Tag Archives: driving

New Orleans Diary: Week Five

30 Dec

Goal: To keep a weekly diary of my time here in New Orleans. This is Week 5! Which means I have been living here for over a month. And also it has been almost two whole months since I left Brooklyn which is pretty crazy. Hi, Brooklyn. Do ya miss me?

Waterbugs, Information: You may recall that last week I saw a waterbug in my bathroom and subsequently hid from the bug, also the bathroom, for a considerable amount of time following the sighting. Then the bug mysteriously disappeared. Dun dun duuuuuun. I then posted about the bug on my Facebook page at which point I received all kinds of comments. Some of them were full of concern, some were full of disgust and vomit emojis, and some were from people welcoming me to Life in the South. As a result of the post, I also received a few bits of information.

  • My friend Heather told me that New Orleans-style waterbugs fly at your face. AT YOUR FACE! Which, since my face is the face that is currently here, means that they will most certainly fly at my face which is not something I hope to experience. She told me to get the Raid in the silver can because it is full of chemicals and the shape of the nozzle allows for pretty good aim which means that you can, from a distance, spray that noxious shit and hopefully hit the attacking bug in mid (at my face) fly. That sounds like a really great idea until one remembers that time I accidentally maced myself in the face. I decided, as a result, to forego airborne chemical warfare and simply go for some traps.
  • My friend Rob told me that here in New Orleans they call these bugs “palmettos.” I am glad to know what they are called here so that when I tell people about The Bug and they think I am talking about silver fish (also ew!) I can use the appropriate regionalism to correct them so that we are all on the same disgusting, flying-at-my-face page.

Waterbugs, The Update: Following the initial sighting I was living if not a carefree life at least one seemingly free of waterbugs. That is until the day before yesterday! I walked into the kitchen to grab something when <BAM!> There it was! Sneaking around on the floor like the huge and disgusting flying hunk of roach that it is. Naturally, I screamed, ran into the bedroom and jumped onto the bed which clearly wouldn’t have helped me one bit if the bug had decided to fly at my face. Luckily for all involved it did not. I’m pretty sure it actually also screamed and retreated under the refrigerator. What to do?! I quickly mined my brain for information and remembered a story my friend Carrie had told me in which her basement apartment became ground zero of a short-lived waterbug infestation during a huge rainstorm and she lined the inside of her doors with duct tape. It worked! And so I snuck into the kitchen and, looking out for monsters (AKA waterbugs), I retrieved some gorilla duct tape – extra sticky! – and laid it out all around the refrigerator so that if the bug decided to try and sneak out it would get caught! Inhumane, I know, but it was the only way I would be able to sleep.

And then I waited. And slept. But also waited.

When I woke up in the morning I went into the kitchen to see if the bug had in fact gotten stuck. I discovered the most awful thing. Not only had the bug not gotten stuck, but it had used its brute strength to actually move the gorilla tape a good 3 inches away from the fridge and then somehow dislodge itself to live another day. It also left behind one leg on the tape. So gross.

In summation the waterbugs down here are like other fucking level. They are like terminators. Seriously if we could train waterbugs to do our bidding we could use them to fight wars. These fuckers are no joke. And this said by someone who now has a 5-legged waterbug wandering around her house, waiting for the next opportunity to fly at my face.

Clothing: I have lost all my pants. I was putting my clothes away yesterday and I can’t find them. I know I had them because I recently wore them but now they appear to be missing. Has anyone seen them?

Driving: But seriously, people cannot drive here. Or, well, they can’t drive in a different way from the ways in which people up North can’t drive. So here is the new thing I have noticed. You’ll be moving along at a steady clip with all of the other people except for the one guy who is driving 25mph above the speed limit and is, like everyone else, allergic to the use of blinkers. And then, as if from nowhere, there is the person driving 20 mph below the speed limit. I don’t think I have driven on a highway in Louisiana once without encountering this person. And he/she is always in the middle lane. ALWAYS. Which is an extra big problem here where the right lane oftentimes goes from lane to exit only lane and back again with basically no warning whatsoever. So it actually isn’t really a lane at all. But the slow person isn’t in the next lane over, oh no. The slow person is in the other middle lane. So this is what happens:

  • The right lane is oscillating between exit only lane, new cars merging in lane and regular right lane where slow drivers are supposed to live so they don’t bother the rest of us.
  • The middle right lane becomes this lane where no one really wants to be because you have to be aware of the constantly changing status of the right lane. That being said this would be the perfect lane for a slow driver because all the other drivers who are merging and exiting and generally confused by signage can easily move into the slow driver lane because the slow driver is, well, so slow.
  • The middle left lane is where the slow driver now lives for reasons that I am not entirely clear on. This messes up all the other lanes because now there is a serious slow-down in the middle left lane resulting in a lot of tailgating. People love to tailgate here.
  • The left lane is basically the only lane that operates under normal lane procedures from what I can tell. The slow driver generally doesn’t venture over there. Although there generally is someone in a mini-van using cruise control at exactly 8 miles over the speed limit which can be problematic.

