New Orleans Diary: Week One

2 Dec

The goal: to write a weekly reaction to my time here in New Orleans. To be honest, reaching arbitrary goals that I set for myself isn’t exactly my strong suit but, who knows, maybe the fact that I can sit outside with a vest rather than a winter coat on the 2nd of December will breath some new life into me. So, here goes.

The Story: I have been in New Orleans, without my road trip companion Jessy, for a week now. It’s been pretty good. Just to catch some people up, I made the decision to move down here just after the presidential election on November 8th back when I visited in May of last year. I just decided that it was time to take a more active role in my own life. Shake things up a little bit. Change my environment. So on November 10th, after crying on and off for two days following the elections, Jessy and I hopped in my car and started on a two-week long trip down South during which we cried on and off about the election. We zig zagged a bit, to put it lightly. And then last Friday, after a really fun Franksgiving Outpost involving the race tracks, an amazing dinner cooked by friends and a few too many drinks at one of my favorite New Orleans bars, I dropped Jessy off at the airport and started my time here for real.

Some feels: As someone who is massively social, sort of to a fault at times, being somewhere that I know a very small handful of people has been…challenging. I have grown pretty accustomed to being surrounded by people that I know and love and while, in ways, getting away from my over-active social life was one of the reasons to move down here, I miss it. I miss walking down the street and seeing people I know. I miss going out with pals to drinks and dinner. I miss popping in to visit my friends at work. I miss sweating it out on a bike next to a buddy exchanging winces of pain when the class gets extra hard. I miss my customers. (Well, most of them.) I miss my kitties. I miss my apartment with its brightly colored walls, shelves full of books, awesome art on the walls and surfaces littered with plants and kitsch. I miss Brooklyn, I really do. (Although I have to say that watching the weather drop day after day up north while I am still able to run in shorts and a t-shirt is pretty killer. Not to brag, or anything.)

Running Group!: But, I am adjusting. I joined a running group that meets on Tuesday nights and is full of really nice people. One of the things that I had a hard time with in Brooklyn, especially after my long-time running buddy and good friend Monica moved her family to the Hudson Valley, was finding a running community. There are a lot of people who run in New York, it’s true. But I have found many of them to be a little too competitive for my taste. New York, at least in the way that I see it, is a Type-A city, with a lot of people taking everything that they do pretty seriously. And I think that’s great! But when it comes to my running, and let’s be honest, pretty much everything that I do, I’m a little more…relaxed about it. And wouldn’t you know it, this group seems to have the exact same mentality. Everyone comes to work hard but there is just, I don’t know, a really positive vibe about it all that I really enjoyed. The workout this week was to run 3-5 by 1 mile repeats at a 10k pace. (Don’t worry if that made absolutely no sense to you, the specifics aren’t important.) Initially it was supposed to be like 65 degrees but instead it was almost 80 and humid as fuck. Everyone was struggling. Some people cut their workouts short because it was hard to breath but everyone stayed around until all the other runners finished, offering high fives, words of encouragement and big congratulations to everyone who managed to get through the entire planned workout. The vibe of the group was like a giant hug, only a figurative one because everyone was too sweaty and stinky and hot to really deal with any human contact.

Bags: This is sort of a weird thing but people here love bags. I mean, LOVE bags. So in New York people tend to be careful to bring their own bags to stores. I think some people do this because they care about the environment. A lot of people, however, do it because in NYC there is a little bit of shame associated with walking out of a grocery store with like 15 plastic bags in tow. People look. They have thoughts; judgy ones. They proudly hoist their own tote bags higher on their shoulders, proud that they were helping to alleviate the pressures of climate change and litter one little white bag at a time. They and their canvas Trader Joe’s bag will save the world! Here in New Orleans people love bags. They give bags out like candy! You practically have to argue with the checkout people to get them to put more than one item in each bag and then, when you succeed, they double bag it. I swear I feel like I end up with more bags in one visit to the store here than I do in like 3 months in New York. It’s very bizarre. I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe they don’t love bags. Maybe they just don’t trust bags. Maybe there is a higher percentage of faulty bags here in Louisiana than up in Brooklyn. Maybe there was a spate of defective bag handles, handles that snapped without warning and sent the contents spewing willy nilly through the aisles and the parking lots, leaving the residents of the city doubtful of the quality of their disposable totes. I’ll keep you posted.

