Tag Archives: journal

New Orleans Diary: Weeks 13 and 14

7 Mar

Goal: Fuck the goal. I missed another week (I blame Mardi Gras) and now rather than writing on Fridays and also Mondays I am randomly posting on a Tuesday. Things are all out of whack. Also I don’t think anyone really reads these posts anyways so it’s become sort of like that thing about the tree. You know the thing: if a tree falls in the forrest and no one hears it does it make a sound? If my blog gets published and no one reads it do the words in fact form sentences? (I need to work on that but you get the picture.) So in summation I am just going to write when I want and not hold myself to any sort of schedule which is counter to the original purpose of this series (to force myself into a publishing schedule) but whatever. Fuck it.

Face Tattoos: There are a lot of face and head tattoos here. A lot. In April of 2004 I made out with a dude in Mexico who had a face tattoo. And one time when I was in the Poconos visiting The Aunties the craziest thing happened. We were walking through the parking lot towards the We-Is (local supermarket actually spelled Weis) when we found ourselves walking behind this guy who had his own face tattooed on the back of his head. But really. I know it was his own face because I ran around the front of him (by way of ducking behind cars because I figured someone with his own face tattooed on the back of his very own head was maybe scary) and confirmed. There he was in the front and the back. Very weird.  I’ve never really been the same.

As I was saying, there are a lot of face and head tattoos here. And I’ve been thinking about it and it seems like a face tattoo is a larger commitment than tattoos other places. Your face is the first thing people see. And usually the thing people remember you by. I mean, do you for sure, but it’s a commitment is all. Anyway. There are so many face and head tattoos that I almost don’t even notice them anymore. Back in Brooklyn there was one guy with face tattoos. He had some sort of tribal something or other that covered his whole face and whenever I saw him I thought to myself

Wow. That guy does not give a fuck.

I also thought to myself

That guy is on a whole lot of drugs.

Which had more to do with his style of walking and his glassy eyes than the face tattoos.

I got distracted. The point is that there are a lot of people with face tattoos here. I don’t know exactly where I was going with all this so I guess I will sum it up thusly: I have never seen more face tattoos in one place ever in my life.

White People Dreadlocks: There are so many White People Dreadlocks here it’s unbelievable. So many. I have to say that I try to stay away from their congregation areas as best I can. That might make me an asshole but it’s the truth. They all have pitbulls which normally would be like whatever but I think they have the pitbulls for protection so I don’t really want to fuck with them. Also I am pretty sure they are armed. Not the pitbulls, the people. As far as I can tell they spend a lot of time (all of their time maybe?) on the streets and the streets here are not safe and so I am certain that they have knives and things. I want nothing to do with knives unless they are being used to cook me food so if I believe someone has knives for reasons other than cooking me food I stay away.

Let me be more specific. Because this is what it really is. Yesterday as I was walking from one job to another I saw a White Boy Dreadlocks sitting on the street and he was holding a cardboard sign that said

I need a guitar

and I literally almost lost my shit. Like no, mother fucker, you need to chop off your culturally appropriative haircut, get a goddamn job, get out of my fucking way and buy your own guitar! Or call your fucking parents. I don’t know but give me a fucking break. Give me a break! You are white. You are male. You are able bodied. The system is built for you. If you need food that’s one thing but a guitar? You are on the street with a cardboard sign begging for a luxury item? Like, what, should I sit down next to you and hold up a sign that says

I need a plane ticket to India so I can fuck off for awhile

Or

I need to go out to Pesch for dinner

Or

I need a new computer.

No, asshole. What you need to go is get a fucking clue. Ugh that shit makes me so mad. It’s like, you can’t be all “woe is me I have no money” but also look at me I am so privileged and I am owed this thing that I want. I don’t only want it I need it and therefore I will have it and you will help me to buy it. The privilege is what gets me. And now I will stop being that old white lady yelling “get off my lawn!” at the neighbor’s kids.

Antisemitism: It is real and there is a lot of it here. I hear casual antisemitism at work on the regular. I am not going to really go into it because it is the same bullshit. You know, Jews are cheap, Jews run the government and the media, Jews are basically trying to take over the world. Nothing ground breaking there really. My favorite though is when one person makes an antisemitic comment like “oh you’re so cheap…you’re such a Jew” and the person next to them then starts discussing the first time she met a Jew and how the Jew was actually a lot nicer than she had expected! Little do they all know that their drinks were made by a Jew in person right then and there! That’s right, folks, that Sazerac was stirred by the horned devil herself! The Jewess! You sure you still want to drink that? I used the cheap whisky, you know, like a Jew would.

