This morning, I made a pact with myself to go down to the hot tub and enjoy my morning coffee. We live in one of those Hollywood-type, loft-style swanky-ish apartment buildings where there are tons of entrepreneurs, artists and social media influencer types strutting, strolling and bouncing about the building. Our window faces the inner courtyard, where the sparkling blue pool beckons, as do thonged butts — white, black, brown and otherwise, colored either naturally or by other measures.
Due to COVID-19, the pool has been closed for months, as it should be, in my opinion. It was just reopened this month with all the safety-use parameters you can imagine and one I hadn’t. We are to schedule time to use the pool via an Amenities App; our time is regulated and watched. I don’t like it one bit, and that’s because I have an inner brat who really doesn’t like to be told what to do.
So, due to the plethora of afternoon butts and the regulating, I decided to go to the pool early this morning so I could enjoy the amenity a-lone. I put on my black one-piece and pull a slinky cover-up from a hook in the bathroom, grabbed my blue bath towel and hot coffee, and high-tail my brown butt down there before my 10am work call.
The door was locked.
I was incensed! I turned into my own version of a Karen and.I.called.the front office! (If you know me, I’m really not one to complain or take major action; however, the events as of late, namely George Floyd, have turned me into a whole ‘nother person: one who speaks up to injustice!!) The front office was NOT helpful, so I found one of “my ladies” … these are the four Latina ladies responsible for cleaning this entire building of 192 units, almost from top to bottom. They clean the pool area, they wipe down the exterior windows in the live/work street-level units, they sweep the outside sidewalks, they clean out the vacated units and they tackle stupid clean-up shit that people are too lazy to handle themselves because they know someone else (my ladies) will do it. So, I find one of my ladies (I didn’t want to bother her, because of all the work they do) and she’s got a fine layer of perspiration on her lip from mopping the floor in front of the elevator. I feel like a pretentious Karen just asking her for help; here I am in my suit with my coffee, and she’s been working since 6:30 am.
Alas, we walk to the pool and she helps me. I ask her in Spanish, “Cómo se dice ‘lock’?”
She smiles and says, “Bloquear“.
“Bloquear,” I repeat. “Y, cómo se dice ‘key‘?”
She laughs, (she often laughs at me when she sees me because I’m often a dog-mom hot mess), she responds, “Llave“.
I smile and say,”Gracias!” She leaves me with a wave and I head to the hot tub repeating my two new Spanish vocab words.
I get in the hot tub. I sip my coffee. I’m happy. Like, actually happy.
I had a session with my therapist yesterday morning (I’ve been anxious, angry and not in a good mood), and she always imparts upon me to do acts of self-care and to accept my worth during these uncertain times. I breathe in her words as I settle into the solitude of bubbling bubbles. With the hot coffee and the hot water, I truly was, The Hot One.
As I turned to rest my coffee cup on my towel, I see a little bug approaching my sandals. It was a roly poly bug. I call them this because my momma taught me so. This is that greyish-black bug that when you touch it, or when it is in danger, it immediately turns into a protective ball and if you keep fucking with it, you can roll it around. Hence, roly poly bug.
I return to the hotness. A neighbor comes down with a book. (I think my new cool neighbor, Victoria, whom I met at the pool last week, calls him the Silver Fox; and he is perhaps known to hit on women at the pool.) I’m Karen-irritated that I am no longer alone, and he waits at least 15 minutes before speaking across the pool water to me. Jokingly, he says, “Are you seriously drinking hot coffee in 100-degree weather?” I put on my (new) eye glasses (’cause I can’t hear when I can’t see), and say, “Yep! ‘Cause I do.not.care! I envisioned drinking my coffee down here today in peace and quiet and I am doin’ it!” We laughed and thankfully, he got my drift and went back to his book.
I turned back to grab my coffee, and I gasp. There, in the cabana behind me, underneath a table, the roly poly bug was caught in a spider’s web!!! It was all rolled up, dangling, and Mrs Spider was already pouncing on him. I jumped out the water, grabbed my sandal and before I swiped I thought of something (which I’ll tell you about in the next paragraph) and I SAVED THE ROLY POLY BUG! The bug, of course, looked up at me and said, “Thanks sister! That was close!” and squinched off on it’s way back to it’s roly poly family. Mrs Spider, on the other hand, shook her fist at me and said, “Damn you, ya stupid human. I almost had him!!”
Ethically, did I do the right thing?
The roly poly bug should have been more aware of its surroundings and really should have avoided the web.
The spider was perfectly in her own right to eat that bug; she had prepared a web and waited patiently for someone to approach. She took advantage of or enacted within the situation she controlled and created.
Yet, the roly poly bug needed a little help to survive.
By the way, the new normal COVID-19 is fucking us all up. As is racism, which isn’t new. Therefore, I offer this roly poly analogy:
For those who think of Black people as roly poly bugs who irresponsibly go about not taking care of themselves and doing things that get them trapped in jail, or evictions, or homelessness, or substance abuse, or low-paying jobs, or using counterfeit money, think about the web that was placed there to purposely trip ’em up.
Think about the power the spider has to devour them, waiting in the dark and in those out-in-the open crevices where no one is looking. Think about how quickly they strike, and how they wait patiently for opportunity to get what they want, knowing that some roly poly bug, or gnat or fly or ant, is going to somehow fuck up and get caught while just trying to live.
Now, think about the power you have to help.
Think about it.
That is all.
Ooops, no, it’s not. I forgot to tell you what I thought about before I swiped: I thought, “Wait, who am I to tear down this web?!” I felt really bad ruining the system that the spider had built. She put in a lot of work. She was hungry. And then I thought, “I do.not.care!”
And you know what else, I didn’t kill the spider. That wasn’t necessary, nor was it my place to do so. I know the good spiders can do.
I love you all.