Thursday, July 18, 2013

Propagation of a Facade II:The South Will Rise Again (TSWRA)

  The hook and the catch. Lothrop in and of its self, its absolute magnificence, its glory and prestige. Or perhaps Lothrop Hall and it’s disgusting quarters its lack of “essentials” its general ugly, boxy quarter century appearance. Is it remarkable how two people will view an item from a completely arbitrary vantage? To me Lothrop was the pinnacle of a high-rise luxury apartment, but to my general confusion most around me saw it as a crappy, dank flop house looking entity terrorizing the general aesthetics of our Oakland campus. However, what puzzled me the most actually was the amount of wealth to which people were accustomed. Students struggling against moving carts with belly’s full regurgitating large flat screen T.V.s. Armloads  shouting, boasting even the absolute latest in technology. Clothing, literally, racks on racks on racks (Y.C. what you got?) Honestly I wasn't hurt or upset or mad or jealous or whatever, just dumbfounded I caught myself staring at a few fellows in utter shock. I had seen this lifestyle before in like Ikea catalogues but to see it in real life was incredible.
   I never noticed how quote-un-quote “little” I had until people who stopped by my room would be like “Yo where’s all your stuff? Your room is like empty bro.” WHAT THE? I brought with my person to this city two WHOLE suitcases, a carry-on, and a backpack that’s a lot of stuff! Everything I had of value was crammed into these bags and I was proud of how much it was. Subhan ALLAH. Perfect paradigms of a country that vaunts equality. Nonetheless, we bring in the refrain this IS after all the propagation of a Façade. I quickly came up with the most believable excuse “Well you know coming on a plane can’t really bring too much with you” I assume it worked because people would shrug and be like “Oh yeah you’re right”. Catastrophe averted. His blending in with the upper echelons is over 9000!
  All the basics amenities that the average American grows up with were now available to me!! Lighting for example. The circuitry in my house is very old so a lot of the lighting fixtures don’t work combined with the fact that we were plainly too poor to afford new light bulbs; this fact is almost comical in retrospect. What would happen is we would eat dinner and then take that light bulb and put it in my mom’s room immediately following and then when I would get ready to take a shower I would take it and put it in the bathroom, and then if my sister wanted to do some bed time reading we would take it and put it in her lamp. End day, repeat cycle. So because of having no light in my room I had gotten used to finishing, cramming, as it were, all of my “studying” and various light requiring activities into the daylight hours. However with the Pretty Lights installed in my condo (hey to me it’s a condo) my study time was exponentially Increased!!! Showers? Hah grrreaaat! I wouldn’t really call my shower back in Stone Mountain a shower Masha ALLAH, it’s more of a glorified water faucet. It didn’t really perform its namesake, it more or less dribbled scalding hot to lukewarm to freezy water (that is to say 0-60 in 4 mins flat!) down your front and then randomly sputtered off, calling it a day. But now I could take my time and not worry about the hot water running out for my sister’s bath. Dopeaf.
  People often complained about the lack of air-conditioning in Lothrop. I was like yo I’m from the south and never had air-conditioning what’s really good? This is simply what I’m used to so while people were struggling to not melt I was playing it cool. (ßthankyou) BUT, possibly the most life changing FACT I ever heard, still to this day even, was that according to Pennsylvania Law, schools are only required to provide heat in the winter not air in the summer.
   Now I’d like to take this time to clear up a misconception about the territory that lies below the Mason-Dixon Line formally known as The American South (which WILL rise again). It’s not always hot. It gets hot in the summer and spring but in late fall and winter it is blistering cold! On top of the fact that the houses in Stone Mountain are designed to keep cool air in and hot air out. So energy rates in the South are through the roof. This being said my mom could only afford to turn the heat on for an hour a day, 30 mins in the morning 30 mins at night. Sometimes though at night she would fall asleep and the heat would stay on by accident those were the best nights w’ALLAHi, but then again that would only mean we had to cut out heat somewhere else in the week. So yeah, I have countless memories of my sister and I consolidating our body heat and blankets into one big inferno in the middle of my bed on the rougher nights. So when winter hit I got the most out of that poor ol’ radiator in my room keeping it on full blast all the time. Of course at the “top of the hole sit a privileged few” who would come into my room and complain about the heat. But as we all know by now, this is the propagation of a façade. My reply “I’m from the South I get cold easily.”