I don’t know, it’s crazy. It’s crazy in part because there has been such an uptick in open and unabashed antisemitism since SCROTUS took office. A friend of mine actually texted her dad to see whether the cemetery in which her grandparents were buried was one of the ones vandalized (it wasn’t). But that’s a real concern right now. Shit is fucked. It’s also crazy because I grew up in a very Jewish area. I am used to being around Jews all the time. I am used to feeling normal. But down here, and in this current political climate, I feel everything but. I have never been more aware of my Jewishness in my entire life. For the first time ever it actually feels like a liability. Which I suppose it always has been. That’s part of the fun of being a minority.

The other day a dude came into my bar. He was down from Philly, originally from Newark. We identified one another right away. It was the accent (or the lack of accent as he assured me), the look and just, I don’t know, the way. It took us about 30 seconds to get into what has been happening. I mentioned to him the antisemitism I have been experiencing since being down here and he just looked at me and said

Yup. Everyone hates us.

Just matter-of-fact. Just like that. And I was like, yeah, it’s true. He said what I have been thinking, what a friend of mine and I have been talking about for months. The fact that everyone hates us. It’s a quiet hatred, made louder recently, but it is always there. We thought we were safe. We’re not. And people make sure to make it known. Especially down here. And what can I do?

Conclusion: I should have posted about Mardi Gras and all that because it was really fun. Maybe I will save that for another week. This one took a somber turn and after all that it just doesn’t feel appropriate. I did, however, put on a lot of glitter. I think it probably entered my blood stream through my pores. I hope it did. We could all use a little more glitter these days.

New Orleans Diary: Week Eleven

13 Feb

Goal: To write a weekly blog post about the nonsense that I notice as I go about my life here in the Crescent City. I have decided to move my weekly posting to Monday since I work all weekend. So in case you were wondering, I post on Mondays now.

A New Word: This past Tuesday there were tornadic activities! And through these activities I discovered that tornadic is, in fact, a word (although one that is not identified as such by my WordPress spell checker since every time I type it out I get one of those bright red squiggly “you spelled this wrong” lines underneath it). Who knows, maybe with the environment being all fucked up there will be more tornadic actitivities and it will become the American Dialect Society Word of the Year (WotY) for the United States. Let us take a trip down memory lane and explore some past WotY’s, shall we? (Oh my god I am looking down the list and it is hard to just choose a few because they are ALL SO STUPID and also oftentimes not just words but phrases. I will try though. And I will include some phrases.)

1991: “mother of all” (as in Saddam Hussein’s “mother of all battles”)
1992: “not!” (meaning just kidding) <—- this is not a joke
2006: “plutoed” (demoted or devalued, as in what happened to the former planet Pluto) Although I think Pluto might be a planet again? Or maybe it was a planet again and then it got redemoted to dwarf planet. It’s really hard to keep track.
2013: because introducing a noun, adjective, or other part of speech (e.g., “because reasons,” “because awesome”) <—- This is really dumb.
2016: dumpster fire (an exceedingly disastrous or chaotic situation)

Apparently in 2012 the WotY was almost YOLO which would have made me spit my coffee angrily all over the kitchen because never has a stupider thing existed. YOLO. So dumb. Drake and I are in a serious fight about that one.

Since I am down this particular rabbit hole, did you folks know that in 2009 PETA attempted to rebrand fish as sea kittens? I didn’t. Clearly that effort failed. But! I can add it to my list of reasons as to why PETA sucks. Also, the American Dialect Society decided that the 2015 “most outrageous” word was “fuckboy” or, alternatively, “fuckboi.” I would like to respectfully disagree with this categorization, especially as seeing it is in the company of other words/phrases such as 2010’s “gate-rape” which is a pejorative term referring to the invasive airport pat-down procedure and 2014’s “second amendment” as a verb. I’m sorry but anyone who uses the word “rape” pejoratively needs to have a conversation with me and also I wish people would stop verbing things all the time (see what I did there?). Alternatively, I find the term fuckboy(i) to be incredibly useful and I would ordinarily trade it with the actual WotY for 2015 except that the word for that year is, amazingly, a good one:

2015: Singular they (as a gender-neutral pronoun, especially for non-binary gender identities)

Good on ya, American Dialect Society.

