Tuesday, February 24, 2009

48 percent fun!

It has certainly been a while. I have probably forgone my entire readership from lack of finding the time to be a regular updater. Oh well; a blog is a mostly narcissistic thing anyway, and heaven knows I'll come back and re-read this entry four or five times when I want to feel smug about my abilities to write about my own life.

Guess what today is?


I like that no one really told me anything about Mardi Gras, because I had this very distinct idea about what it would be like (so far) in my head, and (so far) I've been hundreds of kinds of wrong. Here is what I used to think about Mardi Gras:
  1. Mardi Gras only works if you are waaaaaaassstted.
  2. To get a strand of plastic beads, you will have to do battle.
  3. There are TONS OF BOOBS EVERYWHERE during Mardi Gras.
  4. People will vomit on your house during Mardi Gras.
  5. Only tourists do Mardi Gras. Everyone else stays at home and eats a Po' Boy.
These conceptions are almost all false. I got accidentally drunk for one parade, but other than that I have seen them all while very sober, and they're much more enjoyable that way. The floats are beautiful. Mardi Gras is a very family-oriented event, much like everything else in New Orleans. Sometimes this is annoying, because children get way better throws from floats than I do. But I HAVE gotten about 500 or 600 strands of beads. I don't know what I'm going to do with all of them. You're not allowed to pick them up off the ground, by the way. And you're supposed to throw coins at the men who walk around with the flaming torches. And I think you can sometimes throw Mardi Gras beads BACK at people in the parade if you really love them. I don't know if that's an actual rule. I haven't seen a single boob (although there are definitely a lot of tourists, and I'd be lying if I tried to tell you that there weren't also a lot of drunk people).

I like Mardi Gras. That's the consensus so far. New Orleans makes me feel like I am always surrounded by my family. Sometimes even more than when I am ACTUALLY surrounded by my family. They should clearly move here...

I am not technically supposed to talk about the reversal of my job placement decision. But I will say this, for the record: My students wrote the district THE BEST LETTERS they have EVER written. When Ms. McGough slapped them down on my desk last week, one after another, I started tearing up immediately, and then moved to absolute awe. It was the best writing some of them had ever done.

And across the board, from all corners of the country, people I loved took FREAKING GOOD care of me. I started hearing from people I hadn't spoken to in months, who said they would do anything to help out. You know how in life we are in constant flux between expecting the worst from people and situations and knowing that ultimately human beings are, at their depths, good? Last week I was stunned, in a way I have never experienced before, by the deep kindness inherent in human nature. This is the kind of event in your life that makes you say, "Ever onward."

Then Kim came to visit.

Kim Neer, of all my friends, is the best combination of "fun" and "beautiful" that there is. Kim, for example, appreciates good poetry. She appreciates fine art and reads long essays and nonfiction books. She listens to understated jazz music. BUT ALSO, she is down with Top 40, and she DANCES, and she will undergo any adventure thrown in front of her. So highlights, then:

  • The swamp, and 150,000 alligators; and turtles, and BABY ALLIGATORS, and all sorts of swampy birds and green finger lizards, and NPR-recording swamp sounds.
  • Trouncing around the French Quarter and drinking in public. HOW ARE HURRICANES SO FREAKISHLY ALCOHOLIC? Even though we got the ones made with fresh fruit juice, and they tasted like something you'd drink in the morning alongside pancakes and eggs, we got druuunnnk on just half a hurricane each and had to eat emergency beniegts. Which I can never spell correctly.
  • Bloody Marys, and free Indian food from Hari Krishna.
  • A field trip with my life skills class to the IMax, and mall food shopping. Subthoughts on this: A) 3D movies about SCHOOLS OF FISH SURROUNDING YOUR BODY are TOTALLY FRIGHTENING and WHY WASN'T I TOLD THIS? B) Students don't really like field trips unless all their friends are on that field trip. C) Mall food is overpriced.
  • Oh my God you guys, the Hornets SMASHED the Magic to FUCKING PIECES. It was amazing. It was just... a devastating massacre. It almost stopped being fun, the Hornets were playing THAT. WELL.
  • The NOMA, City Park, Bennachin's... a lot of aesthetically pleasing scenarios in the sun.
Since Kim left I have been reading A LOT and watching a LOT of documentaries on NetFlix "Watch Instantly." I'm astounded by how much I like to be alone, consuming. Maybe I am antisocial? I mean, I kind of know that I am antisocial. Well anyway, the space has been wonderful, although it is probably not all that much a demonstration of my ability to be fun.

Now I have the week off for Mardi Gras (I know, right? A whole week?), and I'm trying to find the most exquisite balance of work and play. I haven't landed there yet, but I am happy to be alive. Also my cat is GREAT. Really flirty lately. Ahh, the companionship. The camaraderie.

I ought to add that not last Saturday but the Saturday before (and it seems like an eon ago), James and I went to Lafayette, Louisiana. A true fact about me: My favorite trips are the small ones, to the little places tucked away that no one really chooses to visit. James planned this himself, and somehow found this little untouched world under a bright gray sky with flowers and enormous Spanish moss trees, and ancient churches, and a zydeco band with octogenarian waltzers. That day I felt 100 percent fun. Someday I want SO BADLY to spend no less than two months driving around the United States exploring these places for days on end. It's not a unique vision, of course -- we are all a bit fascinated with Little America. Regardless, I think someday I'll hole myself up in a Volvo with a video camera and a Moleskin and lots of ink pens and explore under the pretense of creating something. But really I'll just be seeing it all, selfishly.

You could come if you wanted. You're totally invited.

Today is Zulu's 100 Year anniversary. I have seen pictures of what this means. It means there will be a literal SEA of people. Good thing I have a costume, or I'd never catch ANY beads.

Ever onward!

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