Woke to dark early morning light, pouring rain and violent thunder, the wind smacking the rain against the loose windows. Unpacked waiting for the rain to subside. Read the New Yorker review of Gatsby ... underwhelmed. Decided before 7 to go out in the rain. Didn't want to miss Saturday morning in the French Quarter before anything was cleaned up from the night before.
Turning onto St. Ann I notice ferns growing out of a brick wall. Life will out in the Quarter, a fecund, disgusting, affirming place.
The garbage trucks are out rolling slowly along Burgundy Street (pronounced BurGUNdy). A stink comes from the full garbage cans that smell like old cardboard and rotting fruit soaked in beer and vomit. I remind myself to buy a rain poncho, which I later forget to buy anyway.
Looking for a new place for breakfast I stumble onto Stanley's on Jackson Square. Tiny breakfast selection:
- EGGS STANLEY - cornmeal crusted oysters, poached eggs, canadian bacon, creole hollandaise
- PANCAKES - with vanilla icecream and louisiana cane syrup
- EGGS STELLA - Cornmeal crusted soft-shell crab, poached eggs, canadian bacon, creole hollandaise
- BREAUX BRIDE BENEDICT - House-made boudin sausage, smoked ham, american cheese, poached eggs, creole hollandaise, on french bread
The sky is so dark at 7am that it still looks like nighttime. There's one other table of people and they have money, the mean kind of money. Their clothes look like Brooks Brothers, and they act like they'd crush butterflies or put a cigarette out in someone's carpet - that kind of money. Careless. Not-give-a-shit wealthy.
The coffee here is so strong that I put all three 1/2 and 1/2 packets in and it's still saddle-leather brown.
"Our House" by CSNY is playing. The girl at the other table is talking loudly to the two men with her about her "rug rash" and she contorts to show them the bumps on her elbow, and they lean in to her, actually interested. One man, her husband maybe, since he's wearing a large, highly-polished gold band on his ring finger, is competing with her rug rash by describing his wart, and I can't look away, and I wonder if thinking that the world revolves around you is enough to make it so.
She's wearing a dumb hat with a crease in the middle and it's placed on her head in a careless way that she knows looks cool.
CSNY reminds me of Craig and how I feel I am my best writer here in New Orleans and does that come from the security of my marriage? Does it come from knowing that my mom and sister are coming to join me soon? Does it come from having enough money in my bank account to afford this trip?
The girl in the dumb hat is saying to another girl who just showed up, "No no." She laughs too loudly. "No, I'm just up very late. I never get up in the morning before 10. We've been up all night." She elbows the guy with the wedding ring and laughs, like a dog barking. Ha ha ha.
On the way back to the B & B the rain has stopped. I walk down a quiet cross street, Dumaine maybe, and I see what looks like a pile of vomit in the street. When I walk up to it, though, I realize it's actually a thousand white flowers from an overgrown oleander plant that sits in a pot on the balcony. The rain has pummled its flowers to the ground.
I think that if I had had a daughter, I would have named her May.