Driving and Parking: I drive quite a bit down here. Public transportation is, shall we say, slightly lacking and so the best way to get around town is by car. So I go here and I go there. Most of the places I go seem to be about 20 minutes away from most of the other places that I go. And so, like the good New Yorker I am, I leave myself extra time to get places to account for traffic and parking. Only there is barely any traffic and I can almost always find parking right in front of where I need to be. I have spent quite a bit of time wandering back and forth down a street, looking for signs about street cleaning or parking restrictions but there are none. And the days of like 6 fire hydrants per block are long gone, too. Obviously this indicative of some bigger things that I don’t really feel like getting into right now so let me just say this: I have been early to basically every single thing I have had to go to since being here even when I have gotten lost which happens a lot because the signs here are confusing and also sometimes simply not there. So to those people who think that New Jersey signage is confusing, I invite you to shut the fuck up and drive around here for a minute. Also, people in the South drive like maniacs. And don’t believe in blinkers.

I’m actually not done talking about bags: I had intended for this to be a little bit more serious of a post than this but I lost my way a little. Mostly because this whole week has been peppered with me being really taken by the situation with the bags. I don’t know why I find this so interesting but like every time I go somewhere I either mention to my friend Carie — who has been kind enough to allow me to stay with her while I look for a spot — about the number of bags we end up with or I just say something aloud to myself as I walk back to my car like a total weirdo. I’ve done other fun things, too. I’ve run quite a bit along the levee, wandered around the city and gone to see some live music with a new friend but I just can’t get over the bags. Hopefully I will have more interesting things to discuss next week. Stay tuned.

 

13 Responses to “New Orleans Diary: Week One”

  1. Ashlie December 2, 2016 at 5:35 pm #

    This MAYYY have made me miss you so much I screamed and then put on my Rockford Peaches cap and sulked.

  2. gimpanova December 2, 2016 at 7:29 pm #

    1) They DO love bags. Like, maybe to a slightly unhealthy degree…. 2) Wait for the road rage to set in…I give you a month at best. 3) If you meet Lauren from the NOLA Track Club, say Hi!! Missing you over here on the frigid east coast!

    • FranklyRebekah December 2, 2016 at 7:31 pm #

      Oh my god the bags…THE BAGS! I actually think of you every single time I go grocery shopping. And yeah, I spend a lot of time wondering why people are driving so slowly/why the lanes all keep merging into one/why they couldn’t have hired better traffic engineers because the timing on the lights is terrible. And if I meet her, I will! I’m running with T-rex track club or something like that. But I might branch out seeing as how I have fuck all to do. Miss you tons!

      • gimpanova December 2, 2016 at 7:43 pm #

        There’s actually a socio-economic reason for why the highways/exits are so completely nonsensical. I’m just going to leave that there…it’s…not infuriating at all. Really.

      • FranklyRebekah December 2, 2016 at 7:44 pm #

        I have to look into this. That’s super interesting/crazy/not at all surprising somehow.

  3. hmclinton December 3, 2016 at 10:09 am #

    Hey Rebekah! I will be in my hometown next weekend. I have plans on Saturday, but would love to wander around with you on Sunday? Let me know. Keep the struggle alive and don’t succumb to the pressures of multiple bags. It really is a scourge.

    HC

    • FranklyRebekah December 3, 2016 at 10:11 am #

      Oh, hooray! I would love that. I’ll give you a shout this week!! Xox

  4. creatingcarrie December 5, 2016 at 5:42 am #

    We definitely drive like maniacs. I however believe in blinkers, because you should get a half second warning before I move into your lane. 🙂

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. New Orleans Diary: Week Two | franklyrebekah - December 9, 2016

    […] Goal: To write a blog post every week that I spend here in New Orleans, talking about the things that happen and the things that I hope happen but sometimes don’t. But sometimes do! But also sometimes don’t. I will try to keep my discussion of plastic bags to a minimum. Read my week one post here. […]

  2. New Orleans Diary: Week Three | franklyrebekah - December 16, 2016

    […] about driving and plastic bags. That should change any week now, maybe even this one! You can read Week One and Week Two if you want to know all about […]

  3. New Orleans Diary: Week Six | franklyrebekah - January 6, 2017

    […] my mostly meaningless observations. Catch up on the earlier diaries here if you are so inclined! Week One, Week Two, Week Three, Week Four, Week […]

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