September 19th, 2005

I Will Not Defame New Orleans.

Attempting To Exhale

I've been in northern Virginia/DC area three times in the last four weeks, for entirely differing reasons. 1) A two day stopover at auntie's so Ben and I could go to the Smithsonians, which he had never seen, on our way to London. 2) After the storm, when I was stuck at my lakehouse in upstate NY, then drove with auntie back to the same house awaiting my mom to see her for a couple of days. 3) On our drive up from New Orleans. We just passed through, but it was weird to be there again.

I've also been in Holland twice in a month. Once, staying in Amsterdam, and now, Ben and I are setting up temporary shop at the Rt. Hon. Rev. Rbt. M. "Angelina Jolie" Price's house in Holland, Pennsylvania.

For the last few weeks, until yesterday, I have awoken to bleak, stressful days that included nothing but worry, planning, strategizing said plans, and tasks, tasks, tasks. I've been looking forward to this day, the first that is taskless, all emergencies and fires having been extinguished, when I could finally breathe easily, knowing we were safe, the cats are rescued, Clifford is (relatively) intact and secure, and our 1,000 mile drive is over.

So why don't I feel any better? Why, in fact, do I feel worse, now that I'm in a place where I can relax, than I did when there was still so much to accomplish, and so many unknown hurdles that could ruin my plans and hopes yet to be jumped?

I've been functioning off a reservoir of strength saved up for emergencies. I'm pretty good with emergencies, I guess. Always have been.

Now, in a time of relaxation and reflection, as I attempt to process all that I've gone through, and what's in the future, the enormity of the situation is settling heavily upon my soul.

Before, I had trees to deal with. Now, I step back and can view the forest. Why is this so much more difficult than the trees?

My heart is sick. There is no peace, except artifically when I dip into my precious reserve of Xanax. (Anyone with a proper scrip wanna donate a few? Email me for the address.) My head is throbbing. Yesterday, Michele, Ben and I went shopping for basics. We had a great time. We laughed a lot. We bought crazy crap that made us smile. It was a good day. Except for the parts where I had to hide behind another aisle and press my temples together to keep from screaming.

I like to think I can be superhero, when called upon. That if there are problems, I can take care of them. Experience has taught me that it's not an unreasonble expectation from myself. Ben's getting depressed, too as he feels the realities of displacement settling in. And I don't know if I can be the strong one and help him through, as I have accustomed myself to being.

It's his birthday today. Michele and I went to the Wawa and bought gay donuts and birthday candles and lit them for him when he came out of the shower. Tonight, we're taking him into Philly for a Night Out. I hope he doesn't look back on this day as the suckiest McSuck-Suck birthday of his life. Yet how can he not?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Am I to be a victim of this? I've got got got got to find a way to bootstrap myself out of such an ugly vortex of depression. And, if possible, I'd like to do it without relying completely on drugs. A Xanax or Percoset here and there during particularly bleak hours is fine, but I am adamant against a daily regimen of Prozac or some of its ilk. I don't want to be that person. Drugs (I have always said) should only be taken recreationally. I survived my bleak, gawthick, suicidal 20s without the albatross of a diagnosed depressive around my neck. And that shit went on for years! This, although indeterminate in length, is in fact temporary. Things will return to normal, albeit a normalcy I cannot divine at present.

But rather than revert to my Sisters of Mercy 23 year old self, I would like to say a few words about the Reverend Bobby.

He is the absolute best host for a refugee imaginable. He has opened his house to us indefinitely, and happily given sanctuary to as many cats as we could fit in a car. When we arrived here two days ago and were shown to our room, I said, somewhat wearily after the drive, "Okay, great. We have our own room. Where can we go buy a bed today?"

"Oh, I'm sorry. I meant to do this yesterday, but I ran out of time. We're driving over to my parents' house and taking the guest bed and bureaus from there."

And we did. And he created as comfortable a room for us as imaginable.

"The house is WiFi'd to death, and you'll notice every room also is jacked with ethernet ports," he said. "If you need better internet service to start up your offices again, we can order all that, and I'll wire it all up." (He's an electrician. There is a god.) "You can set up office in your room, or take the 'unused' room downstairs, or both." In short, anything we could possibly hope for, he has seen to, and he claims if it were up to him, he would like us to live here indefinitely and just never go home.

Our first night here, we (Ben, me, Michele, Bobby and his girlfriend Mary) went to dinner. He insisted on picking up the check.

Last night, Michele Ben and I went shopping and made him and Mary dinner.

He's there when we need him, and always in high spirits, and full of compassion and love and huggy-wuggies. Or he'll let us be alone in our room when solitude is the thing we need.

Good company, good host, all creature comforts and techie services we require. An incomprable friend.

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P.S. I'm totally serious: if anyone cares to donate some mind-numbing narcs of Xanax, Percoset, Vicodin, etc…
I Will Not Defame New Orleans.

Kitty Reunion

Harley's daughter Fonzie, whom I gave to Patrick when she was born, was subsequently given to Bobby, and so, by the merest of chances, Harley and Fonzie are reunited mom and daughter.

Not that they remember each other, of course. In fact, Fonzie just thwapped the shit outta Harley earlier in a stupid cat skirmish.

"STOP HITTING YOUR MOTHER!" we all yelled.

And now Bat sends this, from Harley's other daughter/Fonzie's sister, living in San Francisco. I made Harley look at the monitor, but she really rather preferred rolling on the floor begging for belly scritches.

Bat adds:
"Okay, she probably didn't say that and I'm anthropomorphizing at the very least. But Harley deserves anthropomorphizing and more, don't you think? She deserves a hi mom from her long-forgotten offspring. Or at least a fabricated one from me. So. Mwah to Harley. Mwah to you."
I Will Not Defame New Orleans.


Heather O'Rourke, the little girl from Poltergeist pleaded pitifully, after she was saved from the Other Side, came back, and the monsters began grabbing for her again: "No more."

Hurricanes in the Gulf always seem to make sudden veers off to the east as they near the land.

Which is why I wasn't that worried about Ivan last year.

Which is why New Orleans was spared a direct hit from Katrina.

Which is why Rita looks really, really bad, especially with four days in the Gulf, unencumbered, to gather up speed.

What happens if we get hit again? The city is already on its knees and the levies are compromised. It won't take much to ruin everything just as badly as big ole windy Katrina did.

If New Orleans is going to get The Big One twice in one season (The Big One usually happening every 30 years or so), and obvious answers point to global warming, which means we'll only get more and more hurricanes beating the living shit out of us because Americans must drive their SUVs at all costs — what's going to happen to my city? Will it be closed down entirely? Let it be turned back into a swamp? Everybody out? Have a nice life in Baton Rouge or Houston? Thanks for playing?

Look, man, I just want my home back. Too much to ask?