Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Other Side of the Manifesto

Mad Mission - Patty Griffin (mp3)

One of my oldest friends in the world gets married today. He's 39 and getting married for the first time to a truly fascinating, and significantly younger, woman. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Just sayin'.

Anyway, his betrothed and I were talking about her time in Atlanta, where she worked for a couple of years, and she was bad-mouthing the single scene there. "Atlanta is so serious about being single," she said. "A coworker actually criticized me because she saw me walk into the grocery store on a Saturday morning wearing sweatpants and a T-shirt. She said I would never find someone if I didn't take the time to show pride in my appearance, even for something as banal as the grocery store." It was this encounter that symbolized why she will be moving to be with her new husband in the quaint small town of Rome rather than insisting he come to her.

Sometimes you find yourself
flying low at night

For most sane people, to work so hard to create a false persona, merely to appeal to someone else who is working hard to create a false persona so that your two false personas can hopefully go on a few dates before the illusion cracks and he discovers your secret stash of sweatpants and sees you without your makeup... well, it shouldn't be all that appealing to reasonable minds.

For those of us in that category, what's not to love about New Orleans' French Quarter?

The French Quarter is a laid-back, somewhat malodorous, splotchy and potentially sleazy affair. It's that sorority of girls you had a blast hanging out with because they cussed like sailors, drank like the Irish and could beat you in Beer Pong. Yet, because they weren't the supermodel richies of Tri-Delt, you were kinda ashamed of how much you liked them.

Flying blind and looking for
Any sign of light

For the tourists who venture regularly, the Quarter is sweatpants and no makeup. It's baseball caps and highballs with well liquor. It's Miller High Life in the middle of the day. It's more AC/DC and less Arcade Fire. It's about relaxing and enjoying life with only a fraction of the bullshit artifice that clogs up our pores in the real world.

You're cold and scared, and all alone
You'd do anything just to make it home

A little bullshit artifice in our daily lives isn't really a bad thing. In proper doses, it can be a societal superego, keeping a leash on our ids, but this blog isn't the place for it. My aim is to be the Garfunkel to Bob's Simon, the Amy Ray to his Emily Saliers, the Jethro to his Tull.

I'll hopefully make some observations into the human condition without having to worry about hurt feelings or keeping up a shoddy facade. And I'll write about music I like, even if it's the sonic equivalent of sweatpants and no makeup.

It's a mad mission

But I got the ambition
It's a mad, mad mission
Sign me up

"Mad Mission" is by Patty Griffin, off the album "Living With Ghosts"


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your article. You've got Bourbon Street described perfectly. This, is to me, what makes the place so fun. It is the opposite of up-tight. People go there simply to have a good time. I contrast this w/ Vegas - which while fun - is invariably about going to the right places, dressing appropriately and throwing around enough money not to look like a retired old-lady from Arizona.

The Big EZ is kind of like my junior high school gym class - suddenly status and clothes don't matter. Whereas the gym class' great equalizer were the gym clothes and competition - on Bourbon Street, the great equalizer is that you're all sitting at Pat O's or Razoos at 2:30 PM when any respectable person is working, spending time w/ his or her family, mowing the lawn - whatever. You can't look down on me and vice versa - because it's not even 5 o'clock and we're all on our 4th hurricane.

Bob said...

I always forget what the name of this song is. It's such a good one.