Mia: Shaken Not Stirred

The true life stories of a NYC female.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Thanks For The Music MJ

I was sitting in the back row of a crowded auditorium waiting for my brother’s graduation ceremony to start when it was announced that Michael Jackson had died. Immediately the noise died down, people couldn’t believe it. Judging from the crowd’s reaction it was obvious that he had touched all of us with his music.

I was six or seven years old when my mom came home one day with MJ’s then latest album. One song on the album stuck with me. “Man in the Mirror" touched me on a level I can’t even begin to adequately describe. At the time NYC was grappling with a huge homeless situation. Programs that are in place now didn’t exist then on the level that they do now. It wasn’t uncommon for me to see dozens of homeless people in the course of one day. Like the adults on the streets around me I pretended not to notice them. I’d actually get embarrassed whenever my parents would walk up to the homeless and place a freshly brought meal or a couple of dollars in their hands.

When I heard the song a second time that day I got the feeling that I was supposed to do more than just listen. I had the feeling that there was a lesson in there for me waiting to be learned. Listening to the MJ sing about the man in the mirror made me realize that I had the power to make a change in the world, well at least my world. I was a very mature kid. The very next day I began making changes. My mom has often said that the song pointed me in the direction of helping others. I don’t know if that’s true but I do know that the song had a huge impact on the way a kid looked at the world around her.

Say what you will about Michael Jackson but the man was a musical genius and his impact on the world of music and dance can’t ever be denied. How many of us didn’t try to moonwalk? I still get the creeps when ever I see the Thriller video and I still sing along anytime I hear a Jackson 5 tune. I know there’s a lot of talk about his personal life but you know what right now I don’t want to hear that. Let’s turn down the chatter and pump up the music. Music was his gift to the world everything else in between is between him and his god. I hope he finds peace at last. I for one will be eternally grateful for the gift of his music.

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hari Huritau Frum!

Happy, happy birthday! Let's make it one to remember go out there and party!
Yes I know it's tomorrow but you're so sweet I had to get a jump on it. Happyyyyy Birthday!


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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Smart women. Stupid man.

The argument was vicious, plenty of name calling and ill will was being flung out into the night. Thankfully they were mature enough not to take it to a physical level. The last thing I wanted to see was a couple of middle aged women throwing haymakers in the middle of the street. The women were arguing over a man, a man who was no where to be found. Smart man. Stupid women.

“Well he told me you were a lesbian!” the tall woman yelled.

The smaller woman gasped and sputtered. “I’ve never been gay in my life!” she yelled back.

That statement seemed to get the tall woman thinking. It was time to compare notes she said. Minutes later they were leaning against a car smoking and bonding. By their second cigarette they’d decided that the stupid man wasn't worthy of them.

Besides the taller woman added, “he’s got a small dick and can’t fuck for shit!"

"and he’s a premature ejaculator!” the smaller woman added for good measure.

The taller woman knowingly nodded her head and gave the other woman a high five. They called and left a message on his voice mail since he refused to answer their calls. He was no longer wanted in their lives or welcomed in their homes and they deserved better they informed him.

Smart women. Stupid man.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

No Touching Allowed

Crystal and I eased into the cab grateful to be out of the Atlanta heat. “Do you know the way to Swinging Richard’s?”, we asked. The cab driver nodded and looked us over. Now what are two nice girls like you going to that den of inequity for ? his expression seemed to say. It was obvious to us he didn't approve of the place.

When we got there the music was pumpin’ and men were a strippin’. Juggling testicles without the use of ones hands by the way is an art form people. The men were great and the crowd was happy. But here’s the thing, after an hour or so you realize all dicks look alike. Seriously they do. Some may be slightly bent, bigger, darker, pinker, but in the end they all look alike. Women’s bodies have more variety to them. Now I know why the masters painted so many women nude in comparison to men. As this thought ran through my head I felt a hand on my ass. The hand palmed my cheek and gave it a good squeeze.

I whirled around with my fist raised. The only thing that kept me from punching the ass grabber in the face was the fact that he was an employee of the club. Somewhere in the back of my mind I recalled being told that the dancers were gay but I wasn’t too certain if that was true. If I had been 100 % certain that he was straight this story would have had a different ending. It would have been a repeat of the last time a stranger grabbed my ass. I decided to give this guy the benefit of the doubt and not deck him. Besides I thought the owner of the club is a friend of one of the Moning Maniacs I was meeting that night. I lowered my clenched fist and let it drop to my side.

“What the hell…excuse me what do you think you’re doing? ” I asked.

The ass grabber grinned at me, “You’ve got a great ass!”

“Thanks. “ I replied, “but at least introduce yourself before you start grabbing! Say hi or something!” He threw his head back and laughed.

“It’s really firm, hard to pinch.”

It’s hard to stay mad at someone who is complementing your ass. I’m saying if anyone is qualified to know what counts as a great ass it’s a gay guy right?

“Yeah well people have been known to bounce change off it.” I joked.

