Thursday, August 30, 2007

Dog Days of Summer

I am sorry y'all, but I have to rant. I have been trying my best to shake off the years of servitude and oppression that have been heaped upon brown people the world over. I try not to look at Aryan youth and see their evil ancestors, and I try not to cringe when I hear "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer"-- I used to hear "Adolf, the Mustached Hate-Mongerer."

But then I read about a Caucasian hot mess and feel like I need to call it out.

U.S. hotel billionaire Leona Helmsley (not related to BLACKtor Sherman Helmsley, from the hit show "Amen") left her dog-- a WHITE maltese named "Trouble"--TWELVE MILLION DOLLARS.

Okay, now I know White folks love their dogs. But dogs are NOT people, people! I thought it was bad enough when y'all let them lick your face and whatnot, but this is ridiculous. Do you know how many orphans you could feed with 12 million dollars? Shit, do you know how many of ME you could feed with 12 million dollars?!!

This is reason # 248 why WHITE FOLKS DON'T NEED MONEY.

They waste it! And then, when they get guilty, they start shopping at thrift stores. Oh, great, yay! YOU BEAT ALL THE POOR PEOPLE TO THE CLOTHES!

What I love is that Ms. Helmsley was nicknamed the "Queen of Mean," for her "penny-pinching and hard-nosed work ethic." So tell me what kind of flippin' work that dog did to earn 12 million dollars? Did it go down on her on a regular basis? Or is it just getting money for being WHITE?!

Whew. Sorry y'all, I just got a little heated. I can't even handle the bizarro-ness of our world when a single dog has more money than a developing country.

Massa Helmsley, can I get some veal in my puppy chow?!

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Dirrrty South.... What?!

Guys, this weekend was tough. I stepped outside of my safe space. I went below the Mason-Dixon line to ATL, aka HOT-lanta, aka The Dirrrrty South-- just because my cousin's wife decided to get knocked up.

And it took me 15 hours to get there.

I hate Delta Airlines. Like Southern character actress Delta Burke, it is shifty, untrustworthy, and full of dead weight. It failed me terribly.

Here is a timeline of the madness, which I logged as it happened, because it was so unbelievable. I don't know why I'm surprised that I was oppressed, seeing as I was heading to the South.

4:00pm: Sojourner and her mother* hop on Delta flight 521, a direct flight to ATL.

7:00pm: A voice comes over the intercom system: "Hello folks, this is Captain Everything-I-Say-Is-Unintelligible-Except-For-The-Word-'Turbulence'-And-'Stay Calm.' We've got some storm clouds and have been circling up here for a while now and are starting to run out of fuel. We're going to divert to Augusta for a moment to refuel. Just sit tight; we'll be on our way."

7:45 pm: We land in Augusta, Georgia, so that the plane can refuel. The engines are turned off, which cuts off our air conditioning.

Sojourner, along with 183 other passengers, sits in an airplane with no air conditioning for TWO HOURS.
In Georgia, in August heat.
Can you handle this truth?

9:45 pm: We are allowed to get off the plane and stand on the tarmac to keep cool. I've never been on a tarmac before. There are fire trucks and everything. I feel like it's the end of an action movie, and I'm hoping that Bruce Willis is going to get in the cockpit and make magic happen.

10:30 pm: We are all rushed back on the plane by the flight attendants/lying whores. Still skeptical, I slowly saunter onto the sauna that is Delta Flight 521. I won't believe we're taking off til the houses look like Christmas lights.

10:50 pm: We are ushered off the plane, as the Captain (who I now call "Asshole") says that due to FAA regulations, pilots cannot fly for more than 8 hours in a shift-- and we've just run out of time.

We head into the Augusta, Georgia "airport"-- at best, it can be described as a rest stop with plane-like paraphenalia on the walls. This airport has a seating capacity of about 200, and their "food court" is a yogurt stand. Which is closed. No one is allowed to get their stowed luggage, and our only sustenance is to be found in a vending machine.
Did you know Fritos come in a chili-cheese flavor?

12:15 am: We are told an alternate plane will arrive at 1:30 am, with a new, refreshed crew ready to take us to ATL. We are also told that food is on it's way.

12:30 am: An airport worker wheels in a cart filled with bottled water, potato chips, and hostess cupcakes. This is our "food"-- a trans-fat caravan. I got better eats on the plantation!