Just one more thing though before I move on. I decided to double-check my spelling of tornadic just to make sure that the red squiggly lines were in fact due to WordPress not recognizing the word and not me being unable to spell it. While I was doing my research I discovered the Urban Dictionary definition of tornadic. It is as follows:

when your titties start bouncing so hard in a tornado circular motion you are jet propelled off of the ground, often landing in unfamiliar areas.

You’re welcome.

Speaking of the Weather: There were actually tornadoes here (thanks to all those who checked in!). It was weird. Here’s the thing: in the northeast we don’t really have weather events, by and large, which is one of the big appeals of living there if you ask me. There is an occasional super storm or frankenstorm or snow-pocalypse or arctic freeze (is that what they called it or is that some sort of delicious frozen beverage from DQ?) but for the most part we never get the real deals. Not many hurricanes, very infrequent tornados, the blizzards can be intense but not like how they are in the midwest, no creeping lakes of ice that appear at your back door. So getting alerts on my phone that said

Tornado warning in effect. Do not go outside. Take cover.

was alarming to say the least. And you better believe I took cover. I do not fuck around with weather events, especially ones I know fuck all about. Luckily for me and my friends we were all safe in the end but it was really scary. A lot of people in the area lost their homes and businesses, had properties that experienced severe damage or sustained injuries. It’s really fucking awful and my heart goes out to all of the people impacted. Orleans and Livingston Parish were both seriously effected by the storm which was categorized as an EF-3 tornado. For those of us not all that familiar with tornadoes (such as myself), let me fill you in on some information that I gathered.

  1. The EF scale is short for the Enhanced Fujita Scale and it is used to rate the intensity of a tornado based off the damage they cause. As an EF-3, this was the strongest tornado recorded since record keeping began in 1950.
  2. The winds from an EF3 tornado reach between 136 and 165 miles per hour. Wow, that’s fast. The strongest tornado, rated as an EF-5, have 3 second wind gusts reaching over 200 miles per hour. Jesus fucking Christ. Stay away from us please EF-5 tornadoes!
  3. Even though tornadoes happen in different countries around the world, they are most devastating here in the United States and specifically in Tornado Alley which includes Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi and, you guessed, good old Louisiana. This area is impacted due to the effects on the atmosphere of the Rocky Mountains to the west and the Gulf of Mexico to the south. Basically, and I don’t actually understand this fully so I am going to quote from this tornado guy from the University of Oklahoma, “a strong westerly jet stream across the Alley creates instability and a trough of low pressure that draws in warm, moist air from the Gulf. Conditions for the supercells [large, powerful thunderstorms] that spawn tornadoes require strong vertical wind shear [changes in wind speed and direction with height] and lots of instability — as happens in Tornado Alley.

I did some more research and it all basically led me to the following conclusion: tornadoes are scary as fuck. And they usually don’t come until the spring! But we got one this past Tuesday, February 7th which is decidedly not the spring time and supports the fact that global warming is actually a thing and the weather is going all bonkers now. Did you hear that SCROTUS? Scott Pruitt? Are you assholes listening? Watching the weather channel? Visiting Tornado Alley? Anything at all?!

White Dudes Gonna White Dude: (I cannot take credit for that statement. It came from my friend Beth but I pretty much use it all the time now.) As it turns out, stupid, young white dudes are the same everywhere. When I was in Brooklyn I worked with this kid who drove me bananas because (a) he sucked at his job but still thought he should make all the money and be promoted; (b) he was insanely lazy and spent more time on the phone, smoking and bullshitting with people than actually doing what needed to be done; and (c) he would not take instruction from women, under any circumstances, ever. One time I yelled at him for disappearing for over and hour and he asked me if I was on my period. Because, you know, that’s relevant, his business and not sexist at all. I was so pleased when I stopped working there and never had to deal with his stupid face ever again. Until now. Because I have a new coworker who is basically exactly the same. Lazy, know-it-all, loves to benefit from a tip pool because he can make half the money and do less than half the work, and he will not take instruction from women, under any circumstances, ever. So, in conclusion, this particular brand of white dudes are the same in Brooklyn and New Orleans. Raise your hand if you’re surprised. What, no hands? Shocking.

Actually Not Done with the Tornado: While I was watching the weather channel, one of the things that the meteorologists kept talking about was how the weather was going to effect those living in FEMA trailers. Where they have been living since Hurricane Katrina. Which happened in the year 2005. This summer will be 12 years since the storm and some people are still living in FEMA trailers. This is something I already was aware of but the thing that is shocking to me here is that it was just mentioned so nonchalantly on The Weather Channel. That particular population is obviously a serious concern when it comes to such powerful storms because there is nothing really keeping those trailers on the ground except their sheer weight. And as I learned through my research, when a serious storm touches down nothing above ground is safe.

