I spend most of my days on hold, while media relations people decide if they want to speak with me or not. Due to the classical or easy listening music that usually plays as I wait, I’m half asleep by the time someone decides to answer my call. If I ever have an office, when my secretary puts folks on hold I want callers to hear M.O.P’s “Ante Up”- probably the censored version. Regardless, of where I am or how I’m feeling that song never fails to get me amped and ready.
Yesterday, my thoughts fell upon my high school phys ed. teacher, Mrs. Gilmartin. With her long blonde hair and light colored eyes, simply by looks, she is the epitome of “all-American”. Out of the many people I’ve met in life, she is indisputably one of the realest. She is the same Mrs. Gilmartin who after asking the class to break into groups, noticed that a set of Jewish girls hadn’t budged. Without skipping a beat, she looked up from her clipboard and told Nicole to “stop being corny and sit next to those little Black children”. When it came to the swimming portion of her gym classes, Mrs. Gilmartin’s only requirement was that everyone had to fully submerge themselves into the pool at least once. Well, there were a lot of girls who tried to find creative ways not to get their hair wet. I remember one class Blair refused to put her head under the water. At first Mrs. Gilmartin paid her no mind; until the period was just about to end and she noticed that from her shoulder’s up Blair was completely dry. Twice she told her to go under and each time Blair refused. In a second flat, Mrs. Gilmartin jumped into the shallow end - clothes, sneakers, whistle and all – and dunked a shocked Blair under the water. Oh my goodness, I can’t forget one Bring Your Daughter to Work Day when a classmate asked Mrs. Gilmartin if the toddler with her was her daughter. “No, Tonya,” she said, “This here is just a midget I hired to follow me around all day”. All of my siblings have also had her as a gym teacher, and Mrs. Gilmartin told Shirlgurl that she felt sorry for our mother. My fondest memory of Mrs. Gilmartin is my senior year. A group of friends and I performed an African dance at the school’s Black Awareness assembly. Out of all the 2,000+ people in attendance, it was Mrs. Gilmartin who clapped the hardest. When we were done, she approached us with her hands clasped in front her face and a hint of tears welling in her eyes and told us , without her sarcasm or dry wit, that our performance was beautiful. Man, I need to pay her a visit.
I told a friend that for my birthday I want to go to some real illegal, sweaty, tight dance party in a concrete floored basement, underneath somebody's uncle's West-Indian restaurant. Monday, I got an evite inviting me to a weekend full of carnal exploits and hedonism, all in my honor. I love my friends.
Oh, to the brother who told me he loved my hair this morning and kept it moving – THANKS.