Monday, February 28, 2011
NOLA, The Yin To My Yang
In fantasies I pretend I'm Tony Bourdain. I drink, I swear, I pillage monstrous amounts of bad for you food thinking, "Yeah, I'm pretty invincible, look at Tony, he used to be on heroin, and look at him now!"
And then my belly kicks in (saying eff you sick pack abs), and the fact that I'm not 20 anymore, and I think about having kids, and the fact that I'm married and responsible, and that the world is about more than just me. Drunken swashbuckling and swearing can't be an everyday occurrence...hedonism has its bounds...and for me, the bounds stop at a creeping 36 inch waist and a wife who really adores the time we spend and remember together...something I always cherish and adore.
Enter New Orleans...
Fucking laid back, people who aren't plussed when you tell them how great their food is (cause it's kinda like rockin a hot wife on your side, you know you got it). There is sunshine there, it's half damn tropical as you're blowing down St. Charles on the streetcar packed like a sardine with a goofy smile on your face in the middle of February.
Bloody Mary at 11am in the French Market (oldest open aired market in the U.S.) after you nursed your wicked hangover with a freezy drink and some street jazz? Why the hell not? The fact that I was half buzzed cruising through this market with my wife and a fistful of cash and some raucous street food (battered and fried corn anyone? Crawfish pie?)....don't mind if I do. Commenting to my mother-in-law, "It's 1pm, I'm half drunk and buying shit, life is good", cannot be wrong...all with a goofy ethereal grin.
Our trip to New Orleans was planned as the epicurean adventure for my wife's belated unmentionable 30th birthday. The icing on the cake is that we have a friend who is from New Orleans, and her folks happen to have a spare condo in the Garden District that is open to anyone who wants to visit. Literally, they met us at the door, showed us around, gave us the keys, and left. When I told my friend we were once offerred a place in NOLA but we had to pay, she said, "Obviously they aren't really from down here".
And that is New Orleans. You read about the pride, the stubbornness to stay through Katrina, it's easy to condemn and make your ivory towers judgements. But it's so much more than a post hurricane ravaged Sodom and Gomorrah. It's a place that says, "Yeah, we may eat and drink too much, but fuck it, we will die anyway, get me another drink". It's a town of kindred spirits and a reason I felt so at home. Let your freak flag fly, wave it proud, but be kind, be good to each other.
In a world with so much repression, so much show and tell with no substance, New Orleans embraces the bad and the good and lets things be what they are. So apt to judge the pleasure we find in social interactions beaten into us by the puritanical principles of old. "Needing Jesus, or religion, or solace from the sin"...when merely all we needed was solace.
In food, drink, and extremely good company we found our solace. This month however, I found the gym, and the diet....
Oh New Orleans, how I love you...if booze and food had no calories, now that would be something.
I so hated wearing this fucking glittery crown...