Saturday, January 29, 2011

As God Is My Witness, I'll Never Go Hungry Again

The Verti Marte reopened today, and residents of the French Quarter, the Marigny, and the Bywater can rest easy again. We are free once more to befuddle ourselves, however and whenever we choose, knowing a hearty meal is only a phone call away, morning, noon, or late, late at night.

I made my way there today and got a few photographs that you can peruse over here. The layout is a little different, roomier, and brighter. It will take some time to restore that old patina of dusky grease. Like a good old Cajun cast-iron skillet, the Verti will need to be primed. But that day will come.

By the time I got there this afternoon, I'd already eaten, so I won't be having my "All That Jazz" po-boy until tomorrow. Then, later but soon, I want to try this new item on the menu, the "Born Again Burger" ("Out of the Fire, Blackened & Saved").

I suspect, I'll be sleeping like a baby tonight. Shel's back in the kitchen, Sam's at the register, all's right with the world.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"I Can See!"

Yes, he can, and I never laid a hand on him.

Yesterday afternoon, after God knows how many days of sitting in the dark with wrap-around sunglasses and a sleep mask over his eyes, I finally got Bob to call his new eye doctor's office and speak to someone about the trouble he's been having. The answer he got was kind of what I expected.

"What you're experiencing is relatively rare, but not altogether uncommon. Increase your dosage of the milky-white drops in the bottle with the pink cap to every two hours and come in tomorrow morning and let us take a look at you."

In other words, the pain and sensitivity to light he was experiencing was both "of or occurring far apart in time; unusual; uncommon" and "of frequent occurrence; usual; familiar." Doctor talk, don't you know?

I will say this wasn't coming from the actual new eye doctor, who's all crusty, sloppy, and endearing and trustworthy; but from one of the ophthalmology residents working in the clinic with him. The kid still has a ways to go before becoming all crusty, sloppy, and endearing and trustworthy.

The thing about Bobby and the medical profession, though, is this: with every personal contact he makes, his ailments shrink.

Thus it was that this morning, while I thought he was sleeping, I went into the bathroom to brush my teeth and wash up for the trip to the clinic. Suddenly, there he was at the door. I immediately shut off all the lights and the ceiling heater in the bathroom (it leaves a glow) and screamed, "I'm sorry. I didn't know you were up."

To which he only replied, "Oh, no, it's all right. Everything is clear. No pain, no problem seeing. I even had the light on in the bedroom."

"Then we don't have to go back to the doctor?"

"I think we should. Just to be on the safe side."

"And so you can get some more attention?"

"That, too."

So we went. He got examined. The nurse interviewed him about his common practices. She was able to determine that he smoked and suggested that he only smoke in ventilated rooms since the smoke could irritate the eye. She asked about how much light he could tolerate and was able to ascertain that he could tolerate none whatsoever - which was why he wore both his wrap-around sunglasses and his sleep mask ...

"Your what?" asked the nurse.

"My sleep mask. This," he replied, pointing to the mask still dangling around his neck (that's right, he'd worn it in the car).

"Oh, no", the nurse said. "Promise me you'll stop wearing that. In fact, get rid of it. Throw it away. Do it now. Do it in front of me. Here. Here's a trash can. Take it off and toss it in here. When have you been wearing that?"

"Only when I've been awake."

"Please, don't. It holds the heat. The eye has to be exposed to air. That's probably the cause of all your worries."

"Well, you know, come to think of it, I didn't wear it to bed last night."

Heh, I thought, I could have told him that. But he wouldn't have believed me. I'm just me. What do I know?

We still had to wait for the new eye doctor to make it to the examining room and reinforce what the nurse had said. And he did. But he also wrote a new prescription for another bottle of eye drops with a red cap that Bobby can put in both eyes three times a day.

That made Bobby very happy, and by the time we got home, he was all a-tingle.

And when Bob is all a-tingle, life for me is, well, okay.

Monday, January 24, 2011

As Through a Glass Darkly

My dad used to like light. He liked light a lot. In fact, he liked a lot of light. If there was a switch to flick, he'd flip it. A chandelier or a hanging bulb, a table lamp, a reading light next to a rocking chair, it didn't matter. If it was there, and it could light, it was lit.

"It'll be dark enough in the grave," he used to say. "Till then, I want to see what's here to see."

