Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Magic Circle

If you’re lucky like me, you have a couple or a group or even a couple of groups of the best friends you’ll ever meet. People you will always belong to, always share with, who will always be family, blood not withstanding. Amazing people who know you well and STILL both like and love you. I have this, and I am blessed.

When you’ve found friends like this, some people might question the wisdom of leaving them behind like I’ve done. These people aren’t really in my circle. My close friends know and understand, or at least accept and let me go my own ways. Sometimes that’s the best anyone can do with me, and it’s encouraging, humbling, and inexpressibly comforting to know that there are people willing to set me free and always take me back.

Being on my own has been easy enough so far because of the interwebs, and because I don’t mind eating at a restaurant or going to a movie or museum on my own. In fact, I often enjoy it as a treat to myself. That’s called being an introvert, I imagine. All the same, like many good things, quality alone time can become burdensome when it’s the only option, so I’m doing my best to make new friends. You can never have too many friends, or too many circles.

Meeting people isn’t so hard. Making good friends isn’t so easy. Joining a new circle… I’m finding that difficult indeed.

I’ve always wanted to add amazing new people I meet to my amazing circle of friends. Now I really need to find someone like that, who tries to push and expand and share their circles with new people. And I need to be someone that people want to share their circles with! I’m doing things like joining the band and taking dance lessons to meet people who have similar interests and regular times for coming together. I may not get collected into a circle that way, but at least it’s time I spend socializing with others and improving my chances.

When all is said and done, though, I’ve only been in New Orleans a little over two months. Circles as wonderful as the ones I have can take years to find/build/grow. I will try to walk softly. I will try to move forward steadily, but gently. I will try to find the balance between not forcing myself upon people and the sensitive pride that keeps me apart when people don’t openly invite me closer.

I will try not to feel daunted and discouraged by the task of weaving myself into circles already established. The most wonderful people I know love me and want me as a friend, so surely as I go through life I will only find more people who also want me. It isn’t really magic, after all, even though it can seem that way.

So above all, I will try to be active, yet patient. I’m just not very good at patience!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Otto's Trials, Otto's Triumphs

Poor Otto. He had a bad weekend, didn't he? For those of you following along at home...

When your coolant temperature sensor fails, it can sometimes forget to tell your radiator fan to turn on.

When your radiator fan doesn't turn on, the coolant generally overheats.

When your coolant overheats too much, it can crack your radiator and ruin the pump.

Believe me. I ought to know.

So, while they were fixing Otto up with a new radiator, etc., they pointed out that the timing belt was due for a change. Well, was going to have to happen sooner or later. Sure, why not now, while he's already in various stages of disassembly?

With the engine out for the timing belt change, they noticed a cracked engine mount. Ooooh, so THAT's what that rattling sound was when I was stopped at stop lights.

With the damage repaired, or the damage done, depending on the damage you speak of, Otto came home with a NEW strange rattle. So the next day he went back to the doctor, to find that an exhaust clamp had slipped loose, but was repaired easily enough, and for free. Unlike the other repairs!

So now my Otto is no longer an overheating rattletrap of a little white car. He runs smoothly and quietly, and is perfectly content!

Except for the intermittent hiss of the air conditioner compressor valves slowly going out.

But that's another story, for another time.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Always an Adventure

So after work today, I had two goals:
  1. Purchase clear sewing thread.
  2. See Harry Potter movie.

I decided to join these with another goal. Go see what's on the West Bank. Now, in Google searching for stores I've wanted to visit, I've often seen that there are locations both in Metairie and Gretna. Gretna is actually a bit closer, but, it's a funny thing, I've always gone to Metairie. See, to get to Gretna I have to cross the river. There's a bridge, yes. A HUGE bridge. For some reason, though, the river is just deeply ingrained in my mind as an insurmountable barrier. Which is ridiculous. So today, I set out to conquer the West Bank. Which, incidentally, is east of here. o_O

(N.B. I realized today that my office building is, in fact, east of the Mississippi, west of the Mississippi, north of the Mississippi, and south of the Mississippi.)

I also needed to pick three pictures up at the framers, but it was raining, so I figured I'd wait until tomorrow, after the couch is delivered.

I accomplished my two (or three) goals with reasonable ease, and even found a Texas Roadhouse restaurant, which I think Mom and Brooke had been asking about. Yes, they have one here. No, the chicken fried steak is not worth it.

Thread purchased and movie viewed, I turned to go back the way I came. Which worked fine until I saw the sign that said the bridge was tolled. Get that. No indication on the way over that there would be a toll coming back. It caught me a bit off guard. My thought process went something like...

"Toll, is that on the bridge *I* need."

"Looks like it. I have money, right?"

"Shit, do I have money?"

"Shit, what if they don't take money, and it's tag only?"

"Uh oh, last exit to not pay."

So I exited, found a gas station, bought a drink, and asked the attendant if the toll booths took money, and how late the ferries run. The ferries run until 9pm, apparently. This was told me at 9:15pm. Fortunately, the toll booths do, in fact, take cash. Disaster averted.

Or so I thought, especially after I paid my toll and reved up to cross the bridge and get back on my side of the river.

Everything seemed fine, until I took the exit for I-10 East and Slidell, and in glancing down at my dash, noticed...
  1. The check engine light
  2. The temperature gauge in the red zone

I'm on flippin' I-10. The closest exit is the one for home. I throw on the hazard lights, slow down to 40 mph, and start praying.

I prayed and prayed and prayed, and finally parallel parked as soon as I could, partially blocking a driveway, it's true, but I've been told no one ever uses that drive. I hope I've been told correctly. I'll sort it out tomorrow.

As I pull into my space, and, in fact, at any point off the highway when I had to slow down and stop, billows of smoke came from under my hood. This is not going to be good. I can feel it. I'm also pissed, because I know the problem has been there for a while, but the last time I took it to the mechanics and asked them to fix the rattling, they insisted there was nothing wrong. Great.

Well, it's parked now. I have the number for a mechanic, obtained from a friend here in the Quarter, who was finally available when I called (been trying to reach him for some other stuff for a while). Well, this was when it counted, and he was there, and let me come over and have my nervous breakdown with a friend. I'm thankful for that. I was feeling very alone.

So, tomorrow, after the couch is delivered, I'll be arranging for my car to be towed to a mechanic somewhere, and then I'll have to sort out how to get my pictures home from the framers. It's only 3 blocks. If the weather is dry, I'll just walk back and forth three times. That's about my morning walk anyhow.

So, yes. It's been an adventure.

Wish my Otto good luck. I'm really worried about him. :-(

Friday, July 03, 2009

Elegy for a Fading Love

Shower streaming down on me
Early morning elegy
For a love not meant to be

Hot water pouring down on me
Cleaving me and crumbling me
Bits of me dissolved
Down the drain
Lost in sobs and shudderings
Drawn from me
Explode from me
Feeling love’s grasp slackening

Kill it now! It’s weak.
Crush it under foot, be strong!
Be brave…
Be quick…
Burn its Hydra neck before
Another head leaps out
Mouthful of teeth to bite and hold…

Not strong, not brave, not quick
Waiting, watching frozen still
Feel it loosen, washed down
Worn down by tears
Clinging somewhere out of sight
Faded into grief and night

I could have loved forever…
Couldn’t I?

Can’t I?

Won’t I?
Will I ever?

Now to live again just out of reach
Just out of touch
Heart wakened from a dream
Just to find itself alone

Come back but cold and quivering
Drawing heat from shower steam