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4 years ago

1337 words

Photo: The lighting in the auction sucked, so my pictures of it on display came out poorly. But my collaborator took one to advertise to the school last week, so you can see it here. It really did come out well!

 

The playmat sold for $250 at the silent auction. The “value” listed was $180. My collaborator and I could not have been more excited! I received compliments all night for my embroidery, but I deflected as much as I could. My collaborator really did the bulk of the work, I just did some detailing, and all I can ever see when I look at the thing are the mistakes or the missed opportunities to do more.

Hmm?

What?

“After” pictures of the playroom?

What are you talking about? I promised that?

Wouldn’t you rather hear about the Auction first?

Let’s talk about the Auction first.

So I put on that pretty dress, ditched the hot sweater for a pretty scarf instead, pinned up the locs in a fancy-looking updo, put my game face on and got in the car to go. I’d promised that I would bring my jerked chicken, and I did, though I thought I’d made it too spicy. Whatever. Again, mine was the only homemade thing that was totally gone before the night was through. Lots of compliments on that, too.

I had two beers because I needed to drive myself back home. The rest of the people in the room were schwasted before 8:30. Sloppy drunk. Staggering, too loud, ridiculous too drunk. We’re all standing around, talking, meandering between the silent action items (on which I made no bids) and drinking like fools. It was a BYOB affair and the range was between Angry Orchard and some sort of very expensive Bourbon that was passed among the men, with wine cheap and fancy alike happily mingling among them all. The only sober people in the room were the 5 pregnant woman in attendance. I can’t tell you who the “designated drivers” were in the crowd because everyone seemed to be pretty lubed up to me.

So when we got to the live auction, emceed by two of the preschool dads, the crowd was pretty raucous. It was hard getting everyone into the three-car garage where the live auction was going to be held, and once we were all in there, it was impossible to get everyone to settle down to listen.

There was a time when the room did get quiet, though. That’s when the two MCs were introduced. The chair of the auction committee gave her thank yous, then opened the back door of the garage to reveal two white men wearing backwards caps, sunglasses, long gold chains with dollar signs at the end of them, and long white t-shirts. They were standing back to back, their arms crossed with “hard” looks on their face. Oh yes, the crowd went wild.

They entered the garage screaming “aaahhhhh yeeeeaaaahhhh” and sorta danced around while people laughed and clapped. And, after introducing themselves, they broke out a piece of paper.

“Now, we’re gonna do something here… and uh… we’re not that great out of it. So don’t get offended if it sucks or somethin’!”

“Yeah! If it sucks and we totally offend you, just go ahead and leave the room!”

Some of the moms turned to look at me to see how I was reacting. I’m sure they were too drunk to read it well. Now, my mouth was half open already, but this is the part when I thought it was actually going to get offensive. I really thought that they were going to do something outright stupid.

But instead, they “rapped” (screamed, really) Good Night Moon like idiots. The crowd thought it was too funny.

When I described this to my mother yesterday, she gasped and growled, “so you’re telling me that they did Blackface but without the Blackface?”

And I mean, I told her “yes” because it was what she needed to hear, but then I also said, “you know what? Seriously, I’ve seen worse.”

And I don’t know who is wrong, frankly. Mom for being offended or me for shrugging and deciding that it is offensive but not so offensive that I am just letting it go. “I mean, there ARE white rappers in the world, you know?” I thought of the Beastie Boys, frankly. Whatever. I mean, as the only person of color in the room, I had three options: Get super angry and storm off (and no one remembers because they are drunk), roll with it but not participate in it (this is what I did) or condone it by laughing and carrying on (a shade too far).

I dunno, maybe I made the wrong decision.

I made it through about 5 items before I had to leave. Because people were drunk to begin with and kept drinking through the live auction, it was just a loud chaotic mess that was too much for me to deal with. I’d seen what I really wanted to see: my playmat get sold at a good price. The items that I saw sold, though? Ursa Major’s class platter (with his and his classmates’ names on it) went for $600, a fishing trip to Maine with one of the other dads went for $1200, a splatterpaint painting by the preschoolers went for $500… I mean, you get the idea, right?

Lord.

The really great thing that came out of this is that I saw some parents who I don’t normally get to see who are, first off, really cool and around my age and, second off, were just as put off by the entire affair as I was. We vowed to get together for multiple playdates this summer and I’m really looking forward to it. Hopefully they aren’t too drunk to remember.

Hmm?

Yes, I’m done talking about the auction.

What? “After” pictures of the playroom?

Well… uh… see… what had happened was…. National Floors Direct, despite having confirmed that they would be here today, somehow misplaced my carpet.

Yes, seriously.

“The installation department is checking, but they can’t find your carpet. So, we will likely have to order more and have it sent here. It won’t be installed tomorrow, but we are hoping for Wednesday or otherwise late in the week.”

