My Imaginary Dialogue with Alicia Keys Rap on You Don’t Know My Name

In a random conversation I had with the work homie yesterday, we discussed the super awfulness of Alicia Keys new single, Girl On Fire. We talked about how corny she’s always been, but still she maintained to make some decent songs. (well maybe we didn’t say all of that but that’s how I feel about it) The conversation got me thinking though; I mean when Song In A Minor came out, I wasn’t really feeling the songs or her look. But You Don’t Know My Name changed all of that, and I have been low key loving on her albums and totally crushing on her grown woman steez.

But back when they were running this song / video in the ground, I used to have responses rolling around in my head when I heard A Keys making that stalkerish phone call that went something like this:

Alicia Keys: Hello? Can I speak to – to Michael?

Me: Who is Michael? This is me.

AK: Oh hey, how you doing?

Me: Uhhh…me? I’m good. Who dis?

AK: Uh, I feel kinda silly doing this, but um, this is the waitress from the coffee house on 39th and Lennox. You know, the one with the braids?

Me: *raises eyebrow* Yeaaaahh, the light skinned chick that makes my hot chocolate all good and stuff. What’s up?

AK: You come in every Wednesday on your lunch break I think. And you always order the special, with the hot chocolate. And my manager be tripping and stuff, talking bout we gotta use water, but I always use some milk and cream for you, ’cause I think you’re kinda sweet.

Me: I knew you were hooking up my hot chocolate! But yeah, I like to go on my lunch break and order the special wherever I go.

AK: Anyway, you always got on some fly blue suit, and your cufflinks are shining all bright. So what do you do?

Me: I drive around the town in a minivan.

AK: Oh, word?

Me: Yeah, I mean, uhh word.

AK: Yeah, that’s interesting.

Me: It is. You know I really like the Dodge Grand Caravan, because of the Stow N Go feature, that lets you stuff the seats in the floor, but since I’ve had the triplets, I’ve been petitioning Dodge to start making an eight passenger minivan, bu

AK: Look man, I mean I don’t wanna waste your time but, I know girls don’t usually do this

Me: Well…

AK: But I was wondering if maybe we could get together, outside the restaurant one day. ’cause I do look a lot different outside my work clothes.

Me: You know I’m married right?

AK: I mean we could just go across the street, to the park right here…

Me: I heard you were into married dudes, but I didn’t believe…

AK: Wait, hold up, my cell phone’s breaking up, hold up. Can you hear me now?

Me: Yeah.

AK: So, what did you say?

Me: I said, I heard you was into married dudes, but…

AK: Oh yeah, Thursday’s perfect man

Me: But I come in on Wednesday’s.

Bus Stops

Inspired by the scenery taken in while pushing the minivan through these mean city streets.

She found him more attentive since they left his house. Unprompted, he grabbed her hand when they walked to the bus stop. The sun was streaking shades of purple and orange across the sky. It was getting late. She told her mother, she was staying after school to go to an information session about the debate team. That wasn’t a lie when she told it, she told she wanted to join the debate team since last year.

But at lunch, he asked her to come over after school. His parents would be out of town until Friday. When they arrived at his house, he played some of his father’s old vinyl just for the novelty of looking at the records spin around on the record player. The Isley Brothers were played, and shortly afterward, they began to kiss. He positioned himself in between her, and then made awkward attempts to seduce her.

He stood behind her and rested his chin on her shoulder while they waited on the bus. She couldn’t believed what just happened. She wasn’t mad at him for lying to her or anything, she was just let down by what she expected and what actually happened. She missed the debate team information session for this; and unless they were handing out rejections to people with her name at the door, her time would have been better spent at the info session. He wasn’t to blame though, she just thought he was cute, and also dull, and a little too fast on the draw.

He was saying nice things, not necessarily things that she found flattering or sweet, but things that may have been more effective on someone else. His voice was close enough to her ear, that it gave her a tickle in her neck. She smiled, and he thought he was making a connection, but the tickle triggered her smile, she just wanted to make sure she remembered to see Mrs. Borden tomorrow about the debate team.

Checking Out

I noticed her shoulder first. It was bare, smooth, and well moisturized. She wore one of those soft fabric tank tops that cling and fall against the torso in flattering ways on most body types. It was one of those pleasant surprises that any male beyond the eighth grade would appreciate and move on without it getting too skeevy.

Eighth grade for me was in the mid-eighties, so like a man who had seen things, I emptied my shopping cart onto the conveyer belt. It was an assortment of snacks and heat to eat goodies for the many children that reside in my home: tater tots, hot dogs, ramen noodles, potato chips, cookies, sodas, artificially flavored juices. The sodium and high fructose corn syrup levels would spike shortly after I returned from the grocery store.

I was done, so I scanned the tabloid headlines, and then noticed the groceries in front of mine. Aside from some greek yogurt, it was almost entirely produce: a head of lettuce, tomatoes, packaged strawberries, zucchini, squash, a ginger root, eggplant and some other stuff I didn’t recognize. The stark contrast of groceries on either side of that grocery divider caused one part jealousy, and two parts shame. Jealousy, because whatever she was cooking looked more interesting than mundanity I had going on in my groceries; shame because I was a willing participant in this fast food nation of idiots who were getting fatter by the minute.

My eyes caught the fine tendrils of her hair that spiraled and curled towards the nape of her neck. It triggered a devolultion of thought that wasn’t appropriate for a man in my position. I assumed she could cook, and then I inserted myself into these imaginary informal gatherings, with imaginary friends, where we would drink cheap wine, tell stories and laugh, and she would lower her head and giggle at the impolite suggestions I would whisper in her ear when I stole a moment during this imaginary gathering.

I’d gone too far. It was a good possibility I crossed the line and had done some unabashed staring at strangers. I needed something to bring me back within the fold.

“Look what I got!” said my beautiful, adoring, never-do-anything wrong, wife, waving two pints of Butter Pecan Haagen Dazs.

“Nice” I replied.

“Oh! I forgot. Be a sweetheart and go get the diapers.” she said in an overly sweet voice to cushion the task requested.

“Yes dear”.