Friday, August 28, 2009

Elevator Observations Part IV - Stop Frontin'!

I step onto the E elevators at Grady one day, and the other person is this fifty-something year old gentleman dressed in a white t-shirt that is 5 sizes too big, pants sagging around his bottom with 75% of his underwear showing, fancy sneakers with the laces untied, and a shiny "bling-bling" chain around his neck. (If you are imagining this fifty-something year old dude being dressed like a teenager in downtown Atlanta or perhaps a twenty year old hip hop star, you have the right image.) To make it even worse, he had his hair in a dreadlocked style, and the poor locks attached to his receding hairline were holding on for dear life. Yeah, the whole sight was just fraught with peril.

As if his appearance wasn't enough, picture this part:

When I step onto the elevator, the dude sucks his teeth--which happen to be covered with gold fronts-- pulls the toothpick out of his mouth (oh, forgot to mention the toothpick), and looks me up and down. Very, very slowly. Flashes me his very best, gold grill smile. TING! (literally)
Please don't say anything to me, please don't say anything to me.
I give him the quick "how you doing" nod, and hope that this will be the extent of our encounter.
Pu-leeeaaase! Come on, y'all! This is Grady!

"So, aaaaahhhh," he started after another tooth suck, "you a doctor?"
I won't be snobby. I won't be snarky. He just asked a simple question. He's African-american, I'm African-american. Maybe he's just proud of me. Yeah, that's it. What's the big deal? Just answer the damn question.
"Yes, sir, I'm a doctor." Genuine smile. Straightening up and looking respectable to my fellow brotha. Another nod. Yeah, proud of me. Power to the people.

"So what kind of medicine you practice?" Okay. Not so bad. Definitely proud of me.
"Internal Medicine, sir." Pleasant. Nice. Nothing fresh about his question. See? Just because he is dressed like a playa doesn't mean he is a playa.

He started nodding his head really, really slowly with the corners of his mouth turned downward. "Unh, Unh, Unh!" he said flashing every last one of the gold fronts. (Okay, think of the "unh! unh! unh!" at the beginning of the song "Brick House.") OMG. Is that a champagne glass design in his front tooth? Wo-ow. This is not good. Pretty sure this is NOT just about a brotha being proud of a sista for making it through med school.
"So Internal Medicine, huh?" Looks me up and down again and twirls the toothpick in the side of his mouth. Eeeeewww.
"Well, babygirl, I practice External Medicine," he replied followed by a "heh, heh, heh." Wait--did he just call me "babygirl" like I was Thelma from Good Times?

Yep, it was as disturbing as it sounds, yet instead of being completely appalled -- I was completely amused. I could tell this guy had been saving that mack-daddy line up for a long time, and thanks to me, he finally got his big chance. Part of me wonders if he simply thought this was just a funny thing to say, or if he actually thought I might be wooed by his incredible comic slash mack-daddy timing. You never know at Grady. Plus, you've just got to love the audacity of it all. It's pretty cool to live in a world where there's no such thing as "out of my league." I bet there would be a lot less single folks out there if they weren't so afraid to unleash their witty one liners like the gold front, receding dreadlocked, fifty-something year old, elevata playa.

So, yeah, he practices External medicine. . . . . . . .fortunately, I reached my floor before he had a chance to prove it.

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