Lockdown Reviews: The Chambermaid

“The Chambermaid” is a Mexican film about a twenty four year old hotel maid who works in an upscale hotel Mexico City named Eve. It is in Spanish and I watched it with English subtitles. This movie doesn’t have a lot of action and it barely has a plot but nonetheless I enjoyed it.

There is absolutely nothing special about Eve. She is average looking, mild mannered and bit standoffish. She makes her living in a low skilled job and isn’t particularly ambitious.

The film follows Eve through her days at work in the hotel. She experiences annoying, odd and pushy hotel guests, phony coworkers, a workplace fling and disappointment at work. It’s fascinating. We know very little about Eve’s life outside of the hotel except that she has a four year old son that is cared for by a babysitter.

I find average people to be interesting. There’s always a story there that could rival any Hollywood production. I’ve had numerous service industry jobs and I can tell you that I’ve met some real characters with interesting back stories.

There is so much drama and tension involved in workplace relationships and politics. I think that’s particularly true in low wage jobs. People that work in low wage, service industry jobs have more stress and inconsistency in there lives which leads to more pressure and things such as promotions and raises that could pay a few more cents an hour are higher stakes.

There were brief moments of suspense in the movie when a guest requested extra towels and we weren’t sure if she would be able to remember the room number to where they were supposed to be delivered. She wrote the number on her hand but I was afraid she would get her hands wet or sweat the ink off. The melodrama in the movie is very subtle.

Eve is the kind of person that goes through life almost invisible and she’s not particularly interested in being seen. This was her story and it was enjoyable to watch.

Lockdown Reviews: For Small Creatures Such as We

I finished ” For Small Creatures Such as We” by Sasha Sagan early on into quarantine. I spotted it in the library and thought it would be an interesting read. I don’t remember what I thought the book was going to be about but this wasn’t it. I didn’t care for the book at all. “For Small Creatures Such as We” isn’t terrible. I just have a completely different outlook on the world and I had a hard time relating to the author.

The author is an atheist woman with Jewish heritage that enjoys observing various cultural rituals, including religious rituals. Sasha feels that societal rituals add meaning to her life. I enjoy social activities, gatherings and decorating for holidays. To me it is just for fun and enjoyment so I would agree that rituals bring meaning to life. For me the rituals are not spiritual at all. That includes rituals and traditions inspired by religious holidays such as putting up a Christmas tree.

Sasha crossed my mind during the quarantine. Rituals mean a lot to her and all rituals that are performed outside of your own home and have more participants than a few people were cancelled. Easter, Mother’s Day and graduation rituals were all erased because of COVID 19. Just like that the things that gave her life meaning were taken away from her. I would be interested in hearing her thoughts on life during the 2020 quarantine.

Rituals are fine because they bring people together. I think that we all took a lot for granted before the COVID 19 quarantines. The rituals that we choose to participate in are more for the benefit of tightening social bonds which is important and enriches your life. I missed certain rituals but they are no substitute for having faith in Jesus Christ which isn’t a ritualistic act.

So “For Creatures Small as We” is interesting because it gave showed me a point of view that is very different from my own but I can’t say that I enjoyed the book because I couldn’t relate to the author because of her perspective.

Unity Is Not The Answer

America has been in violent turmoil for more than a week after the death of George Floyd. The catalyst for the tumult was Floyd’s gruesome murder by a former Minneapolis police officer that was captured on video by a bystander. After a few days of the suspects no being arrested and outrage in the media Americans took to the streets in protests. Some of the demonstrations were peaceful but there was also property damage, looting, injuries and deaths.

Once the protests became violent and the president responded with the threat of more violence there have been calls for unity. But unity is not the answer. I live in Kansas City, MO and there is a Unity March scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. The mayor and police chief will be there along with demonstrators. This is simply an opportunity for a photo op and a heartwarming headline and hashtag in the media.

The Unity march that is scheduled in an area Kansas City park tomorrow is an attempt to appease White people’s feelings. Whenever there are racial tensions in America White people call for unity. However they want unity on their terms. Calling for unity in America is not genuine because White Americans typically flee diversity in order to concentrate their resources in their communities. Those in power want submission, not unity.