Nothing above ground is safe.

I don’t really have the space in this post to go through how incredibly fucked up it is that in this country we have people living for over a decade in disaster-relief housing. You would think that there would be room in the national budge to help these Americans, these people, who have been treated as subhuman for the past going on 12 years, after they were entirely overlooked in the time leading up to, during and directly after Katrina hit. It’s really sickening. But yeah, sure, keep the Muslims out. Build a goddamn wall. Make abortion illegal. Make America White Again.

Oh, and also, FEMA is pledging aid following the most recent tornadoes. That is until SCROTUS further defunds it. Kaaaaaay.

Conclusion: This was an intense one. I learned a lot about words of the year and tornadoes and I got mad about white dudes and the fact that our country doesn’t give a fuck that people have been living in FEMA trailers for over a decade. Maybe next week I will return to plastic bags and nutria rats. Either way let me say this: there are a lot of ways in which this world impresses and amazes me, and a lot of ways in which this world, the one we all inhabit day in and day out, makes me absolutely sick. That the earth is capable of creating such intense weather events seemingly out of nothing is scary but incredible. And that we are able to forget the suffering of others and decide, through either our action or inaction, which people are valuable and which are not, is really disheartening. But here we are, folks. Living in this world for better or for worse.

New Orleans Diary: Week Ten

4 Feb

Goal: The original goal was to write about my New Orleans-specific observations. As the weeks have gone on, however, this whole thing has sort of morphed (some might say devolved) into a documentation of my misadventures. So there are less posts about plastic bags and bad drivers and way more posts about nutria rats. I don’t know whether that is better or worse. You tell me.

My Ears are Fucked: That mostly sums it up. I have been having some ear problems for awhile now whereby every time I wash my hair my left ear gets all clogged up with water and I can’t really hear all that well for a few hours. Well, in the past few weeks it has gotten way worse. Initially I decided to take matters into my own hands and try to sort the problem out myself. (Note: This is never wise.) This involved putting a whole load of drops into my ears in hopes that they would just magically become unclogged. Much to my surprise, dismay and searing pain, this did not help solve the problem but instead made it worse. I went to the Urgent Care Clinic to try and see what was what. The verdict? Double ear infection. (Way less awesome than that double rainbow video.) The doctor took one look in my ear and was like

Woah.

When the doctor says “woah” you know you’re in trouble. So anyway now I am on some medication and I have to go back into the Urgent Care to get my ears flushed out. I am very concerned about what all is going to come out of there and so, depending on the outcome and how disgusted I am by the capabilities of my own body, I either will or will not fill you in.

Nutria: So in related somewhat related news (and you’ll see why soon) there was a nutria rat in my backyard. Please refer back to last week’s post about nutria or else look at the picture that I posted in here for your viewing (dis)pleasure. Or you can do you very own internet research! It’s fun. And also horrifying.

nutria2_502672_7

Gross, right? Anyway, a couple of nights ago I was eating popcorn in the backyard and I got popcorn everywhere. It looked as though I had a popcorn fight with myself but I think maybe I was just having some issues with hand-mouth coordination. I blame my ear infection. I just figured, whatever, it’s the out-of-doors, I will just leave the popcorn there and let nature take its course! When I said that I thought that perhaps the wind would blow it away but no. Instead, a giant, disgusting, orange-toothed nutria waltzed through a hole in my fence, into my yard, and ate up all the popcorn with its gross little mouth. Then it turned around and left. Now there are nutria germs all over my backyard. So then I thought to myself,

Self, what else would the nutria eat? Would the nutria eat one one of these ginormous amoxicillin tablets I have to take to clear up this double ear infection? Would the nutria eat that giant waterbug that was tormenting me a few weeks back? Or, if given the chance, would the nutria eat me?!

This sort of devolved into an imagination game I like to call Rebekah vs. Nutria. It’s a fun game. I highly recommend.

The Mysterious Appearance of the Magnet: I think someone broke into my apartment! Okay so here’s what happened. I was covering a shift at Mimi’s on a Sunday. Eric was visiting and he spent the entire day, as he loves to do, mopping the floors. He says he doesn’t like to mop but he does. He came to meet me at work at like 3ish, I got off at 5, and then we had a drink and walked back to the apartment. We probably got back there around 6pm. Upon entering we immediately went into the kitchen so I could open and close the refrigerator like 6 times in hopes that something delicious would magically appear inside there. (It never does but I remain hopeful.) As I went to open the fridge I noticed this kind of weird, kind of cute, little cat-sheep hybrid magnet thing stuck to the door. It was fuzzy and stuck out a good 1.5 inches off the front of the fridge. This is not something I would miss. Because let’s be honest folks, if there is anything that I know for certain, it is what the door of my fridge looks like. I looked at Eric with excitement.

