but the fabric, my God…

Distracted! Where was I?

Right… I had interrupted him and told him my name. He repeated it again. “Right. Kyra. Hello again. It’s good to see you.”

I’m sure it is, dude.

The three of us adults and five screaming children (the three preschoolers, Ursa Minor, and Diane’s eldest daughter who was off from school) are standing out in the hallway waiting to be invited in. Karen and I are doing our best to get the kids to at least use “inside voices” to no avail. They then start grabbing at the door, opening and closing it while we admonish them. Finally, Ursa Major’s favorite teacher, May, comes to the door and waves us in. The children can barely contain their excitement–they dash as a heard through the door.

We adults aren’t so quick, but we make it. I stand by the doorframe while May addresses Karen briefly. Bill hasn’t made it through the door yet–he’s still bumbling around with his daughter. So when Karen enters the classroom to do stuff with her kid, it’s me and May for a moment, and she looks at me sharply:

“So what was the verdict???” She has been following the drama with the same ferocity as many of you have.

“Well…” I take a dramatic deep breath, “WE GOT IT!! WE’RE HOME OWNERS!!!”

May has her hands up in the “touchdown” sign screaming, I’m squealing in delight. Karen comes over to give me a high-five.The kids are oblivious.

“I’m a member of the landed gentry now! I have so many opinions on estate taxes and land allotments!” I joke.

May is giggling and Karen is back to her own thing.

But here comes Bill, who has overheard the commotion. He looks me in the eye, putting back on that smile the good Christians reserve for the people they dislike the most: “Well, congratulations,” he seethes.

Thank you,” I say with unnecessary southern twang, mirroring his  “I really don’t like you that much” smile.

And then he was off to speak with other teachers and, eventually, go to work. I turned in Ursa Minor’s application, and then on with my day.

Now, look, I’m used to being an invisible Black Woman, especially around here where there just don’t seem to be enough black people in the first place to make us… you know… relevant, I guess, to the populous around us. But I know that Bill knew exactly who I was when he stepped into the hallway. What I don’t really understand is why I bother him so much–this dude is one of those masters-of-the-universe finance guys who clearly has everything he has every wanted. Our realms don’t intersect. At all. I mean, Peggy has to see me twice a week and hear about the snack I bring on my helper day and see me interact pleasantly with other adults. I suppose that can be grounds to dislike someone… right? Totally. We’ll run with that. But Bill? What the hell is that guy’s problem?

If I think about it too much, I’ll have an aneurysm. So we’ll just walk away from this one. To be continued, I’m sure!

So, as the picture above denotes, I’m currently on a quest for a Christmas card picture, and I’m fairly specific for what I’m looking for. It has to be high quality, it has to capture the boy’s faces, they need to be smiling, and they need to be exuding vibrant energy. And, you know, they should be wearing clean clothing, preferably something green or red. You know, festive!!

hahaha, is that all?

Usually, we go the very formal route–we go to the picture studio, I wear a skirt and tights, they wear coordinated outfits, we take some 50 pictures, plop down somewhere in the ballpark of $200, and walk away with very nice traditional photos. We don’t really have the time or money to do that this year, so now I’m trying to stage a “candid” shot that will work. But the picture has to be clear, and, as you all know, I have a shitty camera on my phone. Just the worst. And The Husband’s camera is no better. My step-father took pictures of us in front of the house last week with his Iphone, and though the pictures were clear, the boys were squirmy and unsmiling. Soooo those aren’t going to work out.

*sigh* mission impossible.

Here are some highlight’s from yesterday’s photo session:

IMG_20131112_085336_776-MOTION IMG_20131112_085403_077

The boys were “dancing” so that’s why they look so in-sync in the photos. I’ve got my own little boy-band in the making! If I valued money more than their brains, I swear I’d take them to Hollywood or New York to try my hand at showbiz. Lucky for everyone, I’m totally not that mom.

I’m 6,000 words away from being able to watch Scandal tomorrow night. I’m totally not going to make it! Ohhhhhhh the shame!! I am however, having a lot of run writing my draft zero. I’m learning a lot about my characters, really focusing on a story that moves, and making sure that I’m writing something that I’d want to read. There are many, many flaws already, and I’ll be spending many months tearing it down to the studs and then rebuilding it to something worthy of putting out into the universe… but for right now, I’m feeling really accomplished. There is not a single day that goes by when I don’t feel a little knot in my stomach thinking about “failing” this challenge. What if I never finish? What if I finish, but never edit it? What if I’m just too chicken-shit to press the “public” button?

I very well may fail. I actually think that I will probably fail. Not for lack of writing the story–that’s the easy part. The hard part for me will be getting up the gumption of pressing the button to put it out there. I’ll go through the motions of editing myself and putting the book through peer edits… I might even spring for a professional edit… I’ve already made a deal with my artist sister so that she can do some cover art for me. But the thought of people actually purchasing it, reading it, liking it or loathing it… my God, that is overwhelming. Because I know that this is not a perfect book. It will absolutely never be a perfect book. And I prefer prefect over all other things. 

I have some time to work up the gall to press “publish.” And besides, I have a lot more writing to do! So I’m going to get to it! Today’s word goal? 27,000 words! Remember, you can watch my progress any time–there is a cool little NaNo graphic to the right at the top of my page!

It’s cold, ya’ll. I hope that you have all the things you need to stay warm. See you Friday for some quiet thoughts.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. I think writing the book will be easy compared to getting a picture of those two little cuties for your Christmas card!! Good luck with both!! 🙂

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      Thanks!! I actually have a really good friend who has one of those crazy-awesome cameras and she said she’s willing to snap a few shots for us. Soooooooo I’m keeping my fingers crossed for good pictures after all!!

      Otherwise, it was gonna be all generic “seasons greetings” up in here.

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