The words unity and coming together are used to pacify Black people and silence frustration and anger. Americans love segregation and Blacks shouldn’t forget that. The mayor and police force know what the problems are. They need to get to work, find solutions and implement policies. They have been empowered by citizens to do so and they shouldn’t be wasting time at picnics while the country is in crisis.

Black Americans also need to focus on getting our houses in order so that people outside of our community don’t matter as much. Fortify yourself, your family and your community spiritually, financially and physically. Taking care of ourselves and families will make us less vulnerable and we’ll be better able to defend ourselves.

Black Americans often seek out White validation in order to gain social standing or take advantage of opportunities in other communities. We need to build our own opportunities and wealth. We need to seek validation from each other. We need to learn to value one another. In other words mind your own Black business.

I’m not saying there is anything wrong with having a relationship of any sort with any person who is not Black. We live in a multi cultural society and friendships, romances and work/business relationships will develop. But if you are a Black man or woman that is confident and proud of yourself you will more of an asset in any liaison with any race.

White supremacy is not going to change. If anything it is going to become more extreme. Black people need to learn to rely on themselves and develop a stronger infrastructure within our own community. Start small and set small financial goals for yourself such as getting $x in the bank, cleaning up your credit or maintaining good credit and repaying debts. There is no need to make a spectacle of it. Quietly secure your future and mind your Black business.

I hope Black people don’t fall for the okey doke about the ruse of unity. Don’t hug or cry to cops. Don’t make having a White friend group or lover your goal because you think it will increase your social standing. Be confident and proud of who you are. Value your own culture and your own family. It will make you a better friend or lover to whomever you choose. Move quietly and secure a future for yourself and your family.

I have no interest in fighting racism. I am interested in seeing Black people develop their own economic engine and vibrant social network. This would make us less vulnerable to attacks and gives us more leverage to fight attacks against us. Mind your Black business and build prosperity for yourself and your family. That’s the only way to fight the power. Unity with racists helps the racist. It does nothing for you.

Lockdown Reviews: A Father First, How My Life Became Bigger Than Basketball

During the COVID 19 Lockdown I read the biography A Father First, How My Life Became Bigger Than Basketball by retired NBA star Dwyane Wade.  The book was published in 2012.  It tells the story of Dwyane’s life while focussing on his relationship with his boys.  He is the father of two sons and he also raised his nephew who needed a home.

For the most part I enjoyed A Father First.  The book is a bit slow moving in parts but it was interesting and touching at other times.  I am an NBA fan and I followed Dwyane’s career for year but I didn’t know much about him personally.  Dwyane lived with his three sisters, two of which were from his mother’s previous relationships, his mom and his dad.  He was the baby of the family.

Wade stated that his family was far from wealthy but when his parents were together his life had stability and the family had what they needed even thought their lives were modest.  His parents, Dwyane and Jolinda, divorced when Wade was a young boy.  His mother admitted that the split was due to her controlling ways.  Everything changed for Dwyane and his sisters after the break up.

Dwyane didn’t see his father often.  His two older sister went to live with friends or other relatives.  Dwyane and his younger sister remained with his mother who developed a serious drug habit.  She had abusive relationships with men after her divorce.  His mother’s boyfriends were involved with drug trafficking and Chicago PD raided his home.  Young Dwyane Wade often went hungry.  His childhood trials made him decide as a young boy that if he became a father that he would be devoted, responsible and loyal.

Dwyane’s grandmother was the matriarch of his large extended family.  Dwyane had a lot of respect for his grandmother and she was always available to offer help.  He and his sister didn’t always seek her help because they didn’t want anyone to know about their mother’s struggle.

Wade went to live with his father, stepmother and brothers when he was in upper elementary school and his life improved.  His sister who he was closest with was not taken in by the dad.  His father and stepmother had another baby, a girl.  While living with his dad sports became a big part of Dwyane’s life.  His dad was his first coach and his brothers were his competitors.

He had a growth spurt in high school and it got the attention of coaches and recruiters.  Dwyane later went to Marquette University.  While he was a student he married his high school sweetheart and became a first time father.  He and his wife had a rocky marriage and later a terribly dramatic divorce after being drafted into the NBA by the Miami Heat and having another baby.

