Sunday, February 16, 2014

Seeing My City

A few days ago, I realized I had stopped seeing New Orleans. When we first moved here three and a half years ago, I was completely enraptured by everything. A lot was in play there ~ 

First, NOLA is an amazing city. It is. There are colors and sights and smells and nooks and crannies and colors and shapes... It is visually stimulating and enchanting. The people are unusual enough that even Portland, for all its pride in being weird, couldn't keep up down here.

Second, it had been a long time since I'd lived in a city. Anchorage didn't really count because we were there in winter, and didn't go out much. The years I spent in Washington, we were in bedroom communities of cities, but not in the cities. To be back smack in the middle of a city ~ any city ~ was a sensory delight for me. To be smack in the middle of the city I described up there? How could I be anything but delirious?

Third, I had always wanted to live here. This was the city I had tried to get to since I was about 10. My dad briefly considered a job here, which would have altered the way I grew up considerably. I was accepted to law school here, only chose to defer ~ and then not go. Lithus and I thought he had a job here a few years before, only to discover the offer wasn't quite as legit as we'd been led to believe. And finally, finally, I was here. 

Again, it's no wonder every brick fascinated me.

But then reality happens. Even the most amazing places become mundane. The extraordinary becomes every day. On top of that, just in the last year, New Orleans herself has changed direction. Has gone from being on the brink of being something truly special, to backing away from that edge and choosing to become something mediocre, perhaps even a caricature of itself. The first part of this I could have lived with and accepted. After all, sometimes part of what makes a place wonderful is the very comfort and ordinariness of it. The second part, though, the second part has taken the bloom off of NOLA for me.

It is, however, where I am. And I don't like going through life with my head down, not looking up, not finding reasons to be delightful and enchanted and delirious. So, I am making an effort to, as I wrote to a friend of mine (*waves hi to London*), see NOLA as it still is, rather than for what it isn't any longer. Here is the result of the first day of that self-imposed challenge.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee ~ and maybe a little magic back.