31 MAY 2008 :: I OUGHTA THROW YOUR ASS IN JAIL...
But I ain't got the time.
It's an interesting statement for a cop to make at the best of times, especially one in New Orleans. Not that I'm complaining mind you! That said, I'm quietly confident he would have found the time had he bothered to check inside the car. Or even walked around the other side to see windows being inconspicuously rolled down in a comical attempt to give the smoke somewhere else to go.
What made the comment such an interesting one for me, is the idea that time seems to be the only thing people in New Orleans have in abundance. It doesn't take long to understand just how much time people here have on their hands. I'm told the unemployment rate would be off the chart, if only anyone could be bothered to go out and register as unemployed. Which would obviously require putting down your beer and leaving the comfort and shade of your verandah. It's a tough choice, I agree.
As someone who has always felt most comfortable in big cities like London and New York, the rhythm and flow of life in New Orleans took a while to adjust to. Personally I found the easiest way to make this adjustment was a fairly hefty glass of Jamesons whisky, quickly followed by a second one.
I went to New Orleans with a pre conceived notion of what I expected to find, I was certain that walking around there would still be all kinds of evidence of the devastation Katrina caused. While chatting to the locals it became clear the mess had been cleaned up for the most part, but the lasting devastation has been the number of people who did not return home.
I found this a sad state of affairs. The city has such an incredible sense of community. Absolutely breathtaking mansions sit a few blocks away from small weatherboard cottages and student dorms. Yet I did not witness any form of class structure, I get the feeling locals would not even be able to understand the concept. No matter where you were (and we were in some very interesting places) people greeted you with a nod, a smile and a kind word.
The Jazz Festival was good but the musical highlight was easily the charity event on a Monday night. "Instruments a comin" summed up the spirit of New Orleans so completely and effortlessly. It's a benefit gig to provide instruments for high school marching bands. The tickets were.... not cheap, the whole experience was something to behold. The night started with high school marching bands doing their thing for the assembled crowd. I have to admit, I quite like marching bands, something about the rhythm of each little piece making up the complete picture, almost like pointillism? The kids then put their instruments down and watched in awe, smiles beaming from ear to ear as the professionals took to the stage.
I felt sad when it was time to leave New Orleans, despite taking a while to adjust to the pace of life. It's a city that gets under your skin, somewhere you want to spend more time in and get more involved with. The sense of community is unlike anything I've ever felt before, I look forward to the chance to go back next year.
28 MAY 2008 :: TAKING IT LIKE A MAN
This evening I explained to my flatmate Charlotte that I'm single again. Having explained it to Charlotte I now feel that I'm ready to explain it to everyone. It was very brief, but a lot of fun while it lasted. She's a wonderful person and someone I'm glad I got a chance to know, unfortunately some things are just not meant to be...
As this was only my second relationship I'm certainly no expert on breakups, or what to do with your mates to get over it.
Charlotte and I sat down with peppermint tea, chocolate and a Sex and The City box set. Could we have possibly done anything more feminine? Well, we didn't paint our toenails! Do I feel better for having a chat about it and spending some time with a mate.
It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.