1:54 am: A plane still hasn't arrived. We are told by a sassy, surly Augusta airport whore that one will come at 3:00 am. I am sitting in the first row of seats, watching a rerun of The Nanny on Lifetime.

Now is not the time for Fran Drescher and her screechy comedy of manners. I am going to die.

3:30 am: Still no plane. Suddenly, a new airport wench tells us a plane will arrive in "3 to 8 minutes," and to use the bathroom and generally prepare to go.

4:15 am: I have decided that Delta time is the equivalent of dog years. I am talking to a nice firefighter and a sassy gay man, lamenting our fate. One man says, "We could have flown to Australia in all this time!"
I shed a tear for my lost love.

6:40 am: A plane finally arrives. I pass out as soon as I take my seat, but before my XXX-rated Harry Potter fantasy reaches a crescendo, I am brutally awakened by harsh lights.

Did I mention the flight from Augusta to Atlanta is only 20 minutes? It's also a mere 2-hour drive. Had Delta (Burke) Arlines had any sense, they would have gotten some busses and driven us to freedom (I never thought I'd refer to the South as freedom, but this is what Delta has done to me).

And when I arrived, bleary eyed and surly, I had a few hours to sleep before going to a baby shower, where good times were had by... some... I think.

This is me wearing a diaper made out of toilet paper. This was supposed to be a GAME. This 2-ply padding was rapidly applied by my mother as we competed against other female pairs. I was not allowed to help her in any way, other than raising my legs and turning my bum.

I am holding our first place prize: moisturizing antibacterial hand soap.

That's so a thing a baby shower would give you. Lame. The hostess should have been handing out condoms and IUDs, so that others don't suffer her fate.

*Who knew Sojourner's mother would still be alive?!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I'm SPRUNG, y'all!

Oh my god guys, it's been, like, forever and a day.

Which, if you were wondering, is 11 days. So when someone says they'll "love you forever," they really mean "a week and a half."

Anyway, here's a nice long post, complete with interactive games! YAY!

Speaking of 10 days and loving forever, I was unable to blog due to an all-consuming love affair I had with an Australian fellow. Yes, folks, I went down under and got me a crocodile hunter! (RIP, Steve Irwin)

For serious, though-- I am swooning and wishing I was spooning with a burly, bald Aussie. Let me tell you why:

1. A foreign man will do anything for a green card-- and I will do anything for a foreign man!
(If you know what I mean... and I think you do.)

2. The foreign men love the blacktress. He seriously asked me if I'd tried modeling. Um, okay, maybe you don't all know me, but I'm not that fine. It's just that they don't get this flavor of ice cream down under and they all want a taste!

3. He is a creative soul with a heavily metrosexual side. This is, of course, very important to me as someone who is deeply influenced by the gays. They even named a pair of shorts after him!

4. The accent. Obvi. Even when he said "fuck!" he sounded intelligent and kind of sexy.

5. He also works as a web designer and owns his own company (you know I love a can-do man!). Note how he refers to himself as a "freedom fighter"! Um, hello-- I'm a freedom writer! Talk about meant to be. Besides, any White man who's down with freedom is down with Sojo.

Okay, so, on a scale from 1 to crazy, how wrong is it for me to arrive on the doorstep of Australia all romantic comedy-style and propose to him?

What I liked the most about this foreign man was his forthrightness and honesty. As you know, I'm all about the TRUTH. But no matter how militant I am, I know I'm not the first freed slave who can read or write. However, every guy with a semi-formed brain expects kudos for correctly identifying an emotion! What is that about?! Sorry, dude, but I've been saying how I felt since I was 2 years old: "Mommy, me hungry. Me potty. Sleep-time." I didn't get a damn cookie every time I didn't crap my pants--why should you?!

But have you ever noticed that when a guy "tells you what's up," he's not actually saying anything? I realized this last week when hanging out with my newest grown and sexy friend, Litsa. We played this fun game where she spoke Heteromanese, and I translated in standard English. Here's how it goes:

Sorry I haven’t called, shit’s been crazy.
I have AIDS.
I’m moving.

Yeah, I’ll call you later.
I don’t like you but I have to end this conversation so I can go play beer pong.