NEW MAGNET YAY!

He was confused. It turns out he didn’t buy the magnet (shocker). It had just…appeared there. Randomly. While we were gone. So there are two competing theories here:

Theory 1: Spirit action. Which makes me laugh because I have this image in my head of this funny little magnet sort of like floating and bopping through the air before landing on the door to the fridge sort of like what happens in cheesy ghost movies. I know this isn’t how it happens with spirits IRL but I’m all about the giggle.

Theory 2: Some previous tenant, or a vengeful ex of some previous tenant, entered the apartment using their key that still works and left the magnet on the fridge as a way of saying

I’m here. And I am watching.

Or alternatively

Hai girl haaaiiii.

So I don’t know. Obviously since we watch too much crime shows we bagged the magnet (because finger prints!) and put it somewhere for safe keeping that I now think of as the Evidence Cabinet. I am hoping there will be no more updates to this story.

CheeWees: Those of you who know me well know about my love of cheese balls, cheese puffs and cheese doodles. I always invite cheese balls to my birthday party and when I get stressed out about life the only solution is to eat cheese balls or throw them at things. Here in New Orleans they have a delicious local version of cheese doodles called Chee Wees and obviously I love them and want to eat them all the time for every meal until I turn orange and die. And then you guys, I had an epiphany. Maybe our current presi…presi…..president (sorry I couldn’t stop dry heaving every time I typed that) also has an affinity for cheeseballs. So then I asked the following questions:

Does Donald Tr*mp also love cheeseballs? Does he also eat them when things go wrong but also sometimes when things go right? Does he invite them to his birthday party in place of actual friends? (For the record I invite friends and cheeseballs. And cheeseballs for my friends. Everyone eats them. It’s what the kids call a community building exercise.) Do Donald Tr*mp and I actually have something in common?!

…………..

I had to lie down for a minute. But I’m back. While I was lying down, though, I did some serious soul searching. Not to make light of this situation but SCROTUS has taken quite a bit from us since he entered the White House. But I will not allow him to take away my love of cheese balls, or cheewees, or whatever. So whatever. I still love them and I will continue to eat them and SCROTUS be damned. No, but really. Be damned. You’re a fucking scourge.

But also, would nutria eat cheewees? And even better, would the nutria eat Donald Tr*mp?!

Conclusion: In conclusion it has been an eventful week full of spirits or people or animals breaking into my house and my backyard. Also, ear infections. Two of them. But I’m on the mend, folks! Stay tuned for next week’s post. Same bat time, same bat station.

New Orleans Diary: Week Six

6 Jan

Goal: You know the deal. Write a weekly post that hopefully has some meaningful content only to realize week week that I am only writing about 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 Five.

Saga of the Lost Pants: If you remember from last week, I lost my pants. Well, 2/3 of my pants, anyway. I came to the rock solid conclusion that the bug that had previously been tormenting me had likely made away with them but that theory had yet to be proven. The other theory was that I had in fact left my pants in Houston, Texas over Christmas when I was there seeing my friend Carrie and my Texas Family. In order to either prove, or disprove, this second more reasonable theory, Carrie offered to text her mom to see if I  had left my pants at her house. She checked and, alas! I had not! Clearly my initial response was

I knew it! The bug took them!

But then I looked in my closet and realized that they were folded up on a shelf in there underneath some curtains and a scarf. Perhaps, you might be saying to yourself, I should have investigated the closet before making Carrie’s mom search through her house and also before accusing an innocent insect of theft. And you might be right.

In other news I am wearing my pants right now.

Hipster Bikes: So this is not just a New Orleans post because I also saw these same bikes in New York only far less often. They are those stupid high off the ground bikes. Those really tall ones. You know the ones:

hipsterest-bike

Anyway I see these bikes a lot and it’s like, why?! Why would you ride that stupid thing? First of all, you look like an asshole. Second of all, how do you get on and off? Third of all, it is really far down to the ground when you inevitably fall. And fourth, see the first point. They are just so….annoyingly, laughingly hipster. I just sometimes want to tell people that something ceases to be unique and cool and interesting when all your friends are also doing it but I guess that is a waste of breath. So instead I will just continue to do what I have been doing up until this point: shaking my head with complete and utter disdain.