He smiled again and said "Hi" and then introduced himself to me. Unfortunately I didn’t catch his name. I noticed his nipple rings were gleaming. He must polish them I thought. Mines never gleamed like that. I was just about to ask him to repeat his name when he made a move to grab my ass again. I raised my hand in warning, “Uh- uh don’t do that again. I was told that the patrons aren’t allowed to touch the staff here. So if we’re not allowed to touch the staff then the staff isn’t allowed to touch the patrons.”

He laughed again and with his body language seemingly invited me to touch him. I shook my head no but it didn't stop him from making another grab for my ass. “Don’t do that.” I said. He frowned for a second and realized I was serious. He threw his hands up in defeat and laughed giving me a huge smile before disappearing into the crowd.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Rude Guy

I was asked if I was willing to take on a new client one with a reputation for being difficult. He had managed to alienate everyone including my care bear of a supervisor when she visited him by telling her he didn’t want her assigned to his case he wanted someone younger. “He asked for a young, smart, funny social worker and he wants them to visit him twice a week.” “And naturally you thought of me.” I joked. My official unofficial supervisor shrugged her shoulders. “No one wants him huh?” I asked. “No” she said and added that if he rubbed me the wrong way I could turn him down as well. “You know this guy” she said, “he’s the one who would call for the other intern and hang up on us the minute we’d tell him she wasn’t here.” “Oh the rude guy!” I replied. “Yeah him.”

Knowing who he was and who his social worker had been made his list of requirements in a social worker understandable to me. His last social worker unlike me had been tall, model thin, leggy, blonde and had boobs that would cause many an insecure woman to weep with envy. Her flirtatious personality combined with her sexy wardrobe made men stand up and take notice. I looked at myself in the mirror… dark jeans, black Reeboks, t-shirt, auburn curls pulled back into a pony tail and no make-up. I stifled a giggle; I was so on the opposite end of what the client wanted in terms of a social worker. I was tomboy when what he wanted was girly fodder for some masturbation fantasy.

His face betrayed no emotion when the correctional officer brought him in to meet me. If he was disappointed with what he saw he kept it well hidden. I laid my cards on the table. “First off the bat I’m not Burger King I don’t do things your way. I don’t visit twice a week, once a week is all you’ll get from me. Number two, I’m here to help you and I don’t take no shit so don’t give me any and you and me we’ll be fine. Got it?” He smiled and nodded his head.

The rest of our visit went smoothly I managed to make him laugh a few times and the conversation flowed freely. I even managed to reprimand him for being rude to the other social workers who had visited him. When our visit was almost over I let him know that I wouldn’t be visiting him the following week because I was taking the week off. “If you need anything call the office and they will hook you up. Oh and don’t hang up on them just because I’m not there….I will hear about it. You got it rude guy?” He laughed and replied that he’d understood all I’d said and was ready to go by my rules. “Good boy,” I said and pointed to myself, “Alright then, my name’s Mia and I’ll be your social worker.” which for some reason caused him to burst out into laughter.


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Monday, June 15, 2009

Terrorists Are Like Clowns and Santa Claus

Several years ago in a wtf were they thinking moment a couple of guys decided to pose for some pictures. The men were at a wrap party for a hip hop album they’d just produced when someone came up with this brilliant idea for some pictures! They borrowed some guns from the security staff, wrapped some shirts around their head and pretended to be terrorists. Yeah cause Lord knows terrorists are like clowns and Santa Claus, just the sight of them makes you break out in a smile.

A few days later one of the guys dropped off the roll of film to be developed, a couple of hours later the FBI were knocking on the guy’s door. Obviously the clerk who had developed the film at the local Wal-mart did not share the sound engineer’s sense of humor. He was taken into custody and questioned for a couple of days and then deported back to France. His photo buddy the record producer had left Cali shortly after the pictures were taken and could not be found. A warrant was issued for his arrest.

June 15, 2009, the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, my uncle Mike and his childhood buddy/best friend the record producer were outside of central park watching the parade. Mike and several of their friends had warned the record producer about the can of beer he was holding just before the police officer had approached them. In NY the consumption of Alcohol on city streets is illegal. Usually you’ll get a warning but if the cop is in a cranky mood, over zealous, or in need of filling their ticket quota you’ll be issued a summons and have to pay a fine.

The record producer didn’t want to hear the lecture the cop was giving him,"Just give me the fucking ticket and bounce.” He’d said to the officer. Until that moment the cop had been content just to lecture and wasn’t intending to issue a ticket at all but now that the producer had dissed him he had to give the guy an equally hard time. He ran the producer's name through the system for warrants. Until the cops slapped the cuffs on him the producer hadn’t known he had a warrant for his arrest much less a federal warrant. I bet he would’ve been a hell of a lot nicer to that cop if he had. “I’ve lived in the same fucking building all my life it wasn’t like I was hiding!” he argued as the cops put him in the back of their squad car. Last we heard Homeland security was questioning the producer. Call me messed up but that I found that funny.


