Sunday, October 12, 2008

49 percent fun!

This morning I felt the weight of Sunday like crazy. I don't think this has ever not happened. I wake up and it's late in the day already and I feel a little like going back to sleep and the imminence of the week hangs in the air. Puke.

But you know, I got myself out of bed and I finally went to the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.

No one at the museum was pleasant or kind, and the place was completely deserted. The admission was too high and the air conditioning was too high, too. But regardless, I think it was the best museum experience I have ever had.

The museum is amazing. It charts the history of this city in big oil portraits and photographs and tiny, tinny sculptures. The two absolute highlights:

1. A book called Missing New Orleans that the museum put out last year. It's like an old photo album that traces all the coolest things that ever happened in New Orleans. There are all kinds of artifacts featured inside, from whore houses (a photo of The Blue Book -- a directory of all the prostitutes in the city at the time) to amusement parks to pools the size of parking lots to jazz centers. Everything, even the pharmacies and streetcars -- seemed to have been built as lavishly and beautifully and opulently as possible. I looked through this book for two and a half hours, always looking for the reasons why the breathtaking beaches and carnivals and clubs had been shut down, but finding only dates ("The soda fountain closed its doors for good in 1983," etc.). And then, at the very end of the book, in crushing minimalism, there are pages and pages of pictures of the destruction of New Orleans during Katrina. And I'd seen those pictures before, of course. But something about spending so much time looking through pages documenting how unique and tremendously interesting this city was, and then looking at how it was all wiped away in one fell swoop... I know it sounds like an overstatement, but I understood the tragedy of it all in a way I hadn't before..

2. An exhibit by a photographer named Sally Mann. I won't go into it because the several times I've tried to describe this exhibit to friends today (it is called "What Remains," and features life-scale photographs alongside excerpts of poetry and prose) they kind of crinkled their noses, so I suppose you had to be there. But for the first time in my museum-going life, I found myself crying in the middle of the museum... completely fallen into the work, totally given up. Mann wrote on the last wall, "I look at death as a springboard for appreciating life," and I liked that. I hope to someday be so strong.

Then I was filled with this need to create; to do more with my small life. Museums generally make me feel like that; like there are endless possibilities and unopened doors all around me. I rode the train home and their was a carnival and music and the sky started to clear and I felt my whole afternoon open up with potential...

And then I went to Wal-Mart.

It wasn't even an innocent trip to Wal-Mart. It was, like, a three-hour, $200, massive Wal-Mart trip. It needed to happen, and I went in with a list, which is what you need to do when you need to go to Wal-Mart, but it still made me feel sick to my stomach.

At least I bought the screws I needed to fasten the basket to my bike and hang up my "curtains" (YES! I've installed CURTAINS! Check. By "curtains," I mean I put up the curtain rod and hung my rainbow wardrobe up over my windows. Now my room feels much more my own). I also have a bird feeder, and my cat has a lot more unnecessary cat things. He is so fucking spoiled.

I do have a lot of energy for the week. I am planning on going to a different jazz club every night this week. I realized I moved to New Orleans at least in part for the jazz music and I've only really appreciated it in passing, and in re-watching Ken Burns' documentary 10 or 12 times (which I could have done in Portland, thankyouverymuch). So with my newfound VOLVO, I'm going to go to a different club every night. Maybe not tomorrow night, because I have to work until 9. But definitely starting Tuesday.

That's a very, very big goal. But now that I've blogged about it I'll have to do it.

I went to the Hare Krishna free vegetarian dinner and found all the crazy activist twentysomethings in the whole city there. It was an easy group to assimilate with. I felt somewhat at home, and kind of like I was fooling myself. Who knows where I belong.

Mondays are the worst, obviously. But I DID buy a new Dinosaur coloring book for Avery and some cool full-color letter flashcards. So there is a good chance tomorrow could be something like successful.

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