Food Handler’s License: I am now the proud owner of a New York State Food Handler’s License as well as a Louisiana Alcohol Vendor Permit. (Hold the applause.) Obtaining my vendor’s permit here was, shall we say, eye opening. I know a lot of you readers are from New York and also probably had to go through all the stupid steps to get your food handler’s license. But for those of you who haven’t, here is a brief overview.

You have two choices, you can either take the class in-person or take it online. To take it in-person costs $114 and requires you to attend 15 hours of classes. Online is free. Either way you have to travel all the way up to a filthy building on 125th Street or something in order to take the test itself. Here’s the thing about taking the classes online, at least when I did it. There were a bunch of different sections and each section had a whole lot of information and at the end of the section there was a quiz. You couldn’t go on to the next section unless you successfully passed the quiz by answering all 5 (if I remember correctly) questions right. You also couldn’t go on to the next section if you hadn’t been working on the previous section for something like 2 hours. So if you answered something wrong on the quiz? You had to have the browser open for another 2 hours and then take the quiz again. And if you answered all the question right but hadn’t had the browser open the full 2 hours? Well then you waited. It was one of the most boring, most tedious, most unnecessary processes ever.

In New Orleans, it is totally different. I signed up for my class on Wednesday morning and was sitting in the upstairs area of Saints and Sinners at 3pm. The class costs $25. It takes 2 hours. And then you take the test which is comprised of 20 multiple choice questions, the answers for which have literally been fed to you in the moments preceding. I walked out of the class at 5:15 with my temporary permit, a permit that is valid for the next 4 years. Easy peasy.

So, in summation: New York makes everything so much more time consuming and annoying than is necessary. Also, the Office of Health and Human Services where I had to take the exam was so incredibly disgusting and was infested with cockroaches. And the guy taking the test next to me kept picking his nose and eating what he found. I know that isn’t New York’s fault (the nose picking) but still it was rather unpleasant. New Orleans, on the other hand, was a breeze. I didn’t see any bugs (Hallelujah!) and no one picked anything out of any of the orifices in their body.

Rain: It rains a lot here. It is raining right now, in fact. And it has also rained a lot of the other days since I have been here. But at least it is not snowing. I think this week I will buy one of those nifty bright yellow raincoats that I was embarrassed to wear when I was a kid but now want really badly. Also some galoshes.

Conclusion: So that is it. Week Six is in the books. I have a feeling there will be BIG news next week and hopefully that will not involve my car flooding which is a real concern, a concern that keeps me up at night.

New Orleans Diary: Week Three

16 Dec

Goal: To keep a weekly, running diary of my time here in New Orleans. I have hopes that this will sometimes cover some serious topics but so far I mostly have been talking 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 it.

The Ferry: For the first almost two weeks that I was here I stayed with my super awesome, sparkly, magical friend Carie at her great spot in Algiers Point. As previously noted, I have a car, something that makes getting around a city with rather limited public transportation significantly easier. Especially considering that in order to get into the New Orleans you guys think about when you think about New Orleans you either have to drive or take the Ferry from Algiers Point to Canal Street just on the other side of the river. The ferry ride itself is rather nice. It’s like the Staten Island Ferry’s much smaller, somewhat lazier sister. It’s not lazier because it only runs twice an hour from each side of the river for most of the day. It’s lazier because sometimes it just doesn’t run. At all. For no real reason. So the other day I was driving back from the city, listening to the radio, when I heard an announcement that the ferry wasn’t running.

Oh no!

I thought.

Carie is at work on the other side and she doesn’t have a car. How will she get home? I had better go pick her up so she doesn’t spend a bunch of money getting back to the house!

So that’s what I did. No big shakes. But then the next day I decided that I wanted to go into the city and I didn’t feel like having my car. I wanted to just, you know, go there, wander around, drink too much Southern Pecan Iced Coffee from PJ’s and then make my way back home, twitchy from the caffeine overload but pleased that I didn’t have to drive. So I laced up my big girl boots and sashayed my way over to the ferry landing where I was stopped by a few men in bright orange vests who appeared to be in the middle of eating lunch.

Orange Vested Guy: Ma’am, the ferry isn’t running today.

Me, after I got over being called ma’am and feeling like an old fart: Oh, I see. How come?

Orange Vested Guy: Because the captain is sick.

