Thanks for joining what I had hoped would distract me from watching the show--it didn't work though.
Did it upset me.
Sure it did.
Did it inform me of anything new?
No it did not.
New Orleans is sinking.
Agreed--at an obviously alarming rate too.
Our levee system failed.
yawp. Sure did. But so did the agencies that were supposed to prevent that from happening. Funny, sixty minutes didn't mention reports of standing water in the backyards of homes near the levee system, complaints from homeowners being met with "It's not my job" from the Sewerage & Water Board--it ain't a plumbing problem. So they shift the responsibility over to the Corps of Engineers, who promptly told the Sewerage & Water Board that they would like the water tested first, to prove that it was Lake Ponchartrain seeping through and not some faulty water line. So ya'll know how that goes. I was civil servant once, and that little ploy was called "paper ping pong" by the clerks. But no, I didn't see that mentioned.
Nor did they mention that Louisiana has lost 1900 square miles of wetlands since 1932. That's a lot of acreage. I gleaned that info from a book recently published on the phenomenon, written pre-Katrina, which is eerie with omniscience, asking us to imagine what we'd just lived through...I'll get the title in a minute, but there was something interesting I noted which I read in the review today. The author noted that "seeminly overnight" seagulls were in our market parking lots. I remember this--noticing it, and asking my Dad about it.
"Where did they come from?"
"The Sea." He looked distracted at the time.
and ya'll know me, I persisted, but why now? They weren't here before.
But he still seemed distracted.
"Oh well, I think they are pretty."
Then he looked annoyed.
"They are a pretty bad sign if you ask me."
He never did explain, but my Dad was an old son of a farmer--he knew to watch the environment for changes.
Smart man. I wish he were here now to tell me what to do.
I read these discussions, these debates--regarding my future--my culture.
I told a friend in one season's time I became a cultural anachronism.
I told another that same thing, but added only that it hurt too.
The second friend I confided my feelings to, because well, I never heard him question rebuilding, or why.
So I dunno folks.
My son announced that he would rather live in Compton than in Arkansas. He told me he will run away. I told him if he stops minding me, he will force me to emancipate him to protect myself from his bad decisions.
I realized he never had much protection from mine though.
My mother won't leave, so that means my sister won't either.
So while I dream of owning some acreage and "a safe house" I'm also seeing that I may well be the only one game for the journey.
Well yes, we might do that, or we won't. Either way we are looking at the distasteful reality of dissolving all of our resources.
And then there is just something people don't understand about Acadian culture. We do still remember the slap of exile from Nova Scotia, and we are a proud and clannish people who managed to hold onto our language as well our heritage. We joined forces with one of the most racially diverse populations this nation boasts.
We were the ultimate gumbo--the true "melting pot" idealized by our forefathers.
Now we are not exactly feeling the love, folks. I can sit and listen to sixty minutes promotion of one scientist on one channel, and flip it over to National Geographic on the Megastructures series and see that the Saudi's are building islands in the shape of palm trees of their coasts. But we can't have a properly engineered and maintained levee system? Too much money.
Well how about amending that convenient law that forbids Louisiana from profiting off of their natural gas resources. We'll give ya'll a real good price too. I'm betting we can beat the Feds on that one, and pull ourselves up by our own white shrimp boot straps.
Or maybe we can just cede from the Union if we are such a pain in the ass.
Give us back to France.
Apparently their peasants are revolting too.
My Dad, that real smart man that I love to quote once told me that charity wasn't just good for the soul, but commonsense and self-preservation.
"Turn your back on the poor and you will end up with a bullet in it."
What he meant was desperate people do desperate things.
I see them happening everyday, and yet they still don't overshadow the small miracles I witness here daily.
A bar in Mid City opened their doors last week--they still do not have power. So they took advantage of a full moon, hired an acoustic band, and opened up the courtyard.
Lotsa candles, lotsa ice, and there you have it--that is the essence of a people that everyone is urging to "Just Move."
What other people deem as "stubborn" we call "resilience". It takes that to make a place such as New Orleans not just a home, but a vibrant artist culture that can produce our only original contribution to the arts--Jazz music.
I have been obsessed with limbo lately. Naturally I would be...but I was discussing those spaces inbetween with yet another Pip friend, who pointed out that sick people experience them quite a lot. Stuck between life and death, and feeling distanced from both. I agreed with him, and promptly got sick.
So when I finally decided to try some good old fashioned Robitussin today, I asked my sister for a ride to the drug store. My sister, "twisted" is reliable and prompt and so much stronger than me. But anyhow, she got here pretty fast--and I just tossed some clothes on for what I hoped was a quick jog into a local Rite Aid. I was wrong yet again.
Then I realized something rather funny while standing in line for the store. I'd forgotten to put on underwear under that favorite blue flowered dress I wear so much now. And I couldn't even allow myself so much as a smirk either, out of fear of a coughing fit in line, and well? wincing...
I may yet be young enough to still forget my underwear, I am apparently old enough to know and anticipate what would happen if I had a coughing fit in line at the drugstore.
There's been enough flood, and for those who still don't understand what I'm getting at, well just pass me the "Serenity" pads when I have a cold accompanied by cough.
Coulda been embarrassing, and I shocked myself with the amount of self discipline I displayed in that line.
Yep, I'm caught up in the spaces inbetween these days.
So to distract myself while in line, I thought of very serious thoughts, so I wouldn't laugh, and cough, and ultimately puddle their floor. So I thought about pneumnonia. That could be serious, so I thought about that.
Then I thought how basically death by pneumonia is a drowning. And I almost laughed then, to think that I fled a flooding New Orleans, then fled a flooded rice field in Crowley due to Rita, to come back to New Orleans to drown in my own pleghm?
I can't drown--I'm a witch! And I tell ya folks, not so much as a smirk in that long ass line in Rite Aid. I'm sure I had a strange look on my face though.
And just for the record, I will be seriously pissed if I die of pneumonia at this point in my story. I want it on record that such an act would be only under extreme protest.
I'm only half-way kidding there.
I am a worn out half crazed woman who has been protecting herself from the Gulf of Mexico armed with a tired squeegee mop and a St. Joseph candle, for cryin' out loud!
I cannot have my demise be the result of a self contained drowning.
I won't have it!
"rickety and rambling" serenity.
Robitussin, benadryl, and zanax might have something to do with the rambling tonight, but the rickets?
Why folks, I do believe I have an OTC "buzz"--cept for the zanax--so I think I will retire now.
I have a brand new mattress and box spring (<--first time in my life, EVER, too) satellite television and a remote control.
That's some damned fine living for now.
and oh yeah...I'll be around. *grin*