I keep tellin ya’ll
We’re all gonna make it brahs,
-Zyzz Yusuf

And like a fat kid in dodge ball, I’m out.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Propagation of a Facade

  It should be pointed out that I mention my "problems" or past socio-economic "inadequacies" simply to provide a point of reference for why I seem to act a certain way to those who know me or knew of me. Or if this is your first time ever hearing of me to maybe understand "the war*". Its not my intention to complain or  to feel sorry for myself, I never have, (just wanted to state that to readers). mostly because I believe Masha ALLAH, Qadr ALLAH. Besides a very,very long time ago I stopped waiting for the storm to pass and learned how to DANCE IN THE FREAKING RAIN.It took a few try's but now I give Gene a run for his money. On that note this is how Pitt taught me that all of our problems are relative to our own environment. 

  Pitt, (or maybe Dr. Laura Brown?) provided me the unique opportunity to view how other people live, and it can be assumed that the office of relations between eager freshmen and getting them to explore other cultures for the progress of  our beautiful country (if such an entity exists.) intended this. I would say for the first three weeks of so just like the majority of you hated this age old obstacle that has been cog-nominated by the masses as "institution of higher learning". I was so different from everyone, yeah? 

 Now all week I've struggled with wondering how deep to take you guys into my past, Where I truly came from, but I decided this is as much for me as it is for all, a means for venting, as it were. These are the various entities on campus slapped me in the face with "the war*"  because well this is the propagation of a facade.

 MARKET CENTRAL:  Food.Glorious.Food. The first time I had ever seen so much variety of food available to me ever! It was like every 'eid and ramadan iftar all rolled into one! I felt like Jesus(peace be upon him) and his Disciples(may GOD be pleased with them) In the Qur'an! Table spread Indeed. Every time I walk (present tense cuz still this still happens) into Market I can be confused with the Cheshire cat . Sometimes when I was eating pangs of guilt would shower over my body. Sitting there thinking while I'm in Oakland gorging on grilled cheese and cocoa puffs,  back in Stone Mountain my mother and sister are also having a feast. On a much lower scale however, one 15 cent pack of ramen noodles and maybe a can of corn if they were lucky. I would remember how we would split that three ways,two adults and one child. and it would go like this: I would eat my portion and go to my room waiting for the morning where I would go to school and get my free lunch and breakfasts, but my little sister would not be so content she would cry and argue with my mother demanding more, to no avail. But what was there else to eat? The two week old tomato sauce in the back of the fridge? Some mayo? Help yourself. 
  In the hallways of Lothrop (FOURTH FLOOR!!) the resounding chorus would often be "Market sucks, there's nothing to eat it's so nasty blah blah blah." I would literally slap myself with disbelief 'If you but knew'. But this is the propagation of a facade. So I Smiled laughed and usually made up a lie amongst the lines of   "Yeah, but my mom can't cook so I like it." at least that would explain why every time I went why I took so much food. 
   The Muslim perspective (the Muslims I ate with of course) is a bit different. Often without fail one of us would say "Alhumdulilah this is so much food we are so lucky that we have this at our fingertips ao many people don't have this." And this statement would be complimented with a cheesy smile and resounding ALLAHu Akbars, and Subhan ALLAH's,agreements from everyone else. Of course I would laugh and say Alhumdulilah, but this is a propagation of a facade. Secretly I would become ENRAGED when someone said something like this I would feel so angry like don't patronize me I know what it's like I've lived like that my entire life! All the little smiles felt like they were almost joking about it. It's not their fault, Alhumdulilah, they are very good brothers and they are rightly guided I guess it was jealousy that I never knew this lifestyle before, may ALLAH protect us from that.

 That was just one aspect of my new life but In sha ALLAH a part two will follow soon. Stay tuned cuz wer'e all gonna make it brahs.

-Zyzz Yusuf

*No war but the class war.