Monday, September 03, 2012

Becoming Black Jennifer


My freshman year of college, there were three Jennifers on my floor: White Jennifer, Black Jennifer and Track Jennifer.

White Jennifer was the one with the sense of humor. She used to run around telling jokes like "your mom is so dumb, that she asked me what yield meant. I told her slow down and she said 'what .... does .... yield .... mean?" Black Jennifer was a middle-aged woman disguised as a teenager. Right after class, she'd slip into her slippers and sweats and vow never to go outside again. Track Jennifer, who was also black, was on the track team, hence her nickname. She was cool in the beginning, but she started disliking me because I was friends with a girl who was hooking up with a guy that she liked. Yeah, it still doesn't make any sense to me either, but whatever.

Lately, I've been thinking alot about Black Jennifer. It would be 4 o'clock in the afternoon and I'd see her decked out in her comfort clothes: this was the 1990s, so her gear consisted of those bright yellow zip sweaters that Lerner/Limited/New York and Company used to make, the ones that just said USA. She'd be perched up next to the security guard --- we called him the White Black Man, because no one knew if he was white or black -- talking about middle-aged things, like the stock market and real estate. Ok, I don't know what they were talking about, but it all seemed very adult, and boring. I pitied the poor girl because she seemed to be allergic to the parties, independence and freedom that college provided.

Fast forward nearly 20 years later and I've developed Black Jennifer traits. I come home from work and I want nothing more than to unhook my bra, put on my scarf and sweats, curl into a little ball and watch my dvr. It takes a great deal of strength for me to do an after-work activity, such as grocery shopping or taking out the trash. I've become so obsessed with CBS Sunday Morning that I dvr it and discuss the most interesting stories with my dude. Same goes with some of these speeches at the RNC in Tampa. I draw the line at Dateline and 48 Hours, though. There's only so much real-life tragedy that I can handle.

It has occurred to me that I might be getting old, or growing up, depending on how you look at it. And if it has taken me all this time to reach the maturity level of 18-year-old Black Jennifer, I can only imagine what she's like today. Maybe things changed and she hit a youthful stride in her mid 30s. Perhaps she's now at the club, dropping it like it's hot. Or maybe she was able to woo the White Black Man and perhaps they're living somewhere together, happily ever after. No matter where she's wound up, I do hope she's managed to find happiness, and hopefully leave that USA sweater behind.


(Image added from http://leelouzworld.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/growing-up-etsy.jpg)

2 comments:

Hey. I'm L. said...

I laughed so hard at this post I almost fell out of my damn chair! And to answer your question that you probably don't really want an answer to: Yes, sis, you are getting old. But hey, so is everybody else. The day that NPR became my radio station of choice while driving to and from work, well, that's when I realized that it was happening to me. Oh well...

Strength/Courage/Wisdom said...

Yeah, NPR has been part of my life for quite some time. Ah well, I'm getting old! Happens to the best of us.