Beaches, Kittens and an Election

Keep it light.

Stay away from politics.

Entertain and/or inform.

These are basic tenets here at Urban Upscale so I will do my level best to adhere to them. We seek to entertain and inform. There are a ton of websites and a plethora of pundits out there taking political jabs at the other side. That is not our space.

Well, here is an applicable, “real life” analogy about real life that I can only hope will rectify itself without taking a decade as I fear that it might. And, hopefully, the following will provide all three of our aforementioned editorial principles while walking that tightrope that many of us seem to be teetering on lately.

I took Da Missus on a West Michigan/Anniversary trip last week. We aren’t ready to fly yet. The west coast of the state of Michigan has absolutely beautiful beaches with sugary sands that gently slope into Lake Michigan. The best part, geographically speaking, is that these beaches span the entire length of Lake Michigan. Over 1,400 miles! So let’s make a whole tour of it shall we? Different stops for each night! It was our anniversary so we didn’t need bright lights, night clubs, bars or concerts. Just “quaintness”. And as horrible or terrific luck would have it, this worked out perfectly since COVID is still a thing and no clubs are open anyway. But as I planned our trip, I had concerns about the Grand Haven leg of our trip (Which is only a couple of hours drive from us). There was only one hotel that was close to the lake and that had lake views. I have been married too long to book anything with a view of a parking lot for our anniversary. I never would have heard the end of that! This hotel received wonderful reviews on all the travel sites but the decor was…umm…too “quaint”. Quilts instead of duvets. Plaid carpeting. The front desk had limited hours. It really had a “Bed & Breakfast feel”.  But on the strength of the stellar reviews and because of the fear of “The look” coming from her when she opened the hotel room blinds and saw a Dodge Ram, a standing ashtray and an RV….I booked it.

Now, we typically don’t do Bed & Breakfasts simply because we fear that close contact with a private owner that we entrust to provide an uninterrupted and drama free overnight stay may, intentionally or otherwise, expose some prejudgment towards my wife’s and my “tan”. This isn’t just a “Black thing”. It is more of a “Today’s America” thing. I actively dodge racial conflict nowadays, because it seems to have intensified, so why stop being me on my wedding anniversary? I readily admit that neither myself nor my wife are walking around without our antennae up for any semblance of “different” treatment in the past few years. Like many African Americans, we feel like we have a better shot of avoiding any racial issues at a chain hotel that may have some type of corporate diversity policies or training on how to do business with guests of all races, religions and colors. A “mom and pop” hotel? Well that is more of a “dice roll”.

My youngest kid surprised us by buying a kitten and then she banked on the hunch that we would fall in love with it instead of squirting them both with apple cider vinegar and then taking the lot of them to the steps of a firehouse and wishing them luck in finding a new family. Her gamble paid off. She still resides in my house. And so does the daughter. “Po” (Her name has intentionally not been changed because she is innocent of nothing. If there are claw marks on a drape? She did it. Po did it.) was simply an adorable fur ball that, in the first week of living with us, was terrified of each one of us. She would shrink away to a corner if we moved towards her. She would wait until I was clear of her food dish after I filled it before eating. This was a month ago. Now she cannot be away from any of us for longer than an hour. She is actually quite ‘clingy’ and might need to pump her feline love brakes. But? She loves us because she trusts that this larger species of beings will bring her no harm. What is more is that we feed and pet her and we have shown her that humans are pretty damn cool.

Our stay at this “hotel” in Grand Haven, Michigan proved to be enjoyable enough that we would stay there again. No. There were no other guests nor were there any employees that looked like us. But even with our “racedar” on full alert, we could find nothing out of place with attitudes nor with amenities. No, we wouldn’t ever pair red plaid carpet with bronze wallpaper and we would never use a quilt on a bed with 23 different patterns to keep us warm at home and if we went into the hotel business, we wouldn’t do that to our establishment either. But the place was clean and “quaint”. VERY quaint! Like PERFECTLY quaint! We loved it and would recommend it to any family or friends. The first leg of our “West Michigan Wedding Anniversary Tour” was a resounding success and the most drama that we encountered in the city of Grand Haven was that a waitress mistakenly gave me my wife’s diet Coke when I was after all the sugar in that glass that I had coming to me. She corrected the mistake and my next scotch (Who drinks Coke all night?} had not a single thing wrong with it. And neither did the next one. The one after that? Well it is anyone’s guess. It could have been an orange Fanta. (Because who cares what comes in that glass after drink number 5 right?)

There is an election coming up.

It doesn’t matter if you are waving a red or a blue flag. Whoever wins, it is incumbent upon US to stop this tsunami of hatred and mistrust. The government can influence our daily lives but it is going to be on Latinos and Irish and Blacks and Koreans to end this tension that we feel about traveling certain places or being around certain people. We are all the same species. “This sounds like Pollyanna or Kumbaya blue sky” you say? “The world isn’t that simple dummy”. Well, if our Black selves can learn to trust a city with less than 1% Black residency and can actually feel at home in the home of a couple that certainly pronounces “chitterlings” with a hard “r” and if Po can learn to trust an entirely different species from her own…

You get my point.

We can do better as a species. No matter what happens in November.

There. I stayed away from being political and as far as keeping it light…

Well rumor has it that the most enjoyable things on the internet are kittens.

Meet Po. She trusts humans now.

So how about you?

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