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April 12, 2005

New Orleans Diary: Day Four

What's that in my eyes? Ouch, it hurts. Damned sunlight! My mouth tastes like the floor of a cheap Dominican cigar factory. I was awake at 7 but I went back to bed. Now I overslept and am going to be late to my first breakout session. Drat.

Well, it's nothing I don't know anyway. The good one is at 11. I guess I'll just use my new password and download several hundred MB of software.

Everything is boring except meeting new people. A couple of the seminars I signed up for were bogus. Well, not bogus but a little underneath my feet. So I took off and checked out the city for a bit in between the time of the last good session and now.

Poverty is the same where ever you go in America. It's instantly recognizeable. You get off the grid and suddenly people are hanging off stoops where the houses have no A/C. The day after rain, the curbs are still flooded where the pavement turns to dirt.

I took Canal up to Rampart Street and took it out to where it splits off with St. Bernard. By there I was in the heart of somebody's hood. So I took Elysian Fields north to Claiborne and flipped some circles around there and hit ghetto. It was around Derbigny that I dropped off the precipice into that 5th Ward Houston look and feel, three classes below the middle where the streets ain't paved. Sure enough the horse cart clops by.

I couldn't find the right part of town Moms pointed out to me a week or so ago. Half the problem is that I'm using three different map programs and the streets I recall go halfway across town.

So I decided to go random and headed down Dauphine because I remember it from the Quarter. But I was going in the wrong direction and ended up at some Navy yard. So I flipped around to Chartres and headed back the other way. Not long afterwards I was on the waterfront boulevard, Decatur, and there was a Hooters to let me know I had left one kind of poverty and entered another.

I'm happy to get back to my hotel room and play with my downloads, but that's partially because I let the spousal unit have the good digital camera. I'm stuck with a miserable unfocusable blurred and distorted view of New Orleans reality, and I know that's the best I can do for the moment. But I know a lot more than I did yesterday.

Schmooze. 6 Hours straight. I'm losing my mind. I didn't realize that I had such good friends in high places. It's nice to know, otherwise this whole evening would have been a total, complete, utter, bore. I'm getting old and experienced and I see this whole thing in a new light. I get a good understanding of how the schmeer is applied. So tonight it was the devil suit. Black on black on black. Sorta like the Hollywood suit but with no blue whatsoever. Streaks of red instead. My whole attitude was "I'm sick of all this and I'm going to be unique, but I'll pay attention to you". I'm full of shit. Not really, just for the moment.

I drove my car fast down the narrow streets of the Quarter. I eyeballed the hookers and spring break girls gone wild with knowing looks. I stared down every hombre in the streets. I gave a pound to all my homies in the mother corporations. I was this close to buying drinks but everyone was still talking business, even after their fifth drink. I have the insight about this but I'm not going to tell. It's too simple and embarassing for those who have pierced the veil.

You see, worlds have collided. I've been recognized by one of the young guys at the mother corporation as a blogger. It was like a splinter in his mind as I sat at his booth and watched his neighbor's demo. He caught me on the way out. Hi reader. I wanted to come back to him and ask what he'd like me to write, but I kept thinking why 'When Worlds Collide' would be such a cool, yet inappropriate title about the encounter. But I'm cool with all that. Let everyone know everything I always say.

The funny thing, which another long lost associate reminded me, was that I had a well-deserved rep as well as an undeserved rep, for speaking out. I had an infamous HR red-flag moment for a percieved use of an inappropriate metaphor in a business communication. The very idea is so fricken bourgeois it makes me choke. Nevertheless, calmer heads prevailed at the time. But I also mouthed off on a public forum under a pseud. I haven't written there in years, or so it seems, but some people remember me for that. So I have a number of reputations, most of them stellar with the old gang.

Tonight's fare was pedestrian but the best yet. Fish tacos & BBQ ribs with peanut sauce. In fact, it's probably the most imaginative buffet this company has ever produced.

Over in the Quarter, I schmoozed even more. I returned to the 544 and the waitress remembered me. I had 3 drinks and once again I missed the traditional jazz band. The flashing girls were out, but there were only two of them and I have the feeling they were paid by the local Chamber of Commerce. Cops on horses pooped up the streets. Crowds gathered around to laugh and point at suckers who stepped in it.

I am solitary.

Posted by mbowen at April 12, 2005 07:45 AM

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Hey there, I'm the Mother Company Stooge that recognized you. "Hi" back at you.

I guess the price for scratching the old mental itch is missing out on the embarassing insight, ah well. It was pretty neat and unexpected.

Posted by: Geoff at April 14, 2005 01:27 AM