Me: You just have the one?

Orange Vested Guy: Mhmm.

He went back to eating his lunch. I suspected he was lying to me but with no proof I sadly turned around and meandered back to the house, this time with considerably less pep to my step. Was the captain really sick? Do they really have only one captain? And was it possible that the captain was, in fact, among the orange vested men sitting there eating lunch but his lunch was just so good that he couldn’t be bothered to drive the boat 5 minutes across to the other side of the river?  So many questions. So few answers.

But that’s not all! There is another thing about the ferry that maybe, maybe explains the first thing. So the ferry costs $2 a ride. There is no discount if you live in Algiers like how there is if you live in Staten Island and have to take the Verrazano; there is no card like there is for the subway in New York; there is no ticket counter. You simply go to the ferry and drop your $2 in this big plastic container thing and someone in a bright orange vest sits there purportedly supervising the transaction. The thing is though that you have to have exact change because the orange vested person doesn’t have access to the money inside the plastic container so if you give them, say $5, you just overpaid by $3. But they also never count the money before you drop it in. It’s all on the honor system. So, theoretically, if you were a dishonorable person you could just drop a whole handful of nickels in the container that only amount to like 95 cents and no one would be the wiser. So maybe too many dishonorable people underpaid for their ride and the captain got miffed and decided to not come to work. Or decided to come to work but instead of working eat his lunch. Although I heard that the ferry operators make a fair bit of money so perhaps this logic is flawed. I will research this and get back to you.

Apartment (!!): I was really anxious about finding an apartment because I grew up in the North East and spent the last 12 years living in Brooklyn. Apartment hunting there, like basically anything else in NYC, has some element of cut throat involved. First of all, you basically have to promise your first born to whoever the fuck is renting the apartment out in order to secure it. Second, you have to give them all this information and practically a million dollars. And third, you basically end up living in a closet somewhere in a neighborhood no one has ever heard of but is maybe going to be “cool” AKA gentrified in the next 5 years at which point your closet will be too expensive and you have to move again. Not so here! I looked at 3 apartments and all the home owners were like

LIVE HERE

And I got to be picky about it and ended up getting a fully furnished apartment with a washer/dryer and a private yard in a great location.It’s basically a nothing walk from everything (nod to Jessy Caron for highlighting that little speech nugget). It’s so big I got lost in it the first day even though it is a railroad apartment, or a shotgun in New Orleans parlance. I discovered after speaking with some other people that it is easier as a single woman to find an apartment. I imagine there are some other factors at play here too but I don’t know enough about racial relations in this city to feel comfortable weighing in on all that. And so I will just say, phew, what a relief. And also, hey, does anyone need a kind of awesome room in Brooklyn? Because mine is going to be available January 1st. No promising of unborn children required. The neighborhood is actually cool and not only is the room bigger than a closet, it has a rather sizeable one all for you. I’m pretty sure I even left a bunch of hangers in there. Message me for details.

Job Interview: I had a job interview at an about-to-open restaurant. I knew when I agreed to go to the interview that it was a mistake. I have been on the opening staff of a few restaurants in my day and it always is a fiasco. Too much staff, not enough money, lots and lots of micromanaging. But whatever, I need a job so I went in and tried to have a good attitude about it. The third question the interviewer asked me was what my ethnicity was. Needless to say I turned down the job. (I will write a stand alone blog about this later, me thinks. Once I assess whether or not writing about it is wise or unwise given my need for a job. Speaking of, does anyone want to pay me?)

Bags: I discovered that you can, in fact, get paper bags here. Granted you still end up with A LOT of bags, but not nearly as many bags as you would if you were to opt for plastic. This further strengthens my theory that it is not that people here love bags, like I at first assumed, but instead that there is a general mistrust for the strength of plastic bags and so baggers here just put one item per bag for safety purposes. Paper bags, in comparison, seem to have more heft to them. They are the safer bet. And easier to recycle, it seems. So that might just be that. And this might be my last installment about bags. Maybe.

Conclusion: Some other things happened this week also but I fear that I spent too much of my real estate this post talking about the ferry and I might have lost some of you. But in case you were curious about some of the other things, they were fun! I went to AcroCats, something I highly recommend. Also, the Abita Mystery House, the Abita Brewery, Fountainebleu State Park that has some pretty baller trees, and I ate Tachos, something that I will be working to undo for the next month. If you care to know anything more about any of these events, please leave requests in the comments and I will be more than happy to expand upon them in my New Orleans Diary: Week Four post. Until then (and maybe sometime in between when I write about something of potentially political substance) I bid you adieu.