I'm a lot like him.

Which is why I'm sitting upstairs right now with all the lights on while Bobby is sitting down in the living room with no lights lit and all the shutters shut. And wearing wrap-around sunglasses.

He got those sunglasses from his new eye doctor in return for letting his new eye doctor slash his eyeballs open to get the cataracts out and implant new lenses. So he could see better.

Now, I'll admit, each time we go back to the new eye doctor, and the new eye doctor's assistant asks Bobby to read the letters on the screen, he can read them better than he could before. But outside the new eye doctor's office, he can't bear light. It blinds him.

Even the glow from the television set hurts his eyes.

So it's dark in the house. Very dark.

I used to develop film in the downstairs bathroom, so I learned how to maneuver using only touch and the strange sense of subtle sound as your hands moved through space. But that doesn't help much when you try to drop a single bead of milky liquid onto an eyeball, or find a mouth waiting for a spoonful of oatmeal.

Bobby has great faith in the medical profession.

Me, if a doctor said, "Take two aspirins and call me in the morning," I'd want a second opinion.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

If I Don't Blow This Horn, Nobody Else Will Either

I've noticed I haven't been writing about the theatre lately. I'm pretty sure you must have noticed it, too. Why do you think that is?

Could it be because I haven't been involved in anything until very recently?

Could it be that I've finally reached the conclusion that it's unseemly for a man my age to figuratively stand in the middle of a metaphorical intersection and scream, "Love me, love me" to passing motorists?

Or could it be that whenever I open my mouth, I manage to offend somebody new with some snarky remark or other?

Okay, all of the above, and then some, which I'll only share with my therapist. (But ask me nice and sweeten the offer with a couple of stiff ones [drinks, that is], and I'll probably let 'er rip.)

Anyway, the reason I'm bringing all this up right now is because the dreaded annual awards season has begun to rear its envious little green-eyed head down here in New Orleans, and our unassuming company hasn't fared too badly.

Now, I know only two or three of you out there came to see our little production of Frozen back in October, and even fewer of you saw my friend Karen Shields' production of The Last Reading of Charlotte Cushman earlier in the year. I'm not bringing this up to make you feel bad, and I'll never say that missing these shows was your own loss, because, of course, that isn't true. It was my loss. I could have used your fifteen dollars, but, hey, if you don't want to see a play, you don't want to see a play.

New Orleanians, you see, are not a naturally-bred legitimate-theatre-loving people. They prefer their entertainment to be, well, entertaining. And, as you know, I don't do "entertaining". New Orleans people prefer spectacle, and, again, I don't do spectacle - aside from the occasional stumble-trundle home on a Friday night. Yats love their stars, like that little girl who can sorta sing and kinda dance or like this month's most recent local politician just out of jail and on the boards. Sadly, stars like these don't seem to have much use for me.


Pardon me while I take a moment to extricate my right foot from between my jaws. Sorry.

No, what I really wanted to do was to simply draw your attention to this little mention of our work. Thank God, there are still some people around who can manage to scratch a grubby living of sorts out of schlepping themselves to shows and then writing them up. Or down, as the case may be.

And, let's face it, theatre people are like those proverbial good-hearted whores who still get a catch in their throats (sorry, bad choice of words) when a john says, "Thanks, honey, that was great," before rushing out to his car and a clean (ditto) getaway.

So thank you, Messrs. Ambie and Marquee.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Catching Hold of the Off-Kilter

I'm sitting here pondering some of life's deeper mysteries while browsing through my Google Reader and catching up on Spider Man when Bob calls out to me asking about the temperature. Not a problem. I have this little weather gadget on my desktop that tells me the temperature right outside my door.

It tells me that it's currently 53 degrees.

I also have another little gadget in my Firefox browser that tells me the weather, as well. I glance down at it, and it says it is actually 54 degrees. I pass my mouse over it and it elaborates by opening a bright blue window that confirms that, yes, it is indeed 54 degrees outside, but it feels like 56!

I like that kind of attention to detail.

OCD ... gotta love it.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Verti Marte, Carmen Electra, and Keira Knightley

Sorry. I just wanted some search-engine hits ;-)

By the way, Verti Marte, where Angelina Jolie (who - with Brad Pitt - owns the house on the other side of my private patio) loves to drag the kids when she's down home being a down-to-earth Yat mama, will be re-opening soon.