HE SAYS (in the middle of a serious conversation over dinner):
Here, have a shrimp.
Please don’t start crying.

I’ve had a lot of crap going on.
I just found out my ex is pregnant.
I’ve had diarrhea for a week.

Like, I really like you, but I’ve got a lot on my plate right now.
I am incapable of wiping my ass and whistling a jaunty tune simultaneously, let alone balancing a relationship and a social life.

(Why this is so hard is beyond me. I mean, even in the caveman days the Neanderthal went out, clubbed the mammoth, dragged it back home for dinner, and then made sweet love to his hairy woman!)


Fill in the blanks by posting comments on my wall. Winners will get a dinner with me that they get to cook at their home. YAY! Reversals on slavery!

I’ll talk to you later, okay?

I really want to be friends with you.

I’m sorry you’re upset. I didn’t know you felt that way.

You know how I get, babe.

As you can imagine, when I was cuddling with the Australian and he said, "I wish I wasn't leaving," I fell in deep.

I am currently planning a telethon, where I will put on a minstrel show in exchange for $1 donations to pay for a plane ticket Australia. I will need approximately 1500 donations. Let's get started, people! I'll bring the shoe polish if you help me get my true love.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

We Don't Love Them Hos

Is it possible to be "dating" someone for less than a month and already be in a loveless marriage?


Last Sunday, I was at the home of a gentleman caller and we were watching "Entourage." We already seem to have a routine, though we've only gone out 5 times.

Actually, scratch that, we've gone out twice-- the last few "outings" have involved watching tv in his apartment, meaning that I've left my house, but he's pretty much stayed put.

I had seen him earlier in the day, so I just popped over with a pint of red wine sorbet (my new jam and jump off, you HAVE TO try it) and got settled in to watch a show about celebrities pretending to be celebrities and the wackiness they get into (it's very meta).

As we watch, the gentleman sprawls himself out on the couch and puts his legs over mine. I enjoy people who are oddly comfortable, and it's his house, so he can put his legs wherever he wants. After the show, he turns on a baseball game and begins staring at the screen in a trance.

Sports = ME BORED NOW. I start reading one of the many comic book magazines lying around (he works for the magazine-- he's not 14) and am ready to go home. When Vincent Chase is no longer on screen, I'm done (Adrien Grenier is a tall glass of soy milk-- he's so olive and yummy).

"I should go soon," I say to the 33-year-old baseball addict who "lives a healthy lifestyle" and sends me such text messages as "you love the jews, don't you?" and calls me "babe" unironically.

He does not move, he does not flinch, he does not look at me. Still staring at the TV, he responds with:

So, you wanna have a quickie?

I was so confused. "Huh? Are you talking to me?"
This man is soulless. He does not have a tender bone in his body. I think it's hilarious. I can say whatever, whenever, and he remains unphased. I don't know if he can handle Sojourner's truth so much as just accepts it.

I will never love him.

"Um, do you want to?" I say sarcastically, commenting on his less-than-enthused tone.

"Yeah, I think we should."

I think we should???? What does that mean? What is "should"? Are we a couple struggling desperately to conceive?-- methinks not. There is no "should," with Sojourner! Getting love from Sojo is something he WANTS. It's not like eating your vegetables or not kissing a swarthy Italian who works for Prada-- those are things you should do, but sometimes you just can't help yourself.

This is what came up when I did an interweb search for "loveless marriage." I totally feel like that lady, only I'm black--something that my "date" never ceases to let me forget.

I wouldn't mind being a loveless marriage with Adrien. I love that he just refuses to tame his wild eyebrows.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Hot... or Not?

Have you ever seen someone who was really, really hot? Like, so hot you think, "you're too hot to live. I have to kill you, because if you're single, you're a threat to society, and you're too hot for just one person."

I felt like this about an hour ago on the subway. I was hotter than a ho in church and looked like an 8 year old who didn't know how to eat properly: due to the underground railroad's malfunction, I had to walk in the sweltering heat to work, and arrived so drenched that I had no choice but to change into the outfit I'd brought for post-work play time. Unfortunately, this meant that I spent most of the work day looking like a whore.

