Do I Know You/Do You Know Me?
I’ll keep this one short and to the point. In lieu of a lot of conversations that have been brought to me and ridiculous things I’ve overheard over the years, I have to get this out. Some of it is downright hilarious, some is beyond belief and it gets me tight. I’m flummoxed as to how someone who doesn’t know someone can speak about facts (or things that never happened) as if they are authorities on the matter. And be so vehement and vocal about it at that.
These are Five Simple Truths — Five that show whether you KNOW ME and Five that show whether you DON’T KNOW ME. That easy.
You KNOW ME If:
1. You went to school with me either in North Carolina or New York. AND we associated outside of class, whether we were neighbors or played on sports teams or just knew each other from around the way. I’ve never been mysterious. If you were around me, you knew me. That’s that.
2. You fellowshipped with me at Mt. Zion in Greensboro and/or (in a couple of cases) First Baptist in Jersey. I know a couple of people who have been members at both churches also and we hung out apart from services.
3. You worked with me at Aetna, Kinney Shoes (near the World Trade Center in the late 90s) or SIDC and we actually hung/hang out/speak outside of there. Again, what you see is what you get. But just SEEING me and never holding conversation, commiserating or anything of the sort? Nah.
4. You added me on Facebook, and even with the lingering stigma of doing so, you’ve come to know me and even hung out with me outside of there. It’s no different than hanging out with someone you met in class or at the bar. You have common interests and you build friendships off that. However, if you just linger on my page and never speak, well…
5. You met me through my parents, sister, my best friends, College and Singles Ministries (and you PARTICIPATED) or other relatives and took the opportunity to get to know me.
Pretty simple right?
You DON’T KNOW ME If:
1. You only saw me in passing at the aforementioned places, never spoke to me, never took the time to get to know me, but uttered such unconscionable BS as “he’s stuck up”, “he’s such a holy roller” (my personal favorite ha), “he’s shy”, “he’s boring”, “Oh he’s not the type to ____________ (insert your malapropism/inaccurate superlative here)”. How would YOU know?
2. You only know of me through my immediate family, relatives and friends. And by “know of” I mean MY NAME. Those people can only reveal so much about me, and while you can know OF someone, going around and in turn talking as if we’ve actually met and associate with one another is borderline libel ha. Adding me on Facebook or stealing me off one of your friends’ pages because you thought my profile pic was poppin’ does not mean you know me. I appreciate being thought of as attractive, but FB stalking/adding and never even speaking — agh, bad taste.
3. You were one of the many people who only went to high school with me and nothing prior to or after that. Most everyone who claimed to be my friends before high school deserted me when I nearly died of my illness. And ever since high school I’ve never been in one place for more than 2 consecutive years (much like I did earlier in life, I spent every summer here, so if I was only around you in school and never hung out, how on EARTH do you profess to know me by sitting in a class with me).
4. You, like high school, only saw me around UNCG and “got a vibe” off me. What do I look like? One of them chicks that R. Kelly & Public Announcement sang about? I don’t got that VIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIBE. You gotta get to know me and that means spending time around me. Otherwise, why are you reciting facts (or, which is much more common, LIES AND INACCURACIES) about me that you heard from my parents? What do you LOOK LIKE?
5. You sat in church with me, or only went on trips with the groups, but were too worried about remaining in your clique to get to know someone who has no allegiance to no cliques? Also, if you only worked with me at Aetna and never hung outside of there with me, GET OUT OF HERE. You don’t know me. The way I carry myself in the workplace is different purposely and necessarily. No need to act shocked or befuddled when I am outside of work and able to “be myself”. It flummoxes me how people can think they know you by walking past you.
I don’t get it, do I look THAT menacing that people are scared to *gulp* take the time to get to know me? I don’t bite. I’m not a hoodrat. I’m not ghetto (I can be, if necessary, but I’m not posted up on it sheesh), I’m laid back. I’m not at all shy (which baffles me — quiet and shy are not synonymous; most people who know me know I’m not the least bit quiet and DEFINITELY not shy — the total opposite). If you knew me, you’d know that, but some of the people I’m calling out here are those who have overheard conversations of my parents doting on me and all of a sudden they come and rehash a (highly inaccurate at times) chronology of my life. I’m standing there completely aghast because I wonder to them (sometimes I’ve done it aloud) 1) WHO ARE YOU, DUKE? and 2) WHO TOLD YOU THAT? AND WHO TOLD YOU THIS, BECAUSE IT NEVER HAPPENED? Ha. It slays me because I’ve had people say “I heard you were in the Marines back in the day”. ME? GREAT SCOTT what tall tales people tell. Others have come up talking about things that have happened in the 15-20 years since they’ve last seen me when half my life has taken place in that window. In some cases, I was over 500 miles away from some of these people. Some of them, I was right under their noses for the better part of 12-15 years right here in New York and they never bothered to get the drop from the horses mouth.
Anyway, I had to get this out there, because people are funny. I’ve had those even argue WITH ME FACE TO FACE about things that have happened in my life, attempting to tell me I’ve done something I’m pretty sure I’ve never done. I’ve never been in a coma and the only time I was out of consciousness was under anesthesia. And lying on a hospital cot in the process, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t pulling B&E’s or playing for such and such team in a place I’ve never lived. Point blank and simple, if we never hung out in New York, Newark, Greensboro or Henderson, YOU DO NOT KNOW ME. For those who persist in talking instead of coming to me and getting to me know me, let’s place a little game. Go to GOOGLE. Conduct a search for “THE DIPLOMATS – HARLEM CLASSICS”. Then under that album, look at Track #4. Read it aloud.
Yeah, DO THAT.