The result of all of this is a complete and total free-for-all. Every lane is a passing lane. Every car is tailgating some other car which means that every car is simultaneously tailgating someone else while trying to lose its own tailgater. And then there is the asshole who drives like he/she is from New Jersey. You know the guy. Driving really fast, weaving in and out of traffic with no warning whatsoever, squeezing into teeny tiny spaces. This person is almost always in a busted up coup with tinted windows. This guy has watched Fast and Furious too many times. I don’t not like that guy.

Conclusion: That’s all I’ve got for right now. The New Year is fast approaching and everyone seems pretty pleased that 2016 is over since it gave us Tr*mp and pretty much killed everyone that we love. And I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but unless 2016 flexes its muscles yet again, we will be inaugurating Tr*mp on the 20th day of January. And then we are stuck with him for the next 4 years unless he gets impeached at which point we are stuck with Mike fucking Pence. So I am sorry to say that 2017 is not looking like it’s gonna be all that much better. But there will be more New Orleans diary entries so that’s something, right?

New Orleans Diary: Week Two

9 Dec

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.

Driving: So I’m still on about the drivers mostly because I grew up in New Jersey and we always got such a bad rap for our driving (and signage) but the driving (and signage) here are way worse. For example, the other night I was driving around with my friend Carie and I drove near two people in like a 5 block span who were not using their headlights. And it wasn’t like it was 6pm and the sun had recently gone down and these people had just not turned their lights on. It was 11 at night. It was full on darkness. And all of a sudden I look in my rearview and see this thing speeding up behind me that looks like a UFO or something but then I realize that, no, it isn’t a UFO at all (imagine my surprise), it is a matte black car without headlights. I nearly had a heart attack and died right there. Thankfully I didn’t. But seriously, driving here is not for the weak. Shit is lawless as fuck.

The Loudest Lady Ever: As previously stated I have been staying with my friend Carie on the West Bank while I look for a spot. The area that we’re staying at is really historic and also quiet. Except for this one lady who is quite possibly the loudest person to walk the face of the earth. The other day I was doing some writing on the balcony and I heard her talking, no yelling, to her poor little dachshund. She goes “OH MY FEET HURT SOMETHING FIERCE” and then she goes “WELL IF EVERYONE WASN’T AWAKE BEFORE THEY’RE AWAKE NOW.” (You were meant to yell those things I wrote in all caps, btw.) So it’s like, she knows she is the loudest person ever. The good thing is that because she is so loud you can hear her approaching from 5 blocks away and quickly retreat to your home which, I suspect, everyone in the neighborhood does because there is magically no one out on the block when she goes for her walk. Maybe this is all part of her plan. Maybe she likes to imagine that the world belongs to her and her alone and by scream-talking all the time she can make this dream a reality, at least in the block-by-block sense. She is the Queen of Ghost Town!

Foster Campbell: There’s a pretty big deal run-off for a Senate seat here in Louisiana between Foster Campbell (D) and John Neely Kennedy (R). It’s sort of the last chance for the Dems to flip a senate seat in advance of our upcoming fall into tyranny, I mean…wait…no, that’s what I meant. Campbell is over here campaigning all by himself, meanwhile Trump is taking some time off from his “National Thank You for Ruining the Future of this Country and Maybe Even the World by Electing Me” tour to give some speeches on behalf of Kennedy. So, yeah, we all know how 2016 goes. Anyway, the reason I am writing about this is that I am from up North. I am from a place where most democrats campaign on a platform of some degree of gun control and are not often photographed or videotaped holding any sort of weapon. It’s like, our thing. Not so down here in Louisiana. Foster Campbell, known, by the way, to be socially conservative, ends his campaign ads by shooting a rifle. Could you imagine a democratic senate nominee in the North shooting off a rifle as like a pivotal part of his or her campaign ad? I sure can’t. So, I don’t know, no judgement or anything. You do you, Foster. That was just a thing that I noticed and thought to myself “you know what self? I think maybe your readers would find that interesting. Or if not interesting, at least notable.” I hope I was right. If not, then kindly disregard the previous paragraph.

Running group: This week we did hill repeats. This is actually kind of funny. If you didn’t already know this, New Orleans is incredibly flat. So, via our Facebook group, I was sent the address for the meet-up point. Carie and I were hanging around in the Quarter so when it got time for me to head over, I left her at a spot where our friend Brian was working and I drove to the starting point for the running group which turned out to be the side of the road of some busy avenue. I sat there in my car for a few minutes, looking around. I called my mom. There was no foot traffic. I didn’t see anyone else from the group. To be honest, I was a little bit nervous. New Orleans is not exactly the safest city in the country. Did I get the address wrong? Did I somehow end up in a neighborhood that I shouldn’t be in? What was a girl to do?! But then, as if sent from above, I saw another person in running clothes! I kept my mom on the phone (for safety!) and walked over to him. It was his first time meeting the group but, having lived in New Orleans for longer than me – which admittedly is not hard – he said that this meet-up spot made sense. You see, there was an overpass that crossed above route 10. And that was to be our “hill.” I chuckled to myself, thinking back on the hill in Prospect Park that I have run up countless times. This one was more like a little hump. Until you sprint up it a dozen times and your legs turn into noodles.

