I’m A Greezie
One day while I was shooting in the projects, a fire broke out on the 11th Floor of Half’s building. Suddenly, black and white firemen, cops, ambulances and EMS workers, infiltrated this all black neighborhood. They worked for hours, as smoke, flames and water ravaged this woman’s apartment. When the fire was extinguished, and it was determined that no one was hurt, all those middle and working class faces left, leaving the building occupants to clean up the remainder of this domestic tragedy. I remember the sound of this old woman sweeping the water down the steps from floor to floor.
The timing was odd. because just a few days before, Half had told me the story of a gas leak that had happened a few years earlier in a neighboring building, and how furniture and people were flying out of the building and dying. He said it didn’t get a single line in the paper. I was asking the guys about that story as we were sitting outside the building after the fire. They were talking about how crazy it was, when Big Spank, Half’s security, piped up saying the fire that day happened simply because the woman who lived in the apartment was a rug muncher.
Well, of course that sort of stopped me in my tracks. I asked Spank did he actually believe that this woman’s lesbianism had caused an electrical fire? He was adamant that was true. This goofball conversation somehow led to Spank pontificating on women in general. He informed me that 87% of all women were greezies. What’s a greezie? I asked. A greezie is a woman who you don’t really want to touch but you, but will fuck. he replied. Half’s crew is nodding in agreement. My heart dropped. So, you mean the 13% that aren’t greezie’s are probably your mothers, right? Right.
Well, let me be very clear here. Even though I’m a (feminist) filmmaker making a movie, I really liked these guys and wanted them to like me too, and it really hurt my feelings to realize that I was just another greezie. I knew this world was rife with sexism and misogyny, but we were friends. I thought that made a difference. Well, of course it makes a difference. This is an old repetitious story. Sexism, like racism (and most other ism’s) is usually a fear-based issue that is culturally condoned and gets acted out in different ways, but given an opportunity real life often interferes and confuses these misconceptions.
So I kept shooting my guys, and on any given day, from behind the camera, I’d ask Half or one of his boys, What kind of greezie am I? Am I a white greezie? And older greezie? A filmmaker greezie? And every time I asked, they’d laugh, shift about uncomfortably and say, Oh Maggie, you’re not a greezie. Not you. But I know that I am to them. And so what? That’s only a small part of the story. I’m also the woman that blew into their lives and advocated for them, even as they blew into my hearts, and just as this greezie loves them, I believe they love me too.