I’m working from home. It’s late afternoon and it’s raining outside. Mini floods have covered the outside world. I woke up early to do some stretches and went to clean the kitchen only to find a mess. I woke up to find a quarter-sized hole in my pear that had been sitting over the counter, and a blue towel left with holes. Clearly this was the work of a rat. Days ago my roommates said they heard a rat behind the wall, and the landlord had set up traps in hidden corners.
This week was the hardest to bike since I’ve been in New Orleans. The winds have been going wild, threatening to punish my bike. Earlier a 30 minute bike ride to Bywater turned out to be a long hour ordeal, granted I was already late to an event. Before leaving I went outside to the black and white cats my roommate was feeding. I petted one of them, since the rest were still estranged. The friendlier one let me scratch his rump. Who knows how long my roommate had been out here petting the cats while I lay asleep.
It was still humid at 10 a.m. when I decided to leave. My tight jeans and jacket made it uncomfortable to bike, not to mention I was wearing flats and the air was sending a fury of leaves straight for my face. This was turning out to be arduous with the dirt in my eyes and my tight jeans. By the time I made it St. Roch, I was dreading the bike ride. I took off my jacket. By now my jeans were sticky, and I would arrive late. I heard the train noise from afar. On Press St. that inopportune train passed by or, better yet, failed to pass. It was stalling, going back and forth— not clearing the tracks. Finally it started retreating. I was free from the train, but I still felt slow in my clothes. At least the cool air was back.
This time last year, I was sitting in Bryant Park contemplating my existence possibly sitting at the center of everything in the grassy lawn, listening to the birds, and the chattering voices from the hundreds of people who were outside during lunchtime. From there I stared out at the surrounding buildings that outlined the park into a square. I sat up on the grass, closed my eyes and cleared my thoughts, imagining I was somewhere else. The wind grazed my face and made my hair wild, and I grew hopeful. This time today, I’m in New Orleans thinking about Shakespeare and listening to ballet music from Hamlet. Shakespeare was born on April 23. The last few years I was in New York City around this date. I somehow always found myself near Bryant Park where they had celebratory readings of his plays. I once overheard a couple arguing in his verses. When sitting on the lawn surrounded by skyscrapers and contemplating my future, I thought about time and how quickly it fades away. Youth seems to slip from your hands. I find a similar sentiment in the sonnet below. We grow and we are never in the same place twice. What better way to triumph over time than to write?
Why is there a parade every damn day after lunch in midtown full with drums and trumpets? Is the universe taunting us with its whimsical fun while we’re boxed in under mundane fluorescent lights. They must be throwing confetti and dancing– dancing! And we’re glued eyes to a computer. Now it dies. It was a short-lived party only to get us riled up. They’ll be back tomorrow, same time. Nope there it is again, full trumpets and drums. The madness! To be a tourist in a strange city…to be a stranger in an old city.