Blunted on Reality by Chinedu Achebe; Chinedu Books, 2012, ISBN-13: 978-0615629254.
While they enjoyed a late breakfast, they began to discuss the history of Obama’s election. Obi started the conversation saying, “I still can’t believe this racist ass country elected a black man named Barack Hussein Obama to be the President. I guess Bush fucked this country up so much that Americans were ready for a dramatic change. Regardless of the matter, it is all good with me. Tamika, you wouldn’t imagine the electricity that was at the spot we were watching the election results at yesterday. It was like everybody knew he was going to win, but when CNN reported that Barack Obama would be the President-elect on the screen; the crowd erupted in a euphoria that I have never seen in my life. I was embracing everybody at the place, including people I didn’t know. I can’t even lie to you; I got real emotional and shed a few tears. It was one of those moments that everybody will be able to tell their kids and grandkids about.”
Tamika also indicated the feeling was the same at the place she was at with her friends. She posed a question to Obi, “So how does it feel to be 29 and one year closer to the big 30?” Obi responded, “I guess I am just embracing it. I think sometimes people get caught up in reaching a particular age as needing to have reached a certain level of accomplishments. I now see that in life everything comes with time. But it does make me more introspective that I am not getting younger and that I need to start prioritizing what is important for the rest of my life as well.” Tamika responded, “So are you ready to settle down, get married, and start a family?” Obi said, “At this point of my life I know I am ready for the right woman to come into my life. I guess it depends on if that woman is ready for a man like me.” The comment was not intended for Tamika, but she took it like it was. “Well everybody isn’t ready to settle down at the same time, we all got our own time.” Tamika said. “That’s cool, but I am not going to hang around while someone decides if I am a good enough man or not. If that person doesn’t recognize what she has in front of her, then maybe I am not the guy for her.” Obi responded. Tamika started pondering a lot of thoughts in her mind. She really loved being around Obi and wanted to be with him one day, but even though she just turned 30-yearsold; she was just getting into her advertising career and wasn’t sure if she wanted to make a sacrifice for any man, including Obi. The other thing is she couldn’t imagine giving up Obi to another woman. It was funny how life turns out. In college she would never worry about competing for the affection and attention of a man. She held all the cards and decided who she wanted to date. But in the world outside of college, the odds of meeting a tall, smart, and conversational man like Obi were very slim.
Tamika’s dating experiences after breaking up with Obi were not very successful. She didn’t want the Obi type of guy, so she reverted back to the type of guys she dated before Obi. Even though in her early to mid 20s, the roughneck niggas were her thing, lately she finally realized that those weren’t the type of guys to build a future with. The problem with Tamika was that she never fully appreciated Obi’s scope of knowledge on political and social issues. She wasn’t a very engaging conversational person beyond discussing the entertainment industry.
Tamika thought Obi’s knowledge consisted of a wide variety of things like fluff which didn’t amount to anything. She would always wonder why he liked to know what was going on in the world. Obi would be upset with Tamika’s lack on intellectual curiosity. He would tell her, “I don’t understand how you know almost everything about these damn reality shows, but you can’t take 20 minutes to read the headline news from CNN on TV or the Internet.” Tamika had never been asked to do much in her life but to smile and look beautiful. Most men never demanded her to challenge them mentally. But with Obi things were different. He was a very strong willed, outspoken, and opinionated man. He came from a family growing up where his father would have him read the New York Times by the time Obi was 10-years-old. Obi would have to write a thorough analysis of what he read. Both of his parents challenged their kids to be critical thinkers and not just memorize things or just regurgitate them. Tamika and Obi grew silent for awhile as they watched TV. “Well Obi I know you are a good man and I hope we can someday make this thing work out between us; if not you will get yourself a great woman.” Obi looked at Tamika with a sign of disappointment. Just when he thought she would make her appeal to really want to get back with him; she reverted back to grandstanding. In Obi’s mind, this wasn’t undergrad and his days of chasing and trying to make a woman want to be with him were over. He responded back to her, “I guess we will just see want happens.”
After about another 30 minutes, Tamika started to get ready to head back home. As the both of them walked outside toward Tamika’s car, they caught themselves holding each other’s hands. “I really enjoyed you coming over, fixing breakfast, and the birthday shower,” Obi said laughingly. Tamika said, “No problem. I don’t mind doing anything for you. I know you, Chike, and Lamar are going to be in the streets tonight. Call me when you guys are done partying so you can come over to my place and we can pick up where we left off.”
