Saturday, June 6, 2009

New Orleans so far: Revisited

Note: this post has been revised/replaced by my column that DID NOT end up running in AntiGravity. Therefore I'm putting it on my own blog.

*clears throat*

I just moved to New Orleans thinking I would be like Mary Tyler Moore. You know, "making it" and all. The thing is, it hasn't happened that way. Not yet, anyway, and there are quite a few things here that I just don't get...

There are trees planted in front of stop signs. I’m busy trying to navigate - I can’t watch the street corners constantly wondering if a stop sign is going to pop up right after the giant tree or shrubbery. I also think it’s excellent how many people bike everywhere for two main reasons: It’s great for the environment and that makes less people I have to compete with for parking spots. However, I just can’t IMAGINE biking around here without literally DYING. This is New Orleans -it’s fucking hot outside! Note: If you are reading this and you ride a bike everywhere, I'm perfectly aware that your response is probably "yeah, well you're just a giant pussy." You don't have to tweet it to me.

Additionally, I’m never really that sure how many lanes there are on a given road. Sometimes the road is three lanes except when cars are parked in the third and sometimes there are two lanes but you can’t really tell because there are no lines on the road and some people just drive smack dab in the middle anyway.

The major lesson I’ve learned about driving here, however, is that green doesn’t necessarily mean go and red doesn’t necessarily mean stop. There evidently aren’t enough officers of the law to regulate driving, but boy will you get a parking ticket in a heartbeat. The “Pay to Park” meters threw me off at first - we don’t have such fancy technology back home in Lafayette (we do have sensors on our traffic lights, though - something New Orleans should look into).

WTF is with the street cars? Do they follow the traffic signals or not? Is everyone supposed to act like the President has suddenly decided to drive down the center of St. Charles and just give automatic right of way? I NEED to understand this trolley etiquette. They didn't teach that in Lafayette driver's education.

And as far as live music goes, I know that there are a lot of awesome shows in New Orleans, and yes, I did sign up with - which is all fine and dandy if you actually have heard of any of these bands. I need something more obvious - like a human pandora TELLING me which shows I should go to. I have been to one show at the Howlin' Wolf since I've been here, but it was actually to see my friends' band: We Landed on the Moon. A native NOLA band opened, though, called blackbelt something or another. I only sort of kinda enjoyed it. The percussion was PHENOMENAL. Best I've seen live - no question. The sound guy was probably on crack and went way overboard with that echo effect shit, and the singer...Let me explain what I think happened prior to the show. The singer didn't show up and the rest of the band still wanted to play. After all, they probably already unloaded all of their heavy equipment, had a few drinks and were officially in crunk mode. So they found some random drunk guy standing (more like wobbling) against the bar and asked if he could sing for them.
"Naahhh dude I can't sing," mumbled the drunk. He then hiccuped.
"Perfect. Get on stage and grab a guitar," they replied.
Or at least that's what it sounded like happened.

I've always considered myself a social butterfly and something of a local D-list celebrity back home, and couldn't wait to make tons of new friends in New Orleans. I've come to realize, though, that you need to have friends to make friends. Think about it. Sure, you can strike up a conversation with some stranger in a coffee shop or bar or whatever, but asking a stranger to hang out with you is just creepy no matter which way you slice it. I know this first hand because it resulted in total awkwardness with one particular girl. I have even spent many afternoons sitting alone at Rue de Course (which I have identified as the place that the cool "indie" kids on magazine hang out) armed with a "smart" book and an iced tea, thinking that surely someone will make the first move. SOMEONE will think I look interesting or perhaps lost and want to talk to me. Nope.

Luckily, there's twitter. It allows me to get to know people (via e-stalking) and then decide if I want to be their friend and then make a judgment on the best way to "hone in" without them realizing how elaborately planned that "hey you like Mates of State? Me too!" would be. Facebook is a thing of the past. I can't properly stalk people if they have to accept my friend request first.