Bags: I know I said I was going to keep the discussion of bags to a minimum and I fully intend to keep my word. I just wanted to say that the other day I went to the store with a giant canvas tote like an elitist fuck and the dude at the store packed it totally full of things. But then I had some left over items that wouldn’t fit and so he put each one of those things in its very own plastic bag home. So I think that my previous theory about a deeply intrenched distrust for bags is actually the correct conclusion. More research pending.

In Conclusion: That is it for week two. I have some visitors coming. Also a few friends and I are going to see the AcroKitties perform on Sunday (HOORAY!) so I bet next week’s entry will be exciting. Hold on to your seats, kids. This is gonna get wild.

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.

 

Tip #19 on Being a Good Bar Customer

22 Jul

Just before I get into this I need to say the following thing: I cannot believe I am actually writing the tip that I am writing. It really just blows my mind. Okay, are you ready? Here we go.

Tip: Do not walk into a bar, order a beer for you and your friend and then turn around without leaving money, walk out of the bar with the two open beers and then get into your car – one of you behind the wheel –  and drive away. Don’t do that. And especially don’t do that and then walk back into the bar approximately 45 minutes later and expect to not take the biggest fucking verbal lashing of your entire adult life. Story time? Well, I guess I pretty much just told the story but I am going to elaborate.

So there I was, at work as usual. I was expecting a slow day but it got pretty busy which was good because hooray for money! At the same time it was bad because I was in the middle of The Reckoning (Rebekah speak for the worst period I’ve had in a long time) and I was leaking iron faster than my body could produce it. I just wanted to do my job and not have to deal with any sort of shenanigans. But there are always, always shenanigans. So, anyway, in walks this dude with his buddy and he walks up to the bar and orders a beer for himself and one for his friend. I popped them both and handed them across the bar and then, right before my very eyes, the two of them walked through the bar, out the door, through the outside patio area and into their car and then they drove off down a busy avenue in the middle of the afternoon. I was dumbfounded. But then I stopped being dumbfounded and got really mad. I swear there was so much anger-pressure built up in my head right in that moment that if my head were to explode the sheer power of the explosion would have catapulted brain matter all over the ceiling which, by the way, is extremely high.

I spent the next 45 minutes oscillating between doing my job and being angry. I was working very hard on not doing both those things at once. It went something like this:

  • Stand behind the bar thinking about what a fucked up thing just happened
  • Notice that someone needs a beer
  • Take a deep breath, smile, walk towards the person to inquire as to what they might need
  • Say “Hi, how are you? What can I get for ya?” Listen intently for response.
  • Get the thing, deliver it and take payment
  • Immediately begin thinking about the fucked up thing and get mad again
  • Repeat

But then the 45 minutes of intense mood regulation came to an end because the mother fucker walked back into the bar again and was all

Hey, what’s up?

I scowled, shook my head and waved my hand in his general direction in a way that I was hoping communicated something along the lines of

Get the fuck out of here before I rip you a new one.

It didn’t work because he ordered a beer.

And then the floodgates opened. The floodgates of rage. I was sweating. I was shaking. I think I got goosebumps. I unloaded perhaps the biggest barrage of righteous anger that has come out of my in years. It actually included the phrase “who the fuck do you think you are” which is something you aren’t supposed to say until you have children and those children decide to go joyriding around the neighborhood with open bottles of beer.

O_o

Anyway, through the whole verbal onslaught this man (rightfully) endured, he just stood there and stared at me in utter disbelief. Much like how I stared at his car as it traveled down 5th avenue a mere three quarters of an hour earlier. And then he made a fake phone call and got back into his car, where he sat for the following 1/2 hour thinking about what he had done. (No, probably not but a girl can dream.)

So yea, don’t do that. Don’t buy beers and then leave a bar with the beers. This is not New Orleans. And even there you need to have Go Cups. You can’t just go parading around the neighborhood with open glass bottles of shit. But especially don’t buy beers, leave the bar with the beers, and then go get behind the wheel of your car. So many things could happen.

  1. You could get arrested
  2. The bar could lose its liquor license
  3. I could get a massive fine and, likely, lose my job
  4. You could kill yourself or someone else
  5. None of those things happen but instead you have to deal with my rage and it might not be as bad as the rest of the things, but you won’t forget it. I am really good with words when I am angry. And nothing makes me more angry than the complete and utter disregard that some people have for the safety and livelihoods of those they share this world with.

And while we’re on this topic, please don’t order a Long Island Ice Tea from me ever, but especially when you are holding your fucking car keys. Do you think I cannot see them? Do you think I am stupid? Do you think I lack the powers of deductive reasoning? Because I can, I’m not and I don’t. Not by a long shot.

Enjoy your weekend, friends. And be safe out there. Some dick head might be driving around while boozing it up at 5pm. You never know.