“Well I am going to have to take a quick nap to get ready for all of that,” Obi responded.
They embraced and Tamika gave him a big kiss on the lips and started towards his ears. Once, Tamika pulled off; Obi went inside and fell asleep.
Later the phone rang and it was Obi’s cousin, Chike Ifeanyi. “My president is African, my Toyota is blue, and I’ll be Goddamn if my rims ain’t too. What the fuck is going on man?” Chike yelled that into the phone after singing his own remixed lyrics from Young Jeezy’s song, ‘My President is Black’. “Hey, Obi what have you been doing today? I know we had a long night yesterday, but I hope you are ready for your birthday celebration.” Obi responded to him, “Well Chike, I have been good. I just had a long morning and you won’t guess who stopped by my place.” Chike responded, “Obi, I ain’t into this guessing game shit. Who was it?”
Obi said, “Tamika, stopped by for a little bit. She cooked me some food and gave me some ass.” Chike let out a gasp over the phone. “Obi, are you still fucking with her? Cousin, I thought you told me after the stunt she pulled on you before you went to law school that you were done with her. Obi you can’t keep letting her jump in and out of your life. You turned 29 today and you have been dealing with Tamika for 10 years and what is she talking about. She is still the same girl from college that you were stuck on stupid for.” Obi finally jumped in after Chike’s long-winded tirade. “Dude, I didn’t call her. She called me; saying she was on the way to my place. I never said I was going to get back with her, I was just explaining my story to you.”
Chike said, “Obi, I have known you your whole life and you are a muthafuckin’ liar. Your problem is that you are addicted to that pussy. Tamika has a mental and physical strangle hold on your mind and dick that you can’t and don’t want to shake loose.”
Obi started to get annoyed with the conversation and decided to change the topic. “Anyway, Chike, I am thinking about going to D.C. for this inauguration in January. Are you trying to go?” Chike said, “Hell yeah; if my funds are okay. I will definitely fool with it. You talk with Lamar about hitting it up.” “I will bring it up too when we hang out tonight at the Chill Spot,” Obi said. “That’s a bet Obi, so what time are you trying to hit it up?” Obi responded to Chike’s question, “Let’s shoot for between 8 to 9 p.m. to catch the end of the late night happy hour and then hit up a club.” Chike agreed and he said he would call Lamar and inform him of the plans for the evening.
As he hung up the phone with Chike, Obi thought about the conversation about Tamika. He knew Chike had a point and was just looking out for him. Chike was three years older than Obi and even though they were cousins, they had more of a big brother and little brother relationship. Ever since he moved to the states, Chike always looked out for him from beef with dudes to dating issues with the females. But the only problem with Chike is that he sometimes wanted you to take his advice all the way through without any objections.
As Obi turned on the television, all the channels were talking about the historic election victory for Barack Obama. He began to recollect how he had first thought Hillary Clinton would win the primaries and how Barack didn’t seem like he was ready to take the mantle from her. Obi had always been a fan of Barack dating back to his 2004 speech during the Democratic National Convention. He felt that Obama might be able to bring a new level of excitement and energy to politics that the Bush years had sapped from the country. But he wasn’t sure if a black man could be president and if Obama would be able to contend with Hillary Clinton along with her husband, former president Bill Clinton. Well, to everyone’s surprise he won a tough primary against her and then cruised forward to beat John McCain in the general election.
Obi wondered if Obama could take his uplifting campaign rhetoric and actually form policies that would help the country come out of the terrible recession. He also wanted to see if the economic problems, which have hampered black people in America for hundreds of years, would actually be addressed by this president. But today wasn’t the time to discuss the future; hell Obama wouldn’t technically be the president until January 20th 2009. Obama’s election also made Obi think about himself as well. Even though he was progressing in his own career, he was looking for his signature moment that would define him. It seems like Obama generated a lot of attention for other things beyond politics.
On many African American blogs and magazines, they were trying to depict Barack and Michelle Obama, and their family as the real life Huxtables. The Huxtables were the family portrayed on The Cosby Show. It seems everyone became enamored by the idea of the Obamas reshaping the shattered relationship between the black man and black woman, as well as making it cool to be smart and black. But to Obi, Barack and Michelle represented something deeper than the superficial stuff people wanted them to be. In his book, ‘Dreams of My Father’, Barack discussed how he first met his wife at the law firm he was interning at while he was in law school.
