Rain, oil, horseshit, cloud: these are the smells of New Orleans tonight.
More text soon. Our hotel is wireless-less, and I'm writing from a bar in the Quarter....
Thursday, 8:30 PM
Out of nowhere, the multiple parts of you--head, stomach, bowels, cold and sweating feet--are having an argument; they refuse to corral themselves in the same skin, which is why you walk down Decatur Street, holding yourself at your stomach with pained face. The sun is taking the day toward a woozy 87. The wafting of crawfish boil, truck exhaust, even black coffee... They might as well be kicks in the gut. Is it even possible to find a bland thing to eat in the French Quarter? Miso soup? Chicken soup? The mere sight of the words "crawfish omelet" on the breakfast menu practically sends you wobbling off the chair. As for the sticky, glazed muffins placed before you?
So my day--sleeping, holding my stomach, trying to stay still, finally getting to read The Gate at the Stairs. By three, I had a craving: it had to be bland, but of a very specific sort. The choices, after much consideration: soft pretzel or Matzoh. "No one has soft pretzels or Matzoh in the French Quarter," said Mark, kindly and aghast at once. List was extended to sourdough pretzels, Wasa crackers, OTC Oyster crackers. Bland cheese. And sure enough Mark came back from the market with sourdough pretzels, which is about the sum total of what I've eaten today (okay, plus strawberry yogurt, a little fruit, orange Powerade, an iced Latte, and Alka Seltzer).
Here's a bit of comic absurdity: Poets House (the sponsor of Mark's residency at the zoo) put us up in the Bourbon Orleans Hotel, which just happens to be the site of the Saints and Sinners conference for LGBT writers. We've been presenters at this conference at least twice. Here we thought we'd have a (mostly) non-professional vacation for once, and the gods have a different plan for us.