Days 55 (NOLA)

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I have to preface this blog by thanking everyone for their concern in regards to my wreck. I am still waiting to hear back from the insurance company and staring at my busted bicycle growing ever so furious. Not furious because I was in the wreck, and not furious because I have to deal with the always enjoyable task of talking to insurance companies, but furious because I can’t ride my bike. I have been walking around the city the past few days and I feel like a piece of me is missing. I feel so vulnerable. I feel incomplete. Luckily I’m surrounded by amazing people like Daniel. His home has proven to be a safe aura for calmness and productivity. He’s shown me some of the most charming parts of the city, and some of the dodgiest.

I woke up sore, stiff, and courting a splitting headache. It kind of felt like when Whitney Houston hits that high note on “I Will Always Love You” except on a repetitive loop, coupled with the sensation of 15 snot nosed kids pummeling my temples with whiffle ball bats. Daniel suggested I take a bath. Baths are a cure-all. As I submerged myself in the steamy water, I felt like a slab of butter melting on a freshly baked country biscuit. For the first time in a long time, my shoulders relaxed, my muscles tendered up, and I was free.

Baths don’t last forever. Upon my emergence from the lukewarm water, the realization that I had to deal with the insurance companies reared its ugly head. I got the run around. A few times. What a frustrating endeavor. I hate thinking about it, and hate writing about it even more. It will be resolved.

Daniel and I decided to get a bite to eat before his shift. He took me to a restaurant behind a bar called Serbia which coincidentally serves Serbian food. I ate something delicious stuffed in something delicious as I listened to Daniel serenade me with stories of his life. What a life he’s led. I think everyone’s life deserves at least a book written about it. Daniel’s would have about 30 volumes. Right now he’s working on multiple children’s book series. One is entitled Doug the Dirt Diggin’ Bug and as he described it to me, all I could think was that Dora the Explorer better move da fuq over. Daniel has faced many obstacles in his life, as we all have, but hearing the way in which he deals with confronting issues is very inspiring. He chooses to do the things that make him happy while still remaining considerate for the well-being of those around him. Balancing those two has been a challenging ordeal for me, so to spend some time with Daniel, and learn from his has been rousing to say the least.

I spent some time walking around the French Quarter on my way to meet Mitchell and his friends, Caitlin and Stephanie (I think your name was Stephanie. I’m sorry. When you told me your name it was loud and I pretended to hear you so as not to make you have to repeat yourself. I figured I would catch it again in conversation but never did. Then it was past the point of appropriate to ask you your name. Damn social norms. Anyway, sorry Stephanie. Stephanie feels right. Gah, so many new faces. So many names to remember). So yeah, the French Quarter was lively. Lots of drunks, outlaws, bohemians, crusties, artists, no-names, ghosts, figments, and more drunks. I just put my hood up, smiled at a few, gasped at some, and sang with a couple. Then I reached my rendezvous point with Mitchell. We played an intense game of Jenga which was not dissimilar from the one played by myself, Yaris, and Alex in Milwaukee. Everything is the same everywhere you go. The people you surround yourself with are the ones who mold your perception of those things. We were enjoying ourselves throughout the course of the evening, but my mind began to wander. The adrenaline of the accident coupled with the electricity of the city had finally begun to subside and I was struck with this intense feeling of morality. Humility swept in soon after and I glanced around the bar and wondered why I wasn’t taking advantage of the fact that I can still move around. I was sore, but I could still walk. And if I could walk, I could dance. We agreed that we needed to dance. I needed to dance.

Now I’m not a ‘good’ dancer by any measure, but dancing makes me feel good. And that’s much more important. I don’t care about anything when I dance. I didn’t care that my knee was in pain the whole time because I just moved to the beat and let my body transform into a serpent-like state. I grove and slither and float and smile and forget the fact that this luxury could have been swiped away in an instant. I appreciated the moment. So did Mitchell, Caitlin, and Stephanie. We were the only people dancing in the bar. We were the only ones alive in that bar. A couple of Norwegian kids caught on and joined us in our quest to liberate the rest of the patrons from the numbing comfort of their self-inflicted alcoholic sedation. We came, we danced, we conquered. Most importantly, we experienced true, unadulterated bliss. Someone didn’t that night. The four of us went outside to grab some fresh air. Upon returning back inside, I stumbled upon a scene of four EMTs attempting to revive an individual. He wasn’t breathing, and judging by the look on the EMT’s face that checked his pulse, things looked grim. There would be no more dancing that night. He was taken out of the bar on a stretcher and I stood there dumbfounded. Give and take. I went home thinking about the fragility of man. I fell asleep with the image of his designer shoes covering his motionless feet laid out on the dingy bar floor. His left shoe was untied.

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