I never took a class on etiquette. Any manner of courteous behavior displayed by me is a reflection of the values instilled upon me by my family. I remember my very first lesson in propriety. My aunt Karla meted a slave whipping on me for misbehaving while riding along on a visit to a home ridden patient. She often took my cousins, John and Shohn, and I on quick detours before Saturdays spent out and about on the south side of Chicago. This time, we made the detour at the end of the night. With the excitement of the day at the lake fresh in our minds, we couldn’t keep calm for long as we waited in the car while she tended to her sick patient. A soft voice pierced into a perfect moment of silence, drawing our attention to the voluptuous young lady standing in the shadows behind the car. I couldn’t have been any older than 9 years old at the time. My cousin John, no older than 12. She was at least two of our ages combined. Still that didn’t stop us from trying to chop her down.
I didn’t know any better. When my cousin geeked me to shout at her, I didn’t consider translating his dare to “tell that bitch to come here”. So I i said, “Hey, bitch. Come here.” She politely cursed us out and put us back into the place where little boys belong. Then she walked right up the stairs and into the door that my aunt Karla went through nearly an hour before. The shit hit the fan. Within a few seconds, she reappeared with my aunt Karla, who demanded that we apologize immediately. The minute we returned to my aunts home, she lined us against the wall and whipped the shit out of us with an RJ11 cable. She gave John and Shohn a little extra. They deserved it. I didn’t know any better.