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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

A Moment Straight Out of A Movie

It was a moment straight out of a movie; seriously Hollywood couldn’t have done it better. I only wish I had my camera there to document it and even then I’m pretty sure still life photography wouldn’t have done it justice. A camcorder was definitely called for.

It was 10 pm and my friends and I were chilling at a small park in Greenwich Village. After several days of rain that would’ve sent Noah scurrying for his tool box New York had been granted a brief reprieve. The park was filled with people eager to shake off their cabin fever. It was comfortably warm night and a slight breeze carried the smell of spring in the park. You know the smell the smell of flowers blooming, rain soaked grass, and stuff that makes us allergy sufferers go ‘achoo’ but still it’s a wonderful scent. The air was also filled with the sounds of music generated by several musicians scattered around the park.

The topic of conversation as we stood about a foot away from a guitarist taking a break had been President Obama’s speech in Cairo. Even the one non- fan of Islam among us had to admit that it was a freaking awesome speech. We all agreed that for the first time in 8 years we all felt confident in the direction this country was moving in. I added my own personal hope that one day this world would look beyond religion, race, etc. and just come together as one. One of my friends playfully hugged me, “Always the dreamer Mia.” She’d said. “You never know man dreams can come true.” I replied. Then as if on cue the musician looked dead at me and began hitting some familiar chords on his guitar. My eyes opened wide as I recognized Come Together by The Beatles. I beamed at him and began singing in the smallest of voices as I swayed to the music. After several more chords the other musicians walked over and began jamming with him. Pretty soon a crowd had gathered to watch and spontaneously supplied the lyrics. Several thoughts crossed my mind at that moment:

1) I need to get back into the habit of carrying my camera with me at all times.

2) My friends really need to expand their musical history education beyond Tupac and Biggie. They couldn’t believe I knew the lyrics to the song. More importantly I had no clue as to how I knew the lyrics to the entire song though I suspected that my mom strapping headphones onto her belly for the entire 6 months she was pregnant with me had something to do with it.

3) Music is totally the ultimate unifier of people. There we were a crowd of at least 70 people of different colors, races, religions, and sexual orientations singing together to a song released in 1969 way before the majority of them had been born. Moments like that give me hope for the future and reinforces my faith in the human race. Maybe it should be mandatory for each head of state to play an instrument and several times a year they should get together at the UN and jam before discussing politics. I think the world would be a better place.

When the song was over the impromptu band decided to stick together and play some more Beatle’s tunes. As the third song ended my friends and I reluctantly decided it was time to leave. We all had to get up extra early in the morning. I approached the guitarist that had started the musical jam and dropped a few bucks into his case. He smiled and pointed at me and launched into I Saw Her Standing There.

As my friends and I walked out of the park with the echo of the still singing crowd ringing in our ears I couldn’t help but look around for camera and sound equipment. The whole thing had just been too perfect. I was certain that we were seconds away from being yelled at for trespassing on a movie set.


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Sunday, June 07, 2009

I Like Taking Pictures

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Saturday, June 06, 2009

I Miss My Aunt

I woke up slowly Monday morning to an obscene amount of sunshine cascading through my window onto my bed. The music that had served as background in my dreams gently grew faint as I rolled onto my back. By the time I opened my eyes the music was gone. Then it hit me an aching empty feeling in my chest.My hand flew to my chest and I sat up in my bed. I quickly realized that the ache wasn’t due to anything physical it was emotional. I had dreamt of her, my aunt Nora. The feeling had been building up for months but that morning it was intense so much I felt my eyes stinging with tears. I missed my aunt Nora.

My aunt moved back to Egypt last September and until that day I hadn’t realized how much it hurt to miss the living. Later on that evening I stopped by the Halal vendor near my house for some take out. Their cooking reminds me of Nora’s, it’s not as good but when the heart is longing for someone who is over five thousand miles away it has to suffice. As I waited on my food the owner noticed I wasn't giving him the usual dose of banter that makes him laugh. I wasn’t up to it. “Gamila,” he softly said, “your eyes they hold such sadness.” He handed me a can of my favorite soda and instructed me to drink. “I do not like to see you sad. Smile for me habiti.” I gave him my best fake smile and he laughed. “No, that is not real smiling your eyes they do not shine like always.” I shrugged my shoulders; I could only fake the funk but so much.

Once I got home I found that I didn't even want the meal I’d purchased, it wasn’t the same. I placed it on the counter knowing that one of my bottomless pit siblings would soon come along and claim the white take-out container. You know it’s not only her cooking that I miss. I miss her. I miss her silliness and her laughter. Most of all I miss the way her face would light up whenever I entered her house. “My baby is home!” she’d call out as soon as I came in and hold out her arms for me to step into. I miss the way she hugged me as if she was trying to convey all that she felt for me in one single hug. I even miss her thwacking me on the head whenever I mispronounced a word during my Arabic lessons. I miss my Aunt Nora.


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