Then, to top it off, during lunch with my boss (did he ask me to lunch cause I looked like a whore?) at a BBQ restaurant, I spilled bbq sauce on my WHITE PANTS (see previous post titled, "epiphany."). This meant I spent the rest of the day looking like an out-of-work prostitute who hadn't showered in days.

Anyway, when I finally made it on a train home, I was packed like a sardine next to this HOT tall glass of milk. He fit all my criteria: he was over 6'1", had a chiseled jaw, strong hands, and lips like a girl.

As I'm enjoying brushing up against him and judging him based on his iPod menu (he had The Killers!), we are forced apart by the availability of two new seats. We sit across from each other, and I'm able to eye fuck the shit out of him.

But soon, around 103rd street, the bloom began to fade from the rose. His Angie Jolie lips were starting to get on my nerves. It looked like he was, like, really pouting. But not in a sad, my-ice-cream-cone-fell-on-the-floor-two-seconds-after-I-bought-it way. He was for serious modeling in his head. I started to think, "Wait, does he think he's Derek Zoolander? Is this 'Magnum'?" I started to get turned off by what was clearly posing.

It sucks when you think you can marry someone you meet on the subway and they don't get off the train soon enough and you see them for who they truly are: a pouty wanna-be male model in a lilac shirt listening to The Killers.

Well, I guess it's okay cause now I don't have to kill him to save humanity.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Mondays with Artists....

So, I sorta like my job. Not only do I put the “ASS” in “assistant” on a regular basis, I spend a lot of time talking to our subscribers and interfacing over the telephone with artists.

I love talking to artists. Some days I am caught off-guard by a verbose, lonely painter who thinks that because we wrote an article on them, and I answer the phones, I’m clearly the president, treasurer, and social chair of their fan club.

Today was one those days. And in true woman of color-writer fashion, I provide you, gentle reader, with a transcript. All the words of the artist are completely true (I took notes once it became clear this was going to be a doozy), and I merely agreed. Please read on…

Sojourner Truth: Good morning, Art Magazine,* this is Sojourner Truth.

Crazy Artist Lady: Hello, Sojourner, this is Ellen Tembly. I received my slide returns, but still haven’t gotten copies of the September issue I was featured in.

ST(reverting to my slave ways): I am so sorry, Ms. Tembly. I’ll get that order right out to you—can you give me your address again?

CAL: Yes—but, I have to tell you I ended up driving an hour away to another bookstore just to pick up a copy. I can’t believe it.

ST: Oh my, that is a hike!
(If you found the magazine, then why are you calling me?)

CAL: And it’s no surprise, given the way my day has been going.
(Uh-oh. Here we go. I’m about to get T.M.I.—I can feel it.)

ST: Well, why don’t we get your order out and turn this day around! (insert fake laugh. She finally gives me her address. While I have her placated, I plug our website like a good employee) Ms. Embry, do you have a website? Your can put a link to your article on your own site—it’s very popular now.
(This is not true.)

CAL: Oh, yes, I’d love to do that—but I can’t find someone to help me with my site. In fact, I’m sitting here looking at a bill for $800.00 from a web designer, and I just don’t understand it.

ST: $800.00—oh my goodness?! For what?! (Acting like I care and sharing her pain is part of serving the customer. It’s also called “mirroring,” and is an excellent psychological tool for gaining one’s trust and favor)

CAL: Well, quite frankly, I don’t know. Do you know who could help me?

ST: I don’t know anyone, no—but I’m sure there are a lot of young people in your neighborhood who could help you for a much cheaper—

CAL: I was working with this one woman, Carol—she is on the list of people who are the bane of my existence. (Now knowing that Ellen has a list, I am determined not to end up on it) She just uses me because I’m the best artist on her website.
(I am loving Ellen’s brutal honesty and sheer hatred for this Carol person—who I’ve decided is a talentless bitch. I laugh in agreement.)
She’s just one of those people who make me feel the need to take a bath after speaking to them.
(Haven’t we all been there?)
Well, anyway, for a while, my neighbor’s daughter was going to help me—she’s very technically savvy—but then her husband almost killed her and put her in the hospital, so she’s can’t help me. She’s busy getting a divorce—at least, I hope she is.

ST: Well, so do I!
(Pause. I’ve been on the phone for approximately 7 minutes and 30 seconds. I have her address and can send her magazines. How can I get off the phone and go to lunch and stop hearing about domestic violence?)
So, I will send this article out and get you the website link—

CAL: That’d be great—really, the web is all I have now. I don’t have a gallery.
(Cue strings….)

