Won’t you come out to play? Greet the brand new day?
Let’s have lunch. Whaddaya say?
Today is Saturday, which means there was no traffic in the streets this morning. I had the streets to myself, hitting every green light. Two wheels set one free. Everyone’s favorite Vesperado was out on city-wide patrol with a full tank of gas on a mission to buy fresh bread and pastry. What a world. What a life. I’m in love.
The wind was low and birds were singing that you and I are part of everythinging-ing-ing.
Today is a beautiful day in New Orleans. It is always a beautiful day somewhere in this wonderful city the luckiest people in the world call home, even right now. The secret to success is being in the right place at the right time. Most of it is dumb luck. New Olreans is a city of eccentrics.
I have never been a Beatles fan. I know, I know, I know. Don’t bother trying to convince me. I have heard them for as long as I have been alive, over and over, which is more than long enough for me to fall into the anti-Beatle camp and go to sleep while you tell me how historically important they were. You can’t even convince me in the past tense, let alone the present. No one knows the future until it happens.
If there is one good thing that did come out of the Beatle’s existence it is the Siouxsie and the Banshees version of Dear Prudence. I love Siouxsie Sioux. I have never met Siouxsie Sioux but I used to spend valuable time with a friend that looked like her. She couldn’t sing like Siouxsie Sioux but she had other talents. She was Welsh. She was born and raised in Wales. I don’t remember how we crossed paths. Good times.
You know how sometimes a song will spark some good memory and put you into a revery over good times gone by? New Orleans is that song. Once you get it into your head, you can’t get it out. New Orleans is like heart worm. Today is better than yesterday.
The sun is up. The sky is blue. It is beautiful and so are you. Open up your eyes.
Rain just rolled in. The signs were in the sky. The clouds are scudding by, low, gray over white. The wind is blowing. Stray napkins are everywhere.
Nothing in New Orleans is back to normal. I write this near the end of this long rat’s tail of a global pandemic. I am not talking about the fact that New Orleans is going to spend until after Mardi Gras Day as the only place for hundreds of miles east or west where people are masked indoors. I don’t know what happens in locales north of New Orleans that are not in Louisiana. South of New Orleans is the Gulf of Mexico. I don’t care what the fish are doing. What happens outside my meridian is of no concern of mine. I live in the Tropic of NOLA. Welcome to my world.
I am not talking about what City Hall is doing, or anyone else, specifically. I am talking about everything all together. There is a twist in the skein. What is this knot? This tangle? Something new is happening in New Orleans. It is more subtle than Katrina.
Look around and around round round round round. It’s a wonderful world. It reverberates.
I have lunch. Things happen. I keep my eyes open. I am your man in New Orleans, an idle rogue, a lovable gentleman scamp, a person who knows things. Let us see what’s going on, you and I.
I don’t eavesdrop but I do hear. Word on the street. Something will happen and I might pay attention. So many things happen in a day. There is so much to pay attention to. It is impossible to predict what will happen next in New Orleans. Things usually work out for the best, except when they don’t. Even a bad day in New Orleans resembles Heaven’s Fifth Circle.
The seeds of the present are planted in the past. Today will birth tomorrow. Something is happening in New Orleans. I can’t quite put my finger on it yet. There is a kink in the timeline. Something pleasantly improbable is afoot. Can you feel it? I suspect something good is going to happen soon. What do I know? I only live here and listen to the pulse pulsating around me in the murmur of the crowds, in the details of people’s intersecting lives as the unfold, in current events, in the Wall Street Journal, in the Times-Picayune, in my day-to-day life. Welcome to my world.
What’s happening today? Soleil, who is born and bred pure Gentilly, is breaking a new guy. He’s a farm boy from Minnesota who has been in New Orleans for a week. He seems stunned, like a tipped over cow. When you first move to New Orleans you go into culture shock. You can tell he’s a farm boy from the way he stands.
Me and the farm boy shook hands. I know his name but today is his first day. Is it really worth remembering? When we shook hands it like worlds colliding in friendship. I was wearing my fingerless hand warmers, of course, The temperature dropped when the rain rolled in. The Minnesotan was barehanded. He is used to the cold. He has only lived in New Orleans a week.
We shook hands and our worlds gently yet firmly collided in friendship. Two souls presented to each other in greeting. It was less awkward than hugging. We each used a firm grip, comrade-strength, nothing to prove.
The new guy’s name is either David or something that rhymes with David. He’s from Minnesota. Everyone told me to not make fun of his accent. Me? Of all people! Me! I tawk like a gangsteh in a Jimmy Cagney movie. To me, everyone has an accent.
Everything gets creolized in New Orleans. The longer you live here the less you will be able to live anywhere else. I am long past the point of no return. The highlight of my day is having lunch with you.
My hands are slender delicate things, like oleander branches, made for delicate tasks like writing poetry with a feather pen or pinching somebody’s cheek just so. I have hands made for coochie-coo. The only thing more beautiful than a baby is his or her mother.
This Minnesotan has hands made for milk pails and slop buckets. He has honest hands. He has held a pitchfork, a rake, and his high school sweetheart. It is nice to meet him. New Orleans needs more farm boys. Here is another one. Something is afoot. Stars are starting to align. What could it be? 380,000 points of light.
I will tell you more about this over lunch next time.
In the meantime,
The sun is up The sky is blue. The day is beautiful and so are you. Welcome to my New Orleans. Welcome to my world.
Would you like to have lunch a couple times a week to catch up with what is going on in my part of New Orleans? If you have the inclination, I have plenty of time to spend with you. It will be nice to see you on a regular basis. That’s what friends are for.