Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Some Thoughts for the Day

Or, How to Stop Worrying and Roll with the Punches.
  • I haven't had much contact with the big, wide outside world since Friday night. That was my most recent occurrence of disconnection from the Internet. My ISP knows what the problem is. It's some kind of crinkle in an outside, underground telephone line. (They call it a "tap," but that makes me nervous. I prefer to think if it as a crinkle.) They promise me they'll fix it, but they haven't yet sent me anyone who works in the dirt, only the guys who do the inside jobs. But, hey, when the last technician arrived—surprise—I was back online and everything was rosy again. So what the hell, it's only 2012, and AT&T is doing the best it can!
  • There's this guy from Indiana running for the US Senate who has "struggled" with the idea of abortion and come to the conclusion that God (who is a man, like him) doesn't want any woman to do it, no matter what. I wonder, is it God who does miscarriages and stillbirths? I guess so. Anyway, I kinda think, being a man myself and all, and a single man at that, that abortions are things I don't have to struggle with. I have enough clutter to deal with in my life as it is. Women can take care of themselves. As for those unwanted babies, after years of childhood abuse and neglect and subsequent criminal activities, we can always ship 'em off to some prison somewhere and execute 'em while we stand outside and cheer the executioner. Abortion bad, execution good. Jesus wouldn't have it any other way. Come to think of it, He was executed. It must be all a part of God's plan. Who writes these rules, anyway?
  • I'm beginning to enjoy seeing Mitt Romney on television every morning. Unlike Barack Obama, you never know what he's going to say, what side he's going to take. He may be just what the White House needs, a weather vane. Just a big old cock, stuck up on a stick on the roof, a-blowin' in the wind.
Breathe in. Breathe out. Keep rolling.


Monday, October 15, 2012

The Power

Not long ago, I went through a little down-time and experienced a mild bout of writer's block. (Like I'm a writer.) It was then that a dear friend said I should just write as if I were enjoying a brief visit with someone over a cup of coffee. I needn't try to write something deep or Important every day. (Like I write "deep or Important.")

Well, I took her advice to heart, and that's what I have been doing, enjoying a cup of coffee with you every now and then.

Which brings me to what I want to tell you about today. I recently bought myself one of those one-cup coffee makers.

As you know by now, I'm not one of those trendy guys into the latest fads. I used to be, but I grew out of that once it dawned on me that I would be using my own money to keep up with the latest guy-gadgets instead of my dad's free hand-me-down bucks. So it was a pretty big step to go and shell out what I shelled out for this new-fangled machine.

What I had had before was just your basic ten-cup coffee maker that I'd got on sale at Walgreen's for $9.95. It worked okay, but it was pretty near impossible to down that tenth cup. I mean, it might have been sitting there for hours, sometimes for a day or two, and even coffee will get a little gamy if you let it stay out too long.

I figured the one-cupper was meant for me.

And I did it right.

I didn't go out and pick up one of those plastic filter-holders that you put on top of a cup and pour boiling water into, no, sir. I got myself a major coffee-brewing appliance. It even has a three-pronged plug, and it wants it's own proprietary socket like as if it thought it was a window-unit air-conditioner or a Frigidaire or something.

He's a tough little street stud, he is, my new coffee maker.

So far, he's been putting out for me whenever I feel the hankering for a little session of one-on-one with him. And, whereas, once I could barely get down all the coffee that I used to make, now I find myself swilling as many cups as there are waking hours in the day.

I tell you, these bad boys will give you new life, you know what I mean? I've got energy now, motivation. I've got aggression and a big chest. I've got ideas that never stop popping in the synapses of my brain. My hands want to hammer nails. Hard. My legs want to run one of those big-K races. I could even beat a Kenyan. I don't need as much sleep as I used to. I can go for eighteen, nineteen hours a day before I pass out. There are so many things to see and do, and now I feel like I can do 'em all.

Oh.

I gotta potty...

Saturday, October 13, 2012

When Nappies Get in the Way

We had big plans for today.

Near noon, we were going to hobble over to the riverfront streetcar stop near here and trolley up to Woldenberg Park for the Seafood Festival.

To get us through the morning hours until then, I microwaved us a little batch of Eggbeaters for a light breakfast.

Bad idea.

Made us sleepy. Food does that to old people.

We napped through the rest of the morning and didn't wake up again until around two-thirty this afternoon.

If I hadn't devoted so much of my life to public service and good deeds, I would be feeling like a waste of a human being right now.

To that, I say, "Pshaw!"

Instead, I'm listening to Francis A. & Edward K.

I came upstairs with the intention of touring the Interwebs, but there's nothing on this afternoon. Who would've ever thought that having the world at your fingertips would be so boring and mundane?

The music is good though.

I took a few snapshots of some of the leaves on the plants in the courtyard. That's productive. In a little while, I'll probably take a shower. That'll be really productive—at this point, anyway.

Later, I could always read a book, I guess.

Life is good.

Okay, it's boring, but sometimes that's all right. Life is full of mountains and valleys, ditches and troughs, and stalled traffic. It's all good.

And that, grasshopper, is the big, audience-grabbing trick you will have to learn before you can take that final bow.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

All Shook Up

I have an appointment today with that little-kid doctor I see, and he's scheduled me for a stress test immediately afterwards.

That stress test has me all stressed out.

I hate those things. He should just stick me with a needle—needles don't bother me—and suck out my blood like he usually does, then send it off to a lab where they run it through those spinning machines before sending the results back that say, "You're healthy as a horse. And a great big old strong-as-an-ox horse, at that!"