So chill.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Still Standing

Or, at least, sitting up.

As you've probably guessed, I made it through the night.

I confess, I really began to feel better shortly after posting yesterday's entry about my devastating sniffles. Often, I find, just getting something off one's chest does wonders for one's eventual recovery and well-being.

Ah, but there was more to it than that.

Isn't there always?

You see, after finishing up up here, I lowered myself down the stairs to the living room when there shortly came a tapping on my shutter doors. I opened them to find a package there.

I'd expected a delivery. I'd placed an order in the middle of the week and tracked that package's passage diligently across the continent over the Postal Service's website. I knew it was coming, and now it was here.

My lounging pajamas.

My blue-and-white striped, cotton-knit, drawstring lounging pants.

You see, it's way too cold down here right now to run around nekkid, and I needed something comfortable, yet warm enough, to putter around the house in.

So what if they make my butt look big, they're soft and loose and make me feel good, relaxed and comfortable.

I immediately ran up to shower so I could pull them on and break them in while Bobby sat downstairs and kvetched about the price he'd found on the packing invoice. You see, the total purchase had come in under twenty-five dollars, including postage; and he was pissed because if I'd only spent fifty-dollars or more, I would not have had to pay for the shipping.

Think about that.

As for myself, I've learned to "let go and let God ... "

So I held my peace and lounged. I worked at my PC and lounged. I lounged while watching reruns on TV, propped up in my barcalounger. I lounged in the kitchen, heating a can of chicken noodle soup.

Finally, very, very late last night, when everyone in the building had gone to sleep, I quietly slipped outside where I lounged some more while enjoying a quiet stroll in the courtyard.

In my pajama-lounging pants.

And my brand new blue glass beads.

Yes. Life is good.

Well, it's okay.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Because It's My Blog, and I Can Do What I Want with It

"I'll never forget seeing Ingrid Bergman on stage when I was a student in the 60s. She was so beautiful. When she walked on stage the whole theatre gasped."

It's True, I Am Ill

The time has come for me to come clean about my condition. I am ill, very ill.

I've come down with the dreaded winter cold, stuffy-runny-nose variety. I first noticed it yesterday while I sat up here in my little second-floor office sneezing my fool head off for a cool five hours. I put it down to the very warm temperature necessary to keep Bob comfortable in his dotage, but I appear to have been mistaken.

After choosing to go out last night to spend a pleasant evening with friends, it soon became clear I had no business participating in any social affairs whatsoever. I coughed. I sneezed. I couldn't get my hands on enough bev naps to staunch the nasal flow. I embarrassed - no, humiliated - myself.

Perhaps I should have listened to the voices in the crowd that crowed for me to have the bartender stir some warmth-spreading liqueur into my coffee, but, no, I knew better. I always know better.

Once home again, I spent a restless night kicking off my covers in the barcalounger. The pajamas became too hot. Then I shivered with chills.

It has proven to be all too much for me.

Today, this morning, I have reached a state of acceptance, a willingness to bow to my inevitable quietus.

I lie here ready to surrender my spirit. Life has been good. Well, it's been okay.

I doubt I shall pass another night into another day. But I am ready. I shall face the darkness as I have faced the light, alone - oh, so alone - yet serene, with dignity, a steady gaze, and lofty nobility.

Soon, at glorious heaven's gate, I shall sweep the very stars aside with my panache.

What's that from ... ?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Where Was I?

Oh, well, I've just been out livin' the life, livin' the life. All of which entails running Bob around town, taking down the Christmas decorations and putting up the Mardi Gras crap, and driving other friends to various doctor appointments around the Southeastern boot of the state we're in.

Needless to say, I've been in a pretty pissed mood.

I don't like to write when I'm in a pissed mood. I end up saying things I regret and losing one or two of the few friends I have left in this godforsaken world. So I've been keeping mum.

I have noticed one alarming change in me, though, and that's what I want to tell you about today.

First of all, I'm sure you already know what I think about holidays and festivals and celebrations of all kinds, right? I'd rather stay inside and watch figure skating on TV. Well, okay, no, not that. Maybe reruns of Law and Order and SVU.

But I'm sliding off topic.

