The Italian Job

This post is a bit longer than usual, but I wanted to share the story of one of the best and most memorable nights I’ve experienced.

It’s 7:15PM on a Friday and I’m sitting at a red light when I notice the sunset receding into the horizon. Shit was beautiful. It instantly felt like a mental snapshot of what the summer and this night could be. The kind you wish you could have every evening. I remember the encapsulation of the moment being interrupted though by my text notification. A reminder of why I was in the car, in position to notice this amazing sunset, in the first place.

“Before we do anything else, may I request we have dinner first, sir?” Perfect. Since I, predictably, had made no real arrangements eating dinner first provided flexibility.”Of course, as you wish Khaleesi.” I had gone out with her before, but this night needed to be different. And her request of dinner first allowed our interactions to dictate the rest of the evening.

As I pulled into my lady’s driveway, she emerged from inside sporting a beautiful, flower sheathed dress. As she locked the door behind her, before she could turn around to walk towards my car, I was already outside the passenger door opening it. Finessed. Easy bonus points to help pass Level 1. I knew I might need the extra +XP later, so I picked them up as I could.

“So, where are we going to eat?” I knew better than to ask where SHE wanted to go but I still wanted her to feel apart of the decision. “Do you like Italian?” Not do you want Italian. The answer of course was yes. I told her about this great place I knew of and how they served authentic Italian cuisine, since this one isn’t exactly the Olive Garden type. The excitement on her face after reading the Yelp reviews about the lasagna only amplified when she exclaimed about how we should share a bottle of wine, too.

As we arrived and were seated at the restaurant, I noticed her eyes wandering, taking in the scenery. “It’s nice in here, the ambiance is perfect. Good job.” The waiter arrived at our table with menus for food and one for wine. Here’s where I let her make the decision. I’m low-born, my lady’s taste in wine had proven her to be a virtuoso of sorts once before. “2013 Kendall-Jackson Merlot from Sonoma please” I was swooning. She looked at me and pursed her lips, in that instant I felt there was something else going on. Was I really as in control as I thought I was?

We made our way through the pasta and bread, touching on various conversation topics. There was something about the Italian food, the sauce and wine, mixing in with the undertones of sprouting love on this night. It felt like a scene from a Julia Roberts movie, where the main characters share a romantic dinner, except this was actually happening. The euphoria peaked as we touched hands, reaching for a wine bottle long empty now. “Aw man” she said while looking at me, the wine narcosis in full effect now. As I was about to speak, she interrupted “We have to get a bottle on our way home, for the rest of the night. Please?!” No doubt.

I couldn’t get the check and pay fast enough. On our way out of the restaurant, the waiter shot me a glance of mutual respect. He was cheering for me to score. Still, I couldn’t help but feel as though my lady was the ball carrier. At every turn of the night, it felt as if she had been allowing me to control what she wanted me to control. Each time, I had gone to make a power play, she countered with a subtle jab of her own. Even after I opened the car door for her, before I could get in she grabbed the aux cord. A calculating effort to control the mood of the ride home. After a quick pit stop at the wine store closest to her lair we turned onto her street, Aaliyah playing in the background.

Pulling into her driveway for the second time, I felt more confident than on the pick up. Whether that was due to the wine or trail of bread crumbs she’d been leaving for me all night, remains to be seen. I told her how much I enjoyed dinner and being able to spend time with her. The clever game of cat & mouse would soon be over. She told me “Dinner was great, I just wished I had gotten some dessert. I guess this wine will have to do.” A dessert reference. Hmm.. I couldn’t help but feel that this was some sort of coy attempt to reference her true meaning. “Would you like to come in and share some with me?” accompanied by a sheepish grin solidified it for me. All I could do was smile and say “Absolutely.”

I’d met my match on this memorable night. For all the effort I exerted on coaxing this woman into choosing me, she knew what she wanted all along and in hindsight was unstoppable in her quest to achieve it. This was how I always dreamed it would happen, I just thought I’d be more in control of things.

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Sanctuary: An Endangered Word

Mired in conflict and turmoil, today’s world has become a mashed pot of hysteria now at a rolling boil. Across all continents and cultures, there is a crisis on hand for those in need of refuge from a life of mere survival. America should be leading the way, as a whole, however we have become a collection of Divided States ourselves. In a country unable to solve its own racial issues and determined to remind us during every tragedy that All Lives Matter, are certain lives part of an asterisk marked portion of lives? Yes. Of course they are, no different from all men being created equal*

* except Native Americans, Blacks & Latinos. Women’s rights pending

Where is there sanctuary even at anymore? Unfortunately for those seeking asylum, they’re about 62 years too late for Ellis Island. Americans back then were even alienating of Irish and other immigrants, so the darker complexioned refugees of today are sure to get it worse. This will only further grow the divide between these clashing cultures, mixed in with the potential occurence of more separative homeland events, an eruption could occur at any moment. As grim as this view may seem, I’d argue that Europe is at an even more dire state of affairs than America.

I don’t know what the answer is, I don’t know how to provide sanctuary for people when I feel as though I have none of my own. Where will I go when the next black man is innocently murdered by police and bleeds out on American soil? Where can we go when a white supremacist finally feels we’re at war and acts a la Dylann Roof? What do you call a refugee whose sanctuary is also a war zone? I imagine, at this rate, these are questions we all may need to know the answer to much sooner than later.

 

The Only Terror I Know

For decades, in America, local law enforcement has successfully alienated minority groups. They have done so both passively and aggressively in the neighborhoods they are sworn to protect and serve. It is clear now, on today, to me that there must be reform within the policing community. The police we have in this country are terrified of young, black males and there is nothing more dangerous than a coward with a gun (and badge). The nature of the job itself puts these officers lives in danger every minute, of every incident, of every day. The excuse that “I feared for my life” is invalid. When police execute America citizens, these are acts of domestic terror and should be prosecuted as such.

Terrorism is defined by the FBI as an act that meets the following:

Appears intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping.

When I read that definition, the first thing I thought of was not ISIS, but law enforcement in America. Shooting a black man who is resisting arrest, is CLEARLY an act intended to coerce not only the suspect into submission, but other black men who would think of resisting an unlawful arrest. How do you stop suspects in the future from resisting? Murder the ones that do. That is terrorism.

The expectation of police is to use reasonable force early, to avoid using excessive force. But what exactly is reasonable force? Is it a taser? Pepper spray? Or 4 shots into the chest? The major problem I see is that too many police tactics are open to interpretation of the officer in question. If the military has rules of engagement, then the police in civilian communities should as well.

In Afghanistan, the U.S. military is not cleared to engage even if an individual has been identified as a member of the Taliban. Yet on U.S. soil, an officer of the law can commit homicide, claim that he feared for his life and procure the support of mainstream white America.

Police should never draw their weapons without clear indication that the suspect is armed and posing an immediate threat to their lives. Obviously, there are certain scenarios in which a split second decision must be made by law enforcement. All too often though, the police use lethal force when confronted with resistance or sometimes simply through misjudging the victim. If everyday citizens began shooting police officers because they feared for their lives in split second decisions, would they be acquitted in the court of law? Highly unlikely. Yet, we see this occur year after year with law enforcement. The police nationwide must be held accountable for the actions of their fellow officers, as our entire community is held for the criminals in ours.

Above all though, I just want to see this stop.

“Brother, Brother, Brother… There’s far too many of you dying”