But no, he wants me to go take off my shirt and drop my pants in a cold, cold room where this guy who doesn't know me or like me sticks round pieces of tape to my wrinkled skin, connecting me by wires to some electronic gizmo he calls "Old Sparky," before he forces me to try to do physical things I haven't been able to do since I was seventeen years old.

All in an effort to either
  1. Kill me in order to make more real-estate room for some other old person on the face of this planet or
  2. Precipitate a heart "event" that will sling me onto that great health-industry conveyor belt on my way to one or more of the many available heart operations designed to make cardiac surgeons and hospital CEO's obscenely rich.
It ain't fair. I feel fine. I feel healthy. I feel well.

But, you know, come to think of it, my doctor's nurse didn't call to remind me of the appointment. I could always just drive uptown and make a long stopover at Camellia Grill, get me some eggs-with-a-bubble and bacon, biscuits on the side, and calculate the time the stress test would have taken before driving home and having a nice steak-and-loaded baked-potato lunch with Bobby.

Nobody would be any the wiser...

Not a bad plan.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

I'm Back

Okay, Sybil has been put to sleep and tucked away, and I'm here back in charge again.

Bobby and I have been decorating for Halloween the past few days. Well, Bobby has been decorating. My job is to stand at the foot of the ladder and catch him if he falls.

Don't think it hasn't crossed my mind.

It's a boring job, standing around and waiting for something to happen that probably isn't going to happen. It's even more boring when more decorations have to be added on each succeeding day because what's out there just isn't enough.

Bobby can be a lot like a Sicilian matriarch preparing Sunday dinner: "Do you think it's enough?" It's never enough.

Today will mark the fourth consecutive day of decorative increase.

And I'll just be standing at the foot of that ladder, the boredom of it all just eating away at my soul.

Another boring job I do is laundry. Why is that? Why is doing laundry boring?

See, all I do is, I lug a hamper down a single flight of stairs, walk about eight yards from my front door to our laundry room, stuff the clothes into a couple of washing machines (none of that separation of whites and colors—I don't do the mommie stuff). Then I wait.

After about a half-hour, the washer has completed its series of cycles, and I take the damp clothes and throw them into a couple of dryers.

And then I wait some more.

I hate all that waiting. The boredom. Why? It's not as if I were exhausting myself with labor.

It's because I hate being tied to a process that demands my active participation at certain intervals but, until those intervals occur, considers my very presence to be unimportant and irrelevant.

I hate that.

Next time, I should lug that hamper over to the river and do my laundry like the settlers did.

At least, I won't be waiting, and I won't feel useless.

Of course, I'll probably throw my back out.

Never mind.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Shhh...

There are times, sometimes,  I feel so full of lonesomeness and hurt that I imagine myself standing in a vast, blasted field.

Bleeding from my eyes.

I apologize.

I don't know why I wrote that.

I have never wanted to explore the dark side here. I don't want to bring that kind of sadness into this place.

Sorry.

I may be talking this way because I'm listening to sad songs and Elvis ballads... Ugh...

I say, "Ugh...," because... well, you know... Ugh.

I'm sorry.

Tonight, I feel as if I'm living in the land of No.

No...

No to this. No to that. No.

No.

I didn't mean to say that...

Everything is fine, of course.

It always was and will be, always .

Will be...

I would love a large cafe au lait!

Dark roast, no chicory, please!

And thank you ;-)

Monday, October 1, 2012

An Apology of Sorts

I've come around to the feeling that I may owe an abject apology to those people of the Pacific Northwest who do not necessarily share the sentiments of the person I poked fun at in this past Sunday's post.

Well, to be perfectly honest, there's this young lady in Portland (not the one one in Maine, the other one) whom I would never want to offend, and I'd like to clarify my position to her especially.

So let me say this about that.

As soon as the waters of the great flood of Aught-Five had receded, a more insidious threat to New Orleans' recovery and well-being came swooping down upon us from the sky like a coven of fairy-tale witches on broomsticks: America's corporate and creative elites.

The corporate elites wanted to recreate New Orleans as some sort of Atlanta-in-Exile with our historic neighborhoods being remodeled to resemble something like Orlando's Disney World version of the French Quarter, a copy of a copy.

The creatives wanted to inflict a version and a vision of art which was alien to the nature of the people of New Orleans. The fact is, we have been making art for over two-hundred years, as long as people have lived here and wrestled with the Mississippi and the surrounding bayous of Southern Louisiana for food and a livelihood.

Our art, however, has always tended to be accessible, utilitarian, and organic to our gumbo culture. Nearly every home and small business has a sign that reads "Be Nice or Leave," cleverly offset by a frame decorated with beer- or soft-drink bottle caps. That's the work of our Dr Bob. There is a dapper little man who does wonderful things with driftwood he collects from the banks of the river a block away from where I am writing this. Another gentleman learned to draw in Angola on discarded manila folders, and is now represented by a local gallery, but who will gladly give you one for a cigarette or two, for the price of a drink, or for anything else you might like to contribute. Our children seemingly take to music as soon as their hands can grasp a horn.

These new visitors (I call them that because, unlike residents, they can pick up whenever they choose and fly away with no thought to what they leave behind) find our music too loud, our food too spicy, our drinks too strong, our visual arts too quaint and negligible.

They haven't the means to see these things for what they really are.

They haven't the capacity to love these things as we do, for what they mean to us and for what they tell us about ourselves.

I'm not decrying change. I do not have a numbing fear of it.

What I am saying is that New Orleans changes those people who come to her and learn her ways. Those changes are what change New Orleans. They expand her. They increase her breadth and depth. They  intensify her humanity.

So I ask that you please forgive me when you catch me speaking passionately, and even somewhat rudely, from time to time about a place where my feet have taken root, a place that feeds my spirit as no other place has ever done.

Thank you.

Now, go home.
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