January 27th, 2009

corset & bougainvillea

The sound of the beast.

So, I've been having conversations, both online and off, about what things feel like since the inauguration. I mean, I'm pretty clear that at some point President Obama will do something particularly vile that will piss me off--and that's when I'll feel like he's really president. But so far, I'm satisfied, and that's really weird and disconcerting. It's Stockholm syndrome, on a national scale. It's the first decent relationship after a long and abusive one.

I'm still waiting for him to push me down the stairs.


As I've mentioned before, I listen to a lot of public radio. I wake up to KQED in the morning and often listen to it during the day and while driving. The other night, I'd pulled up in front of my apartment and was listening to the end of a segment on "Health Dialogs" about breast feeding policies in California hospitals when suddenly there was a bright light in my face. OPD had pulled up behind me. Annoyed, I rolled down the window as a cop walked up.

"What are you doing?"

"Sitting in my car. And?"

"Where do you live?"


"Who are you staying with?"

"I live alone."

"How long have you lived here?"

"Over a year and a half. What is the problem?"

"I'm just doing my job."

"Harassing people in their cars in front of their apartments?"

"There have been robberies around here."

"So? I suspect that were I a white woman, you wouldn't have stopped."

"I didn't know you were a woman."

"Oh, so black men sitting in their cars outside their own homes are all criminals."

"ID, please."

"For what?"

"I need to see your ID."

"And I need your badge number."

He didn't give it to me. In fact, he just walked back to the patrol car without seeing my license and drove away.

Apparently black folks aren't allowed to have "driveway moments."


Oakland's police chief resigned this morning after yet another scandal, this one involving forged search warrants. I wish he'd take the cop who interrogated me the other night with him.


Speaking of driveway moments, I caught most of this interview Sunday night with Melissa "Melicious" Joulwan, author of Rollergirl: Totally True Tales from the Track: "She tells Anne Strainchamps why the sport's enjoying a renaissance, and why most of the players are feminists who enjoy playing with the sexual and warrior imagery."

It's worth a listen.