What I really want to talk about today is what happened to me on Monday. Monday I was scheduled to go into my dentist's office for a teeth cleaning. Now, I don't know about you, but I don't mind having my teeth cleaned. In fact, I kind of like it. The lady who does me, her name is Peggy, and she's sweet and friendly, chatty but not boring, and, dare I say, tender. I feel we've achieved a level of intimacy in the open-mouth department that I've only rarely achieved with anyone else. I look forward to our times together.

But, Monday, man, I woke up feeling really bad. My neck was sore. My upper back hurt. I felt like I was coming down with a cold or flu. I felt like shit. So I reluctantly phoned the office and asked if I could change my appointment to another day. No problem.

Only thing was, though, there was a problem.

I had placed an order with Walgreen's for my pressure pills and my cholesterol meds. They were ready, I was out; and with the apartment so hot because of the weather being so cold, the last thing I wanted was to blow up like a red balloon and pop. I needed to drag myself out of the house to go and get those pills.

Being the nice guy I am, I turned to Bob and asked if he'd like to take a ride with me to the drugstore. Of course, he would, and maybe we could come back by way of Chartres Street. He remembered a shop on Chartres Street that sold Mardi Gras stuff, and he needed more decorations for the courtyard.

What could I do?

I did think to get over here to my little office nook and jump online to try to research this shop before leaving. Couldn't find it. Not one on Chartres Street anyway. Not one anywhere in the Quarter, in fact. Which was not a bad thing. Can you imagine what that shit would cost in this little 0.66 square mile area? But I did find this place up on Toulouse Street on the lake side of Broad. I copied the address and brought it as a fail-safe.

Good thing, cause there was no place on Chartres Street that met Bob's needs, so we continued on down to Esplanade then over to Broad and a right on Toulouse. And there it was, the Mardi Gras Spot.

We went inside. I gabbed a shopping cart and began to follow the old man.

It was in aisle eight that something, that thing I was talking about, came upon me like the Holy Ghost. The scales fell from my eyes, and I could see. And what I saw glittered. Sparkled. Shown bright like flares flying off the surface of the sun, y'all. I was born again in the spirit of Carnival. Never would I be the same again.

I started suggesting this thing and that to Bob. Hell, I started slipping this thing and that into the cart when he wasn't looking. I was like a kid in the candy aisle at Rouse's.

Then I found the holy grail.

Glass beads. Glass beads.

I had to have them. I grabbed first this one, then that. I took a dozen of every kind they had. Red ones. Blue. Multicolored. Big beads. Little beads. Nothing mattered. There was only one word: all. And, by God, I had them. I may have been going into debt, but I didn't care. This new vocation was greater by far than mere subsistence.

Why, with these glass beads, all hanging round my neck on Fat Tuesday, I would shine like the "woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet." I would bedazzle. I would stun. I would be able to get anything I wanted from anybody I wanted it from.

Beads may be barter, but glass beards are the Platinum Card of Carnival.

I've been wearing a set or two every day since then. I'm wearing these blue ones right now, the ones whose picture is up there on the top. I'm wearing them over a light blue tee shirt. My blue glass beads, a shirt and socks, and nothing else.

I am festive.

I am joyous.

I'm a parade!

Stand back of the barricades. Watch me strut.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Seems Like Only Yesterday

This little squat in Cyberville is now six years old. Hard to believe I've managed to keep it up this long, but there you go. Not shabby for a guy with nothing much to say.

Happy Birthday, Bigezbear!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Contemplating One's Utter Failure

I should have read the rules before I got started. What a waste of my years. I've done everything wrong.

Herewith, a list of things that those-in-the-know have decreed one must never photograph, unless one wishes to reveal oneself as incompetent and a fool:

  • Graveyards
  • Holiday Pictures
  • Pets
  • Homeless People
  • Flowers
  • Ashtrays
  • Your Car or Its Rearview Mirror
  • Puddles
  • Looking Up a Tree
  • Live Bands
  • Grafitti
  • Bridges

What's that phrase I remember from college? It's on the tip of my tongue ...

Oh, yeah. "Question authority."

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

May all your hopes and dreams come true, and may disappointments never see the light of day.

May the heartaches of the past fade from your memory, leaving only recollections of joy.

All rise! A toast!

To follies and delusions!
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