Lord. I’d love one thing to go smoothly with this playroom.

The painting is finished. We had to finish it by yesterday so that the room could be ready to go today. We even took up the linoleum that was already in there. Funny story about that. Look what we found:

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So the first layer was this ugly pink stuff… so ugly. But the second layer was this brownish gray star looking thing. The Husband thinks that it is even uglier than the pink, but I wholeheartedly disagree. I really like this stuff, and I told him to save me a little bit of it. I don’t know what I’ll do with it, but hopefully something will come up. How I wish the original owners had put this in the kitchen instead of the ugly barf looking stuff that is in there now!! I also think I’ve found a little bit of quilting inspiration–this would make a fantastic block!

And what’s underneath that you ask? Well, only this:

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Yup… Gorgeous wood. So freaking pretty. And in really good shape. Just gorgeous.

But we’re covering it with carpet, for now.

So we’re not quite “after” yet and I want to post pictures of the paint and the carpet so that you can see the complete room. You and I both are just gonna have to hold our breath.

Because the universe is a balanced place, I must highlight that life has started to emerge in my little kitchen garden:

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Thyme has decided to come up first! I’m so excited!

My trials are not yet  over, but my schedule is now better. So back to consistent writing! Hurray!

“After” pictures Wednesday? I guess we’ll see.

5 Replies to “24 Hours? I Should Have Known Better…”

  1. I guess my question is: Would you be offended by black people doing a terrible rap, and if not is that in itself racist? Obviously if they were being rude or dicks about it, then it’s offensive, but if two black dads had gone up there and done country, would we be upset? I’m more interested in the people who felt the need to look around to check with you if it was okay to laugh!

    That flooring is brutal! And I have too agree, the pink looks like pepto-vomit. Is much rather deal with that 70’s brown pattern!

    1. I think that you have a legitimate question, though I think that the context matters: I think that if it were an all Black party with minimal, or like in this case, only 1, White person in attendance, and the two dads got up and decided to perform a “country” version of “A Snowy Day” or something just for the sake of being funny, I can see where there can be cause for offense. While I don’t necessarily believe that they did it to overtly be racist or to offend me personally, I think context matters: the crowd thought that this was a funny thing because “rap culture” is not the way that these particular people live. If you saw my post about the Pot Luck back in October (titled In Vino Veritas), I think some of the larger narrative can be gleaned. These other parents live in million dollar mansions and call things “ghetto” when something is a little off. I think that if the tables were turned, if it were a small, segregated all-Black (and still otherwise privileged) community, where we stood in mansions and said “oh, that’s so backwoods” or “that’s so redneck” when something was off, and then two dads decided to sing a country version of something… I think it would be understandable if the 1 or 2 White people in the room found that to be offensive. And because this is something I care about, and because my husband is White, and because I think that racism is an equal opportunity thing, I would hope that I would have the courage to speak up about it afterward. I don’t know if that’s true–group think is a scary thing–but I think that I have a track record of going against the grain in such regard.

      Racism, at least around here, is a nuanced thing. Context matters a lot. And it often has nothing to do with malice of forethought and everything to do with the simple disregard for the feelings of others. To be blunt: There are too few people of color up here in New England in general and certainly in these more privileged communities for people to care enough to give three shits and consider that maybe something like this wouldn’t necessarily translate well for everyone in the room. And the fact that people were looking to see if I was laughing to decide if this was all ok furthers the context…it means that, in the back of someone’s mind, there was some wondering about if this was or was not a shitty thing to do…

      But like I said, I’ve seen worse. Way worse. So it’s easier for me to roll my eyes, know
      exactly what I’m dealing with, and keep it moving.

      1. I absolutely agree, especially about the parents turning to check with you. I they had to check, then even they (deep down) were a little bit offended. What does it say about the progress of equality, that white people who are offended by issues like this are afraid to speak up. Not only afraid of what other’s of they’re race or community might say but also afraid that they will be seen as meddling in “black” affairs. This world is a very frustrating place to me!

  2. Drunk! I so called it! Hahaha.

    The rap-act: What would be the diff if two black dudes did Beethoven and Mozart, or Wham? (Try to get THAT out of your head.) It’s about the act not the DNA of the actor. Well chosen, the NAACP is busy with real problems.

    How the eff seriously do you lose a GD carpet? Does everyone up there have the combined IQ of room temperature?
    Every time you blog I wish I could leave you a VM, so you could actually hear the level of disbelief in my voice. Although I imagine it matches your own.

    Glad that old linoleum didn’t have asbestos in it, love. Take care when ripping things up in an old house. Peel away the time slowly.

    Speaking of thyme moving slowly, so excited to see the new sprouts! That’s a good sign.

    And how fabulous the auction was financially successful and your work paid off. Perhaps if the carpet people can’t get it together you can embroider a floor.

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