Jolinda had a religious epiphany while she was a fugitive of the law.  She turned herself in to serve her time.  While she was in prison she became free of her drug habit and studied her Bible.  She started a storefront church once she was a free woman and her son later bought her a church with his NBA fortune.  The other details of the book were about his college and NBA career.  I skimmed through those pages because neither were very interesting to me.

I would recommend the book if you’re an NBA fan.  The book can be a bit dry but it kind of mirrors Dwyane’s personality.  He’s never come across as very dramatic or talkative.  Jolinda’s story is inspiring even though I resented her for the way her children suffered due to her shortcoming.  Dwyane’s decision to be a committed family man at a young age is also inspirational.  It’s a good read if you have the time.

Lockdown Reviews: Showboat The Life of Kobe Bryant

Like much of the United States and possibly the world I am on lockdown because of COVID – 19.  I have two jobs and both have shut down for the last five weeks due to government orders to prevent the spread of the plague.  This has given me a lot of time to catch up on reading.  I checked out the biography Showboat:  The Life of Kobe Bryant shortly after the NBA star died and I didn’t get around to beginning the book until the quarantine in March.

I am an NBA fan but Kobe was never my guy.  He didn’t play for my team which is the Detroit Pistons.  I have chanted BEAT LA in my living room many, many times.  Most of that energy was directed towards Kobe.  When Kobe died on January 26 I was shocked and saddened.  Even though I’ve never been a Kobe fan I respect his success and I appreciate what he did for the game for twenty years.

This biography is very well written, well researched and detail oriented.  This book is essentially an NBA history that focused on the late 90s to the mid 2010s.  There are accounts of injuries, trades, games and series.  The book is a little less than six hundred pages so it is a long and at times dry read.

I enjoy NBA but the minutiae of this book was a bit much for me.  I was disappointed that the author only devoted a paragraph or two to the 2004 Laker loss to the Detroit Pistons.  I was looking forward to reliving that in print but the author glossed over that glorious event.  But overall I enjoyed the book because it cleared up some of the folklore surrounding Kobe’s relationship with Vanessa, his mother and father and Shaquille O’Neal.  And yes, the rape trial was discussed.

This book reinforced all of my previous notions about Kobe Bryant.  He was an aloof man and fierce competitor.  Kobe Bryant was not a nice guy.  He didn’t really get along with anyone once he became a star.  But that wasn’t important to him.  Winning was.  He was meticulous in everything he did and was a diligent worker.  Kobe had no patience for people around him that didn’t live up to his standards and people were easily discarded.

Kobe also didn’t like to share the spotlight with others.  He didn’t want to share the spotlight with Shaquille O’Neal or Phil Jackson.  LA wasn’t big enough for all of them.  He never wanted it to be said that he needed them in order to be successful.  Kobe was a lot like a 1980s night time soap opera villain that was motivated by a single goal and he didn’t let anything get in his way.  Even though Kobe wasn’t warm and fuzzy I did like him more after reading this book.  I respect the man’s drive and passion.

I also disliked him more after reading this book.  By all accounts Kobe was a prick and so is his wife.  He stabbed Shaquille O’Neal in the back more than once.  He threw his coach Phil Jackson under the bus.  He turned his back on his parents and siblings and cut them off financially before marrying his wife Vanessa and buying a beautiful new home for her mother who was in financial straits before her daughter married the NBA star.  No one really seemed to get along with Kobe.  As an NBA fan I kind of already knew that.

I did learn some new details about Kobe’s life but there wasn’t a lot of new information for me in this book.  It’s fun to relive some of the NBA history that was written about in this book.  I enjoyed the dirt that the book shared on Kobe’s personal entanglements.  The author did a good job of giving us a backstage look at NBA life.  I would recommend the book if you’re an NBA fan.  You will enjoy it and it might make up for the NBA Playoffs being postponed.

 

Dating Scam: Low Bidding

I’ve discussed a few modern dating scams on this blog.  Low bidding is a tactic utilized by users, leeches and people with low self esteem.  (The leech can be male or female and any sexual orientation.  But I write from a heterosexual female point of view.)  They want a person (usually a woman) that is out of their reach.  Instead of using their energy and time trying to become a person (usually a man) that can get their dream date they settle.

