Friday, June 24, 2011

all lit up

Earlier I decided that, in spite of feeling miserable, I was going to walk to Little Tokyo to get some soup. I'm pretty sure I have strep throat. All these people around me have it (2 coworkers, a professor, my mom) and, judging from my polka-dotted uvula and low-grade fever, I probably do too. I Googled it at the MLK/S. Claiborne stoplight while nervously hoping one of the cops on either side of the intersection didn't check out my been-expired-for-a-year inspection sticker.

When I stepped outside, I thought it might be raining. I stuck my arms out, felt drizzles, then turned around to go back inside. "Getting the car keys?" my neighbor asked. I think I've conditioned them to realize headphones equal walking. "No, the umbrella." I replied. They gave me a funny look but didn't say anything.

This marks my second walk in the rain this week, the first one being Monday. I left Z'otz and made it half a block before the deluge began. I ran back and the barista, the cute one who thinks I sound like I'm from another country, invited me to wait it out and gave me some water. Things cleared up and I gave it another 15, which was a mistake, because this time I made it 2 blocks before it started pouring again. But, my walk today was nicer. Most of it was a drizzle, so I didn't even use the umbrella. And yeah, maybe it's stupid to take walks in the heat when you're ill, but it felt refreshing, healing, to walk fast and breathe in short bursts and sweat a little. It's not necessarily about "getting some fresh air," but just getting some air at all. One interesting thing about New Orleans is the litany of smells. Everyone knows the Quarter smell, that smell of old piss and trash and beer and food. Sometimes, I get a whiff of the CBD, like today, when I had to walk across the Saratoga parking garage to get checks and this sickly sweet smell of garbage and heat (yes, heat has a scent) wafted by. The smell tonight seemed familiar too, very familiar, and I kept trying to pick it out. I finally realized it smelled like old timber, making me think of my dad, the carpenter. Specifically, I thought about the time that he and his crew were gutting and redoing the old Heidelberg Hotel back in 2005 and he let me come in and take pictures of the inside (some of those can be seen here).

I've thought about my dad a lot lately, specifically relating to my desire to learn to sew again and to build stuff. He's always been a man who worked with his hands, who created and worked, many times thanklessly, always with a fierce pride and determination to never half ass it. I have a lot of conflicted feelings about my dad, but he's definitely imbued me with that same determination...a kind of drive that comes off casually but burns deeply, making me infuriatingly stubborn about doing something with my life. I've always attributed my stubbornness to my mom, but he played a big part in that side of my personality.

So, anyhow, the skies open up right when I'm about to cross Willow, so I skip the last few steps and I guess my little burst of energy convinced me that I could eat more than the soup I'd come there for, because I ended up ordering soup, seaweed salad and 2 sushi rolls. While I waited on my take out order, I texted myself to remind me to blog. I wrote, "Walk in rain, umbrella, old wood smell, why am I writing blogs instead of poems?" except "blogs" autocorrected to "blobs," which seems like just the kind of pretentious observation about life that this blog/blob is all about. ;)

A girl at Little Tokyo complimented me on my red hair scarf, which made me laugh because I'd worn it to class tonight and gotten some commentary on it there too. I almost skipped class tonight because I felt like shit, but it was our last class and I'd skipped the one on Tuesday, so I felt compelled to show up. When I walked in, 10 minutes late, Horowitz stopped talking and said, "How are you?" I said, "I'm okay?" and he said, "You look grumpy." I said, "I don't feel well." Another guy said, "You didn't ask me how I was when I walked in!" and Horowitz said, "But she looks like she's in a bad mood!" and other guy said, "Oh sure, it's all an attempt to woo her." A couple of people snickered and I blushed, because I already think that people in the class think Prof and I are fucking, because he mentioned me coming by his house to drop off a book and letting me borrow movies and stuff and he always wants me to talk in class. I assure you, dear readers, I have had no improper relations with my professor, not even a chaste hug.

So I sat down and Horowitz said, "You know, I think it the hat, the...bandanna?" I touched it and said, "My bandanna?" and he said "Yeah, you know, Rhoda always wore them, they'd put her in them when she was mad and she was kind of the contrast to Mary, because she was always happy." And then I was delighted, because, guys, I spent a lot of time watching Nick at Nite as a kid. I even had a Nick at Nite board game. I own the complete Lucille Ball collection on video. I remember specific episodes of Taxi. And Rhoda was, by far, my favorite character on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

I got home with my large food bounty (after another long walk in the rain. I finally abandoned the umbrella and just walked in the rain because it had died down some and it was easier to get wet than try to hold a bag of food, an umbrella and a purse) and realized, halfway through eating the seaweed salad, that I wasn't hungry, but I hated to waste all that food, so I kept trying to eat the sushi. I'd chew it and quickly swallow while trying not to think about it (insert euphemism of choice here), then I tried peeling off the rice and finally I threw the rest away. What I really really wanted was a Sprite, but my walk exhausted me to the point where going anywhere was no longer an option. I posted a whiny FB status that said, "I really want someone to bring me a Sprite :(" Within a minute, my friend Blake texted and said he'd bring me one. I texted back and told him I was sick, that he didn't have to, that I was whining but I didn't want to get him sick and he wrote back, "I'm immune. What's your address?"

I felt kind of like an ass at this point because a) I felt too shitty to entertain anyone (the idea that was going to have to put on pants was enough to make me want to pass out) but I felt like it would only be polite to invite him in and b) I really wanted a fountain Sprite, but one does not make special requests of one's friends when they are going out of their way to fulfill your bitchery.

About 20 minutes later, I hear a knock and I open the door to find Blake holding not just a (delicious, wonderful, life-giving) fountain Sprite, but a Powerade, a bottle of cranberry juice and a Hubig pie. I was so touched, I almost started crying. I was also kind of astonished that someone would be that nice to me. He gave all of that stuff to me and then said, "I'm not going to stay because I have beans on the stove and I know you probably feel like shit, so gimme a hug and I'll check on you tomorrow."

It's been an enlightening day.

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