ST: Yeah, a lot of artists have sites now.

CAL: Well, I can’t even get a teaching gig!

ST: Really? But you’re an American Artist!!!

CAL: Pricheson hired me, then took it back.

ST: What?! How can that be?!

CAL: Yep, yep. It happened. Do you want to hear some gossip, Sojourner?! I love to gossip! I have this new neighbor, and I've just been filling her in on everything. I told her, "don't go over to that lady's house, cause she'll take your cat and won't give her back."

ST: Oh my goodness!
(What the hell is she talking about? Did someone steal her cat? Or did she eat it and forget?)

CAL: I bet SHE thinks I'm bonkers myself.
(Much like I do.)
Anyway, Pricheson is angry at me and I don’t know why.
(Could it be because she is abrasive and completely lacking in boundaries/the woman of my dreams?)
And it’s funny, because Pricheson got me the article in your magazine.

ST: Really? Well that is odd.

CAL: Didn’t you wonder why I said I only use Pricheson products in the article?

ST: Yes, I did, actually.
(No, I didn’t.)

CAL: Oh, Sojourner, I’m such a whore it isn’t funny. (She then emits a loud cackle that is still ringing in my ears) I’m actually getting ready to paint a portrait of myself as a trollop—and I’m 64 years old, mind you.
(The timer on the phone reads 12:15)
Yep, I found this blond wig, rhinestone boots, glitter glasses—it’s going to be called “Art Sells.”
(I want to tell Ellen that whores don’t wear glasses, but it's best not to engage her.)

ST: That’s hilarious!
(I’m uncomfortable.)

CAL: Now I just need a place to show it. Finding a gallery is a lot like a marriage—and I’ve had two of those—but none now, I’m single. My first husband was my manager, and that didn’t work out. He threw in the towel. I wasn’t his first priority—clearly!
(I’m really uncomfortable.)
It’s just hard for us artists—we’re just at the bottom. My second husband used to say we’re “lower than whale shit.” [she laughs] He always had these colorful phrases.
(Was she implying that he was “colored,” and therefore “colorful”?)

ST(awkward laughter): Oh no! (pause) Well, Ms. Tembly let me go process your order.

CAL: Oh, I guess I need to let you go.

ST: You have a good day now, Miss Tembly-- you promise?

CAL: I'll try.

The worst part of it was, that after 20 minutes and 12 seconds of emotional catharsis, I still forgot to send her copies of the magazines.

*I have changed the names of all proper nouns in this post to protect my occupation. My job may not be great, but being employed is better than being enslaved-- or broke.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

We All Live in a Yellow Submarine

As I traverse the world of random dates and half-assed "relationships," I've been remembering the wise words of a man I met on the train to New Haven last year. His name was Rick. He was a fifty-something musician with scraggly teeth, leathery skin, and a pocket full of promotional stickers (and probably broken dreams). He and his lover Rose were on their way to Connecticut to spend time with Rick’s family.

I do not normally talk to strangers on the Metro North railroad. I prefer to use this time to read, listen to music, or write. However, the train was particularly crowded that day, and Rick and Rose had graciously moved their bags off the seat across from them as they saw me wandering aimlessly in search of a quiet corner. And, after asking me what I did for a living and where I was from, Rick imparted words of wisdom I will never forget.

“Well, good luck in life. This is a big time for you. You just go out there like a baby in a submarine—openin’ doors and pushin’ buttons. You’re an attractive girl, it’ll all work out.”

With that, he and Rose grabbed their bags, their empty bottles of hard lemonade, and got off at Bridgeport. As the doors dinged shut, I thought he was crazy, and promptly wrote down the misguided ravings of a lunatic. What would a baby be doing in a submarine? If said baby was in this submarine, wouldn’t opening doors cause water to rush in and kill the baby? Was that old guy hitting on me?

But now, his words ring true. He is clear as Swarovski crystal. I am indeed a baby—only 23 years young. I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m crawling around this big, wide, ocean-like world, but I’m still protected—in a submarine, if you will. And if I’m going to navigate my way around, I better take some chances, push some buttons, and get this sub a-moving!

