“So, friendgirl, you know, I was gonna say, you know. I don’t care for that. You know. People are crazy, trippin’,” you know. Been col’ chillin’ all day. Gots go to work. I’m gettin’ ready as we speak. You know how that is. You just off work. Does it matter if you’re a big so-called dog? I would move up to the mountains, if I could. I prefer animals over humans. You Know.”
“I have to unwind. I left early today. I brought the case home. I need to write a Memorandum of Points and Authorities regarding a DUI. My client was inebriated—driving under the influence.”
“Hold it. You said you off. Consider yourself off. You Know. You trippin’ and you crazy. You Know what I was gonna say. You Know. I hate people.
I’d rather live with animals than bow down to the majority. You know.”
“Gee, Golly, Wow. I do not know what you were going to say. I really do not Know. I like animals. too. As for people tripping, where are they going? And about crazy, I am not sure if we have a clear meeting of the minds when it comes to certain words. Crazy. Crazy. I just do not understand your language. Can you expound on that?”
“Expound on it. H to the No. You trippin’. You know, um what I’m saying? You know what I mean. We friends. You down. Stop Trippin’. H to the No! You should hear yourself. You Know. Mask or no mask. We are not speaking their language. They just see black. We work so hard to be what we are not. You Know.”
“I really don’t know. I don’t know how other people interpret slang. I’m down-to-earth. I’m not trying to impress anyone, but so many people are. I just need to unwind”
“Yeah ya do. You at home now. You off. You Know.”
“No, I Really Don’t Know.”
“You are trippin’.”
“Hold on.” I place the phone on the counter. I see my reflection in the mirror. I am wearing a mask. I have to wear it everyday at work. Some people just can’t be themselves. I’m a professional and that’s just not good enough. I can’t be myself. Mask! Mask! I’m tired of conforming—playing roles. Phonies. Can’t you spot a phony a mile away even if he or she is in suit?
I yank off my wig, drop my locs, kick off my heels, and make my favorite drink—a Cape Cod. Gulp! And return to the phone.
“Whew! Hey you, I’m back. Snap. Crackle, and Pop.”
“You trippin’. You Know. You crazy. So your mask is hanging on the wall. You’re finally unwinding. Uptight. The changes we go through.”
“You ain’t never lied. Snapped off the mask, saw Crackle in my eyes, and popped the cork. Crazy people are funny people to me. They’re characters. I’d hate to live in a world without ‘em. I’d be bored. Characters make me laugh. You Know.”
“With that said, I must leave for work now, friendgirl. Meet the majority.”
“I’m so relaxed. I’m off. You Know.”
“No, I Really Don’t Know.”
“Oh, I Really Don’t Know. She had nerve enough to say to me. Before I enter the world of the majority, I choose an attractive mask. If we don’t conform, we risk losing our jobs. Everyone has to pay the rent, the mortgage. It takes time to unwind–to meet yourself when come home. I ain’t mad at her. I took mine off. She put hers on. Mask! Mask! We ain’t fooling nobody but ourselves. Our mask doesn’t change their opinion of us.”
Vivian Dixon Sober