It’s hard to take it all in on one pass. The racial tension in Memphis is heavy. Downtown security cameras and police boxes are strapped on almost every block. Dozens of Memphian police officers are also trying out stun guns for the first time on disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Back in April of this year, three Virginia police officers repeatedly, repeatedly, repeatedly used stun guns on a slightly different man brought to the hospital for a mental health evaluation, who later died in their custody. Now I know why Memphis is the birthplace of the blues, where our sad stories are front and center at B.B. King’s Blues Club on Beale Street, Memphis. Could it be that our cultural narrative scenarios are one of our loudest foes? When will we stop breaking our spirit with harmful thoughts?
This morning, I went down to the hotel lobby to get a luggage, loading cart. I pushed it up to the fourth floor, but I couldn’t remember my room number or what floor I came from. I started pounding on doors. Doors on each side of the hallway. Doors leading in both directions. Doors on the ceiling. Doors on every floor. With each unanswered knock, I could feel the tension explode in my core. Sometimes, my unconscious tapes of being lost, being left behind, and being locked out play on my emotional, surround sound system over, and over, and over, and my situation doesn’t click until my feelings pass.
I was breathless. I was having an axiety attack. I needed a mental health evaluation and a back to back, stun gun sedative for acting irrationally. “We’re looking at your situation logically,” the polices officers say, “you’re not human.” Zap }}} zap }}} zap }}}.
“Are you lost?” my two, good Samaritan, housekeeping ladies asked me, who just witnessed my over reaction display in the hallway. “Yes! I’m having a bad day. Just ignore me.” The ladies both answered, “We just met a competent, white girl freak out over a lost room.” They freaked out with me. They laughed with me. They cried with me. They accompanied me through the halls. They helped me see my blind spot, and they unlocked doors for me I couldn’t do alone.