I’d like to think Rick was my guardian angel, sent down for an hour and fifteen minutes to show me the way.*

And I carry his words around in my back pocket along with his promotional sticker-- and a safety condom.

*He also told me to be careful if I was in Jamaica, cause those boys would "sweet talk me more than a sugar-covered doughnut." How could one man know so much?

Friday, August 3, 2007

The Vampire Slayer

So, I went on a "date" last night.

I have to use quotation marks because I'm not even sure what was going on. Do you ever find yourself in situations where you stop and ask yourself, "Am I on candid camera? Is this a bad Lifetime movie?"

I have these moments all the time, but since I relish awkward randomness (hence my love of internet dates), I do not run away from these gifts. In fact, I prefer to babble and just see exactly how tightly closed the envelope is, and how far I can push it.

For example: As I'm walking with my tall glass of milk, yoga studio-owning 38-year-old date, I casually say,
"I just don't know what to think, because of all my internet suitors, you're not obsessed with me. And I just don't get why not."

What a ridiculous thing to say. Cue laughter.

But no!!!! Apparently, this was a "crazy" thing to say-- which surprised me because he seemed to be able to handle Sojourner's truths thus far, was smoking weed on our date, and took me on a walk around the backwoods of Central Park after nightfall (where he showed me a flower garden which he described as "phallic"). If anything, I was playing the straight man. What I said was so un-humorous, that my "date" then says,
"Why do you need people to be obsessed with you? You feed on it, don't you? You have a vampiric quality."

Is this true? Am I a blood-sucking fiend out for the white male life force?

I don't think so-- I just want to get my O-face on (if you know what I mean, and I think you do...). And sometimes, my need to get my O-face on means I cut the bullshit. I want you to play your gender, woo me like the woman of your dreams, look me in the eyes and say,
"Girl, you're so beautiful, you could be a.... a waitress. No, no-- you're so beautiful, you could be an air hostess from the 1960s. No, that's not it, either. You're so beautiful, you could be a part-time model-- but you'd probably still have to keep your normal job."

Is that so wrong? So when I'm in your apartment watching tall, hot, crazy-eyed Jeff Goldblum in "The Fly," I start to get hot and bothered. And granted, I've called several friends to check on me to make sure I'm not dead in a ditch somewhere, but that's not cause I don't want to get my O-face on. It's because you haven't said the magic words. Part-time model, my friend.

I hope he calls me.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Inconvenient Truths

Sorry guys. For a hot minute I forgot I was a mad blacktress-- then I took a crazy improv class.

It wasn't any crazier or weirder than any acting class I've ever taken (except for the class I was in when another student referred to someone as "colored." Like, un-ironically. It was a dark day). But it was still awkward, which you know is my favorite thing ever, and I'd like to share it with you.

So, we were playing all these tender, heartwarming get-to-know-you-and-as-a-result-get-to-know-myself games (you know, the awkward ones you do during orientation week), and one of them involved standing in the middle of a circle, surrounded by the other classmates, who were seated. You then stated a fact about yourself (no lies!) and whoever shared that truth had to get up. The goal was to get another person's seat, thereby leaving another defenseless soul in the middle of the circle to share a truth about themselves.

It started off simply enough-- we began with physical characteristics that were easy to note in others. When it was my turn in the center, I felt like a buck on the auction block. Of course, I was the only blacktress in the room, and I'd chosen this day to wear a dress. There were few physical characteristics I had in common with my fellow classmates-- *oppression*. I had to settle for "Anyone who has polished toes, stand up!" just to get the other two women in the class moving.

After a few minutes of pointing out physical flaws in ourselves, we then had to state facts that were true for us, but not visible ("Anyone who has been to a foreign country!" for instance). By doing this, we'd share bits of ourselves and in turn realize we weren't alone. Magical.

Some things that I shared with the class:

Anyone who cried at the end of Harry Potter, stand up!
(no one did)

Anyone who has ever hooked up with someone they didn't like just cause they were bored, stand up!

(the people under 25 did)

Anyone who says they like children cause they know it's the right thing to say, but really don't, stand up!

(again, no one. This surprised me because, for real, most kids are annoying.)

Anyone who thinks race is a social construct, stand up!
(I don't know why I bothered.)

I am different and that is bad.