Change is A’Comin

16 Mar

I have been doing quite a bit of thinking over the past few weeks.  My life has been in a certain amount of upheaval, in a good way I think.  It’s funny the way that we almost predict things before they happen.  I remember sitting with one of my best friends, a massively important part of my chosen family really, and saying to her that I felt like I was waking up day after day and not getting anywhere.  Like, I could go to sleep 30 and wake up 26, look around and things would look more or less the same.  I mean, obviously that’s not exactly the truth.  A lot has happened in the past 4 years.  I have met a lot of people, gotten my Master’s degree, started this blog, gotten into a serious relationship.  But in many ways I felt as though I had been running in place.  People would ask me what was new and I felt I could just shrug my shoulders and, to me, that felt like a pretty accurate representation of what had been happening since whenever it was that we last spoke.  But then I went ahead and I burned the whole thing down.

A few weeks ago I was thinking back to what a bad ass I was in high school.  I was so fucking principled and like, I just didn’t give a fuck.  I mean, not that I would hurt people without thinking twice about it, but I always sort of felt like when I was right I was right and authority could suck it.  I didn’t speak my mind for the sake of it, because I thought it was fun or something.  I would say something when I thought, for whatever reason, that it needed saying.  Like the time I got kicked out of homeroom for refusing to stand and recite the pledge of allegiance because I didn’t understand why I should be forced to acknowledge the existence of a god I didn’t know I believed in.  Or the time I got my chemistry teacher fired for reading our grades out loud in class and throwing a chair, not all on the same day.  Or the time I marched myself into the principal’s office, slammed down my AP scores and chastised him for having the nerve to disallow students from challenging themselves because he was afraid of how anything less than a 5 on those AP tests would effect our school’s ranking on some bullshit list of the best public schools in the country.  Seriously, what’s education if your educators tell you you’re too stupid to try something that might be hard?  I mean, these were all sort of silly little things I got all upset about for whatever reason but I got upset and then I said something.  Over the years though I have become slightly more pragmatic, thinking about the long term effects of saying something versus the importance of standing up for something you believe in.  Although that might be a good thing some times, it made me lose sight of myself a little and now, at 30, I want a little piece of my 16-year-old self back.

At some point over the past however many years I decided that my own feelings about things were sort of irrelevant, as long as other people felt good.  I would sort of tie myself in knots in an ill-fated effort to make sure everyone around me felt happy and supported.  The thing about it though is that you simply cannot make everyone happy all the time and if you try, well then you are just a fool.  There are people that will just keep taking and never return the favor.  There are red flags that shoot up in certain relationships that just cannot be ignored forever because those people will turn their backs on you when you finally need something in return.  And then there are those people, some of whom have been there all along and some who come out of nowhere, that step up to fill in the gaps.  I don’t know, people are surprising.

So here is what I have realized.  Putting everyone before yourself is stupid because it leaves you completely hallowed out and incapable of asking for anything in return.  I think that keeping this blog has really been an exercise in reteaching myself that lesson.  I sit at my computer and write about my experiences in the most accurate way possible.  I try and be kind, unless of course I am recounting some story about someone being an asshole in which case kindness is really an afterthought. Honestly, I believe when people are cruel they should be held accountable.  Anyway, then I publish it and let people read it on their own.  I like to think that my going through life, trying to be as decent a person as I can be is enough information for people to understand that my motives in writing are never to be mean or hurtful.  The reality that I need to remind myself of is that just as I bring my own experiences to the table when I write what I do, other people bring their own experiences when they read it.  I cannot expect people to interpret my words the way I want them to.  When I put my words out there, it is entirely out of my hands.  People are going to take from it what they take from it and I have to be okay with that.  Sometimes people are going to feel hurt, even if I do everything in my power to keep that from happening.  It is, unfortunately, inevitable. And so I have to stop beating myself up about it and just realize I cannot be in control of how people see me and think of me.  All I can do is go through life trying to be as good as I can without compromising myself in the process.

So here’s what I am going to do.  I am going to go back to the version of me that didn’t get anxious about people being upset with me all the time.  I’m going to stand up for myself in my relationships more than I have over the past few years.  I am not going to just sit idly by while my life just sort of happens.  If something isn’t working for me, I am going to change it.  And all the while I will try and write about it here.  So, wish me luck and hopefully you’ll all still like me.  If not?  Well, I don’t know.  I guess we will cross that bridge when and if we come to it.