Settling is not a bad thing if you have some appreciation for what you are settling for.  You may have wanted a juicy steak for dinner but you will settle for a can of ravioli.  Ravioli is delicious, inexpensive easy to make and convenient.  Sometimes it’s appropriate for the situation.  We’ve all settled at some point.  But if you’re going to be resentful and bitter instead of appreciative and grateful about the opportunity that presented itself to you please don’t settle.  Hold out for what you really want and leave the can of ravioli on the shelf for someone that would request canned ravioli for their last meal.  It’s all relative.

And settling is not a bad thing.  In this case I will call it redirection.  We all have a wish list and sometimes we find out the things on our list are not what they are cracked up to be, in short supply or the admiration is not returned.  At that point of getting checked by reality you need to recalculate your course and plan a new strategy.  We’ve all done it.  It’s called growing up.

Let’s say that a gentleman meets you and you hit some of his metrics.  You’re good enough for somethings but not others.  You may be good enough for the night time but not the day time.  You might be good enough for friends with benefits but not good enough to meet his friends.  He might put in a low bid.  Examples of low bidding are:

  • going dutch on dates
  • being vague about intentions
  • sexual innuendo/lack of respect
  • poor treatment

He’s letting you know from the start what he thinks you’re worth.  Only a desperate woman would accept any of the bids in the bullet points.  It’s up to you to set a high value  for yourself.  You can’t wait for men to value you because many of them don’t value themselves, women in general or long term relationships.  The term “pump and dump” comes to mind.

low bid

This photo came from an about bidding on materials in the construction business.  It illustrates why low bids can be a waste of time.  Here is the article if you are interested.

The Frustrating Truth About Deliberate Low Bids – No One Really Wins!

These men don’t value themselves as human beings if they are willing to share their body with any woman that will allow it.  That’s particularly true if they are having unprotected sex.  They don’t even care about potential offspring or their health.  And no, this isn’t a man being a man.  It’s a jerk being a jerk.  Jerk can be applied to either gender or the ones in between that I don’t quite understand.

If low bidders thought they could get a woman that met their standards to love and respect them they would pursue that.  They don’t think they can because they lack confidence.  Male language on social media reflects this.  Men that say they need to “get themselves together” or “get their money up” before pursuing a long term relationship are pretty much stating that they don’t have what it takes at the moment to attract a woman that they find worthy.  They don’t think of themselves as worthy.

I’m not saying that finances are not an issue.  But so is personality and couples can grow together.  And poverty is not an excuse to use another person.  If you want to wait until you’ve made your first million to pursue a relationship that is a respectable plan.  But don’t bother other people while you’re trying to achieve that goal.  You’ll probably get there faster without the distractions anyway.

Low bidding is a sign of a potential abusive partner.  He (or she) may do or say mean and inconsiderate things to see what their new potential partner is willing to tolerate.  They may like to control and exploit their partner.  Domination and intimidation is validating for bullies.

During the early stages of a relationship you should jump ship at the first sign of disrespect.  It’s easier to leave in the beginning because a big investment hasn’t been made.  A leopard doesn’t change it’s spots and bad situations usually don’t get better.  You just need to remove yourself from harmful relationships and the sooner you can do it the better.

The beginning stages of dating are an observation period.  If you observe troublesome behavior block the number and go on with your life.  Don’t allow low bidders to insult you and don’t entertain them if they decide to come back around.  If you allow them back into your life after kicking them out then you are behaving more desperate than you would have if you accepting them in the first place.  A leopard doesn’t change its spots and bad situations usually don’t get better.

leopard

He’s about to eat you up!

Imagine if you had a car for sale and you were aware of the Blue Book value.  You realistically assessed your car so you have a good idea of what you can get for it.  If you’re a smart business person you’re not going to accept a ridiculously low bid.  You’re going to disregard the low bidder as not serious and not allow them to waste anymore of your time.  Just block the number.

I made the comparisons to a single person on the dating market to meals and cars.  I’m just trying to make a point about a bidding process.  There are some things like real estate and cars that aren’t good values so they won’t warrant a high price.  However, human being are not property and inanimate objects.  No one is called to be used in a demolition derby, stripped for parts or torn down for what’s underneath them.  An Omaha 7 may never date an LA 9 but everyone that is nice deserves a suitable and loving partner.