“SHE CAN BE ROUGH, BUT SHE’S A SENSUAL LOVER”
I left New Orleans a bit roughed up, but no worse for wear. On the drive home, as I passed through Mobile, the universe sent me a humorous reminder that someone always has it worse. Just before I entered the Mobile Bay Tunnel on I-10, I spied a Carnival Cruise ship docked along the industrial waterfront where it was surrounded by cranes, looking derelict and abandoned. I laughed aloud. Who else could this be but the good lady Triumph? As I had healed at the Captain’s Metairie home after Mardi Gras, we had watched daily as she had been slowly towed to Mobile, adding our own comments to news reports of the squalid conditions onboard: Urinating in the showers, defecating in bags, sleeping on deck to escape the stench, eating…cruise ship food! Their vacation had been much more disastrous than mine, and yet even then several resilient passengers, upon disembarking, just shrugged and told reporters that somewhere someone was dealing with worse. I tipped my hat before going sub-marine, thanking Triumph for the perspective.
About an hour earlier I’d texted Marquis and Brooke, seeking to find humor in my frustration, and told them I was about to change my blog title to My Year of Sitting On My Ass & Doing Nothing In Jacksonville. I wasn’t going to give up this easily, of course but Mark and Brooke weren’t so sure and so over the next few days sent me kind words of encouragement as I recouped and regrouped in Jacksonville. “She can be rough,” Marquis wrote of his hometown, “but she’s a sensual lover. Just give her time.”
HOME IS WHERE THE INTERSECTING & DIVERGING CIRCLES ARE
That first morning back in Jacksonville I slept late and then for lunch made a grilled cheese and opened that single can of tomato soup that had been in my cabinet for years. I long ago tried to cut out heavily processed foods but left a few non-perishable items for hurricane season. Although the storm that had hit me was metaphoric (and biological) in nature, it was an emergency nevertheless. The soup and sandwich were divine.
I’d like to say I got better right away, but this brutal cold dragged on, in diminished form, for weeks and somewhere along the way ran into spring allergy season. I’m still sniffling from pollen at this writing and don’t know if I had a single cold or a succession of germs with an allergy cherry on top, but, while not deathly ill like in New Orleans, I’ve still had to take it slow and have hardly worked out in a month. Nevertheless, the familiarity of home and comfort of close friends worked miracles on my battered soul. I had only been gone two weeks, but the intensity of my illness and the frustration that followed made time drag. I had conceived this project in part because I felt I needed a change from Jacksonville, but, having made some many dear and wonderful friends in so many intersecting and diverging circles, it didn’t take long away to realize that after a decade it had become my home.
THE ZEN OF AC/DC
The two and a half weeks I spent back home gave me time to physically and spiritually recoup as I luxuriated in simple, familiar pleasures such as catching up on favorite serial TV (Walking Dead, Homeland, House of Cards), hitting the beach on a warm day with a wonderful friend, eating ribs at Mojo’s Kitchen (the best BBQ joint on the planet), and attending potluck dinners at friends’ houses. I also had time to catch up on my writing and update the blog’s design, such as adding social connectivity buttons. It was wonderfully cathartic to finally complete the articles about post-Mardi Gras blundering (my Tragicomedy Trilogy!), and I now had sufficient distance to laugh at the whole mess.
I also began to research housing again, at last receiving a few responses to roommate ads. I located a girl who had two months left on her lease and was offering a furnished bedroom and living area for this short time, minus an actual bed. The pictures she sent looked fine and it was a good location, so I jumped on the offer. It couldn’t be worse than a week on the Carnival Triumph and it would only be for two months, yet it would get me in town to pounce on properties once they became available.
Gradually my excitement rose. I began listening to New Orleans music again, cooked Cajun bean soup, and was thrilled to stumble upon an episode of Bones set in New Orleans–Logical, skeptical scientist falls under voodoo spell…good fun!
I had finally found housing—at least temporarily–and more importantly, my Mojo, baby! Rock on! From age 16 to 26 I’m fairly certain I never attended a party where AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long” wasn’t rocking and now a line from that song kept running through my head:
I had to cool me down to take another round.
Now I’m back in the ring to take another swing!
THAT BIG METAPHYSICAL BROOM IN THE SKY
As my excitement grew, the new car smell faded from my north Florida convalescence. While packing and preparing to return the second week in March, I found myself amidst a bizarre drama that is for another blog far, far in the future (it will be a looooong time before I laugh at this one); later I learned that a dear, dear friend and beautiful soul is battling cancer (all my love, prayers, and karma your way). The worm had turned. The former incident emphasized that shit happens everywhere while the latter reminded me of how I began this adventure to seize my dreams since life is too short to wait for them to simply arrive. The universe was sweeping me back out the door with a big metaphysical broom in the sky.