Monday, August 02, 2010

The New Normal--Day One

The "New Normal"--I heard this term a few times while in New Orleans. You get a sense that there are new cultural forces at work in the city that will begin to solidify in the post-Katrina era. One of the most intriguing things I heard about was the Friday Night Fights on Freret Street.

I am not sure how often these events take place, but my friend Elise informed me that someone has written a short story about them recently. If anyone can turn me on to a copy of this, I would appreciate it. Now, I am not one for boxing, and I really didn't want to take Cece to this event (nor did she want to go, really). But the idea of neighborhood “men” getting into the ring to fight each other in an “organized” way was rather “intriguing” to me. It seemed like a New Orleans version of “good, clean fun.” Yeah you right! Something else we have taken as our own and turned it on its head.

For me, my “new Normal” was coming back to Texas and landing in the world of everyday “reality.” My experience with work in New Orleans was never really normal—an academic does not have to live a “9-5” day. Teach, do some research and writing, advise students, grade papers, prep. Much of this can be done from the convenience of the coffee shop. Luckily for me, my research was New Orleans, so I could get on the streets and absorb my research.

My “new Normal” is getting back into a daily “routine,” without Devin and Susan here for the time-being. That includes walking Stella, making coffee, feeding Stella, taking a shower, going to work, working, then coming home. Every day. Now, there is no doubt that we all do variations of this every day, but when you live and work in New Orleans, each of these “tasks” are filled with the possibility of the unexpected. And I mean this in a good (smile on your face) way.

When you walk your dog, you might actually run into someone you know, and actually say hello, and might even have a conversation. We are not necessarily in a hurry when walking the dog. And we might just say hello to someone walking down the street. And we might compliment them on something (like a pleasant smile, or a nice dog-leash, or nice and crazy colored shoes)....

Here, when you do see people, even in this “neighborhood”, they rarely look you in the eye. When I am able to catch them and say hello (with a smile on my face), they look a bit startled. I am waiting for the day when someone calls the police on me here because I smile too much....

Today is the first day of my “new” normal. I find my coffee is not as strong as the coffee I bought at Satsuma's. Wow—how is that possible? I thought I made some pretty strong coffee. I guess I'll add an extra scoop to the brew tomorrow. I find the morning air not so humid and hot (not necessarily bad, by the way). I find the quiet of the morning a bit unpleasant.

I've got so many thoughts in my head right now, but I gotta get ready for work. More of the “new” normal later tonight.

Still, today's new normal is going to include riding the Harley to work....

Now not everyone can do that every morning!

Yeah you right!!!

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