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Cairo

The thought of having a roommate never appealed to me. When I walked into my tiny dorm room and saw my complete opposite reading a self-help book on his bed, I tried to mask my frustration, and began rushing my things into room 507. I noisily dropped two suitcases full of my most valuable items, my shoes, hats, and wardrobe, said What up? as I turned, darted out the door and ran back downstairs to dads truck to get the rest of my stuff. I didnt stop and wait for him to put his book down or even to respond. Completely avoiding eye contact with him and purposely not leaving any room for him to engage me when I bolted out of our room. Passing dad on the way down the five flights of tradition, I yelled out, 507 Dad, to prevent a delivery mistake. I grabbed my 19 TV and wished there was an elevator in my historic new home as I entered James Hall. I got up the first three flights quick and easy, but the un-air-conditioned buildings air got thin as I rounded the fourth floor bannister. I slowly dragged my one sixty-five plus the sixtyfive pound television up the last couple of stairs and put the TV down when I got to the penthouse floor to rest my back. Once my heavy breathing finally quieted down, I could hear someone cracking up laughing down the hall. Dad was standing in the doorway, holding it open so I could bring my TV in. Back home, he recommended I didnt bring a TV. At the time it sounded like the craziest advice hed offered thus far because he said, Youre not going to need a TV. Just watch someone elses if you really want to look at TV. Like your roommate Duh (Another attempt at being cool dad)! Or go to the Student Union, they got TVs in there. The steps had me ready to tell pops, You

were right. But another more observant glance at Timothy Handler from Connecticut, and I knew we wouldnt be liking to watch the same things on TV anytime soon. I set the bulky idiot box on my desk and searched for a plug, but Timothy was using all of them. Unfriendly and aggravated as a result of the ninety-degree temperature in the room I asked, Yo Timothy, let me plug this power strip in so we both can use some electricity. Dad tried to soften my bossy tone by changing subjects and asking, Did Tim tell you he was in the band Cairo? The Force! The baddest band in the land! I shook my head no, disgusted grit on my face, which indicated I didnt give a crap. It already pissed me off to see him on my on the side of the room when I walked back in with the TV. I would have picked the bed by the window if I had gotten to the room first. I was ticked off my dad decided to break the ice after I set the tone I wanted. When I caught Dads eye, I nodded at Timothy reading, shook my head dumfounded, and shrugged my shoulders. I mouthed silently so Dad could read my lips, Why is he reading a self-help book at 11:30 in the afternoon on the first day of the best part of his life? I was more disgusted than I ever imagined being when I anticipated this wicked scenario happening to me. To top it all off, Dad looked like he was trying to get a little comfortable, prolonging his departure. I know its not good to judge people a first glance but I could tell this bama was a weirdo. Everything about this joker screamed farmer and I could tell he never been anywhere near the Chocolate City. He didnt have a sprinkle of swag about him and I hope he doesnt try to tag along with me around campus. I stopped myself from going to far off into the world of, I Hate My Roommate and tried to put a positive spin on the situation by hoping he turned out to be a bookworm I could convince to do my work.

After I stopped thinking about my living situation for five seconds and appreciated where I was, I started noticing how differently all of us dressed. If you ever have been to DC you would understand why I was confused and surprised because most DC fellas dress similarly. If you wore anything to eccentric or outdated, you would be called a bama. And being considered a bama is social destruction in the Chocolate City. At one point some of the cleanest players came and finest black woman came out of DC. There has always been a great sense of pride surrounded around being a Washingtonian for its Black population. DC has been considered the Chocolate City since the great George Clinton stamped it in the1970s. Being one of the largest per capita populations of intelligent working class minorities, DC and its surrounding suburban urban neighborhoods have been able to produce a dominant generation of educated Black Americans throughout its glory years. Ironically, close to a million African Americans in the Nations Capitol have never been given any representation in the House or Senate despite their tax contribution to the Federal and local government. Some people attribute the taxation without representation to the lack of Statehood. Others consider it racism. As recent as the year 2012, some powers that be only believe the District deserves to only have a Shadow Senator. The Honorable Ms. Eleanor Holmes Norton has been an asset to the Nations Capitol, but our cities predominantly black democratic vote still doesnt count with the rest of our fellow American citizens. Many lifelong Washingtonians and advocates for DCs statehood believe the current system will change as soon as the Black population in DC decreases or the white population rises. There are also a vast number of people who believe Marion Barrys antics as mayor, and conflicts with the legislative branch during his time as mayor, stunted opportunities for the

District. -Most importantly, the Capitol Citys statehood proposal, and congressional voting rights. The Chocolate City has been robbed of valuable tax revenue for decades. Forcing its public school system to suffer and denying the inner city valuable resources that would create jobs and help battle crime. The majority of Beltway Bandits and Federal Government employees eat off of DC, but choose to live in Northern Virginia or Maryland where they pay their income taxes and their states reap the benefits from doing so. Both states are home to some of the United States richest and also can boast about their public schools systems. Yet these weevil-like commuters scoff at the idea of dropping change into toll buckets for The Nations Capitol. Prince Georges County, Maryland borders Washington DC and is home to the wealthiest population of Blacks. Today, many of PGs residents are the offspring of the great Black Washingtonians from the 50s 60s and 70s. They are some of the first beneficiaries of integration, affirmative action and to opportunity to afford and attend college. Maybe thats why people from DC act like they are somebody important everywhere the go. The only other people I know with that big time Hollywood persona are New Yorkers. They have the dominant attitude believing theyre going to take over everywhere they go, and so do I. The only thing I had left to grab was my trunk. Dad told Tim to come help me so he could just leave and not have to travel back upstairs. Pure game. I had to laugh because Tim felt obligated to help me after my pops befriended him by telling a couple of band stories from his days at The Institute or Toot. I could hear Tims flip-flops flipping before I actually saw him slapping down the stairs. I dont know what kind of spell my dad put on him, but my roommate appeared to be the lazy type

who didnt help anyone. When he handed my dad his phone, told him goodbye, and turned to help me with my trunk, I realized my dad had been right about everything. But it was still time for him to leave. I gave my pops the hug he had been looking forward to, when he started planting the Hampton bug in my ear years ago. His boy had finally followed in his footsteps, becoming a Hamptonian. His final goal was to get in his car without letting me see him cry. I felt the emotion in the air. I gave one last hug without eye contact and reached down for the handle on my trunk. I wasnt ready to see my dad cry. Tim and I started lugging the heavy rectangle to the steps. I didnt look back until I heard dads door slam. Free at last, free at last! I chanted in my Dr. King voice as I walked through James Halls threshold.