Thursday, September 01, 2005


So Long, and Thanks For All the Sodomy

I have had an utterly wicked week. Worked 27 hours in a 46-hour period (hrm, that doesn't sound as bad as it felt), and have had one mishap after another.

Yesterday, I discovered that my brand new tire -- did I mention the brand new tire on the van? The one we got two weeks ago? The one that had to replace the tire that got a big nail through it while my friend was moving stuff out of her house? The one that replaced the one that couldn't be patched because it was so old and cost us $88 that we didn't have and because of which we had to do some damned fancy footwork involving a lot of no-name products and pasta for dinner (and doing without beer, dammet)? Yeah, that one -- had a giant bolt through it. Yes, a great big shiny new bolt (apparently complete with washer but I didn't look all that closely).

Seemingly this happened when my friend borrowed the van to finish moving stuff out of her house. Same friend. Same house. Same van. Same tire. Different piece of metal, though, just to break up the monotony!

Yes, there is construction in that part of the city. Why do you ask?

OK, so I drove the van home last night with the bolt in the tire (yes, stupid, but I didn't want to try to change the tire in the hospital parking lot at 10pm), clunking all the way home, to find that a) the person taking care of my child had decided she could leave at 4pm to go "do stuff" even though she was hired for a consecutive 36-hour period (hubby was home but he had to study so he can pass the course he's taking for the new job he's starting shortly) and b) the same person (who was, incidentally, the person involved in The Van Incident and who broke my stove the week before last) had thought that it would be ok to leave a large dinner plate full of green paint in the middle of my daughter's table. The table upon which The Knittens play. I'd send a prize to the person who guessed the correct number of green kittenfoot prints on my white ottoman and beige carpet but I can't count that high. Fortunately the aforementioned items of upholstery were ruined even before I got The Three Mouseketeers and the paint wasn't toxic, so I just stared in shock for a few moments and then broke out laughing, played Polly Pocket dolls with my daughter for 20 minutes and then headed back out to work again.

I didn't laugh quite so much when I saw how the bathroom had been redecorated, but that's just me. Like I've mentioned before, fat people aren't always jolly.

Today started out far better, with me getting an adequate amount of sleep (close to six hours) and taking the seabus (and the roadboat) over to work. I like this, generally. It involves sitting reading or knitting (depending on available elbow room), poking out the occasional eye (thank you Franklin!) and letting someone else deal with the assbeagles all over the streets of Vancouver. Apparently today was, yet again, Let The Muppets Drive Drunk day, so I was just as glad to have left the van at home.

Grocery shopping was urgently needed, as the kittens poop and poop and poop all the livelong day and we were out of litter. I know, I know, Laurie