LETTER HOME: HILLBILLY HOOTENANNY FABULOUSNESS
Dear Friends and Family,
It’s been a great week, filled with some escapades, some new folks and the further development of new skills; for instance, I have become a tiling master! If you have any bathroom floors that need to be surfaced, I’m taking new projects for 2012. I can FINALLY say that I’m a good lay.
One of my most memorable experiences was heading out on the town with my new friends from Common Ground Relief.
After a productive working week, on Friday night my fellow volunteers and I decided to head to Frenchman Street to engage in the three ‘D’s of a fun evening: drinkin’, dancin’ and debaucherizin’.
But because I had to get up early on Saturday morning to participate in a treeplanting mission (with a dozen eager high school students from Sacramento), I elected to take a sensible route, and offered to be the designated driver for the group. If I can’t engage in the three ‘D’s of a fun evening, I’m happy to support those whom wish to get their drink-on.
We had nine people interested in the adventure. Not wanting to exclude any of the Common Ground volunteers on the basis of missing “seatbelts” or “illegally piling nine people into a pick up truck,” we decided that inclusivity would be the approach of the evening. Have you ever seen an F150 pick-up truck bursting with a group of eight whiskey’ed people (plus a happy Canadian)? It was equal parts hillbilly hootenanny fabulousness and reckless liability disaster.
How could I resist?
So with a fierce concentration, and slower-than-average cruising speed, and accompanied with the soundtrack of boisterous (read: obnoxiously intoxicated) twenty-somethings, we successfully rolled down to Frenchman Street, managing to circumvent the legal ramifications of fun-spoiling policemen.
Upon arrival, we poked our heads into a couple nightclubs and restaurants (such as The Spotted Cat and Apple Barrel) to see what might be interesting, and, more importantly, who could actually accommodate nine hungry workers. We settled with a generic restaurant, one that proved to be gastronomically average, but provided the opportunity to sink my teeth into a couple of different Po’boys (traditional Louisiana submarine sandwiches). I tried the “Frenchman Po’boy” (shrimp, fried green tomatoes and green onion mayo) and the “Alligator Sausage Po’boy” (tasted like yer average sausage).
Sidenote: The quest for more emblematic Louisiana cookin’ will continue. Stay tuned.
After a few unsweetened iced teas, my bladder started scratching on my kidneys, and I took a quick trip to the men’s room. Upon the sweet release of urination, I glimpsed between my legs (toward the floor, not my junk), and noticed the shady tiling job. The corners were poorly aligned, and I could have tripped over the embarrassing leveling job to fall face first into the urinal. It was at that moment of fluid release and construction criticism that I realized my true super powers: I am specially gifted in the domain of masonry. Sure, I haven’t yet laid brick yet, but I’m fairly certain that I would be brilliant. (I’ll probably start small, like building a brick school for kids to learn about twitter.) And as I headed back to the group, I decided that, should my writing career take a miserable turn for the worst, I could probably just make a quick million laying tile.
It’s good to have back up plans.
Anyway, after finishing up with our meals, we stumbled down a few doors to Maison for some live music. A brass band called Booty Trove was energizing the crowd with their trumpets, saxophones, trombones and tubas. We finished the evening jumping around in the front row, with big smiles on our faces and good music fueling our spirits.
We danced back to the truck, where a few people elected to sit in the bed of the truck and stare at the stars. Again, we rolled slowly home, somehow avoiding cops, and installed ourselves in the dorm room for post-party hangsies. I didn’t even mind that I had to wake up in five hours to plant trees.
All in all, t’was a lovely evening.
And now a new week is about to begin. I have no idea what sort of adventures the next seven days will bring in terms of volunteer work or sightseeing. I might become a master drywaller, or I might have a beer with Brad Pitt (and chat about his New Orleans’ housing project). That’s what’s great about right now – I just don’t know what could happen next.
PS: If you’re wondering how you might be able to share some love for my 2011 travel project, check out three ways to support me.