He talked about how he drove a raggedy car, had shoes with holes in them and styled badly worn out clothes.
President Obama’s soon to be wife had finished law school and was already an associate at the firm. Obi admired Barack for winning over Michelle not with any game, but just by being himself. He also liked how Michelle was able to see beyond the surface and see a man who had potential to do great things. It was interesting to see that on their first date, they went to the park and saw the Spike Lee movie, ‘Do the Right Thing’. It seems laughable today that a black woman of Michelle’s status would ever give a guy like Barack a chance. It was funny to hear women talk about how they wanted to find their own Barack, but most of them only thought that having a college degree with a job made them a good enough woman to be married. Unfortunately, since leaving law school, Obi rarely met those eclectic black women who were intellectually and culturally provocative and thought outside of the box.
As of late, he was just meeting women who weren’t very conversational about anything and considered traveling to different places their hobby. But he also started to realize that at 29, the window was closing on finding the woman truly desirable and now the focus was to find a woman with some level of compatibility.
Still pondering his dating dilemma, Obi took a look at his cell phone and saw that his mom had left him a voicemail wishing him a happy birthday.
He called his mother back, “Hi, mama how are you doing?” “Obi, I am fine. Happy birthday my son; how is your day going?” Obi responded, “It was going well mama. I am recuperating from all of the excitement last night. I can’t believe Obama will be the president.” Obi’s mom agreed and said, “Yes it is good to see a son of Africa climb to the highest office in this country. As I always tell you guys, Chineke (God) had already destined for him to be president. I only hope that he will continue to protect him and his family from those who wish harm against him. Obi’s mom turned the conversation back on him. “So my son, when are you going to settle down and get married? You are now 29-years-old and you can’t continue to live this playboy lifestyle with Chike. Your father has some friends in the Nigeria Club with eligible daughters to set you up with. Just let us know so we can start the process.” Obi grudgingly said, “Mama, we will talk about this matter when I come home this weekend. I was just calling you back from earlier. I have to go get ready for the evening. I love you and I will talk to you later.”
With disgust in her voice, his mother said, “Okay, well be careful wherever you go tonight.” Obi loved his mom for wanting to help him out, but unfortunately, she didn’t think physical appearance in picking a woman was important. She was more concerned about what career the person selected and if they were a nice person. He usually relied on his sister, Chinwe, to check on the women to see if they fit his standards.
Obi got a text message from Chike telling him that Lamar and he were on the way to the Chill Spot. Obi started to get dressed and make his way out towards his destination. While driving, he started to think about the great times with his friends at The Chill Spot. Even though it was a regular soul food restaurant, the place would be jumping on the weekends. Obi and his friends started going there during his sophomore year of college and continued up till today. . Even when Obi would come home from law school, he would make it a point to go to the Chill Spot. Beyond the great food and strong margaritas, it was a great place to see women after the club and also have freewheeling conversations ranging from women to sports.
Obi started to reflect on the countless numbers he got from going there along with the many females he messed with because of it. The Chill Spot was always the gift that kept on giving. By the time he had realized it, Obi had pulled up at The Chill Spot. As he got out of the car, he headed toward the patio and saw Lamar and Chike.
“There he goes; the birthday boy is in the house. I thought you were done after all that drinking you did last night. You know if you didn’t come through I would have called you out,” Lamar said. “I know you would have, nigga. All you do is live to talk shit,” Obi said. Lamar Smith is Obi’s best friend from college. They both met in freshman orientation playing pickup basketball and have been cool ever since. If Chike was considered to be Obi’s older brother, Lamar was Obi’s alter ego. Lamar took more chances in life and had more game when it came to women. Even though Obi was very smart and played basketball in high school; he was relatively quiet and shy when it came to talking to girls. He usually got girls from one of his teammates putting him down and the girl just being taken away with him because he played basketball. Even though he got his share of girls; he never got the ones he really wanted. He also knew that going to college would be different and the girls wouldn’t know him. He would actually have to talk to them. Lamar taught him to use his height to his advantage and he would say, “Obi, nigga, you 6 foot 4 inches and these chicks will be on your dick.”
Lamar would also tell him that he should treat women the same regardless of how fine or ugly they are. Lamar’s favorite quote was short and simple. He would say, “Treat the rocks and stars the same.”