I am back in New York and straight into the first day of classes. I am inexplicably happy to be isolated in my little apartment, hiding from the freezing weather. I just ate a plate full of oatmeal-coconut-chocolate chip cookies with this stellar train of thought: Oh god, I have all these cookies. I'm going to end up eating them all week. Wait! I know! Why drag it out? Better if I eat them all right now.
So maybe I'm just weaning myself off a week of eating fried oysters and po'boys. I spent the last week of my month off in New Orleans, doing a little bit of volunteer work (digging ditches, painting houses) but mostly wandering around the city by myself, feeling alternately lost/confused and peaceful. At the 11th hour, the NPO I was signed up with got its shit together and contacted me, and I didn't end up staying with my couchsurfing connection, but at a Best Western a few blocks from the western edge of the French Quarter. They hooked us up there for $20 a night--more than the free lodging with my couchsurfing friend, but less than what it was going to cost us to rent a car.
I met up with him Tuesday night, and he took us to three sweet spots around town: Bullet's to see local trumpeting legend Kermit Ruffins, the Spotted Cat to see the Palmetto Bug Stompers, and then the Maple Leaf to see the Rebirth Brass Band. He gave me a bunch of recommendations for the rest of the week, and I ended up running into him every night. He was a big reason why I enjoyed the city so much.
Other reasons why my week in New Orleans ruled: (a) When you order a drink at a bar, they ask you "for here or to go?" (b) I decided not to worry about the other kids in my class who were there, and to just do whatever the hell I wanted to do, which was less hassle, and more fun. So I picked out what I wanted to do every night and did it by myself. (c) You can smoke everywhere in New Orleans, except for Preservation Hall.
YES the music scene in New Orleans is just as legendary as you hear. Imagine live music, free, every night of the week! I saw so much music last week that I may just have withdrawal symptoms this week.
Speaking of withdrawal...I've been smoking. ARGH! I KNOW...! But I've been on vacation for the past month, and I smoke when I go out and have a drink or two. In San Francisco many of my friends smoke, and many of us are cutting back, so we really enable each other when we're out together. So by the time I got to New Orleans, I was back to my old tricks. It didn't help that I kind of ran out of nicotine patches either.
But I'm not going to dwell on my failures.
I also developed a little crush in New Orleans, on a guy who I kind of pulled into our trip from another program. Although it's true that I fall in love with about 63 percent of the men I meet, I hadn't yet developed any interest in ANYONE in our program (yeah it's real bad), so this was a very welcome development. Our trips to Nola overlapped by a day, and I had a great time hanging out with him. I was happy to see him this morning in class, and we ended up getting dinner together before a meeting tonight. It was the perfect mutual ask too, where he asks what you're doing, and then you ask him out right back. I was so thrilled at this prospect that I could hardly concentrate on my reading about the origins of phylotogenetic repression. Yay! A crush who I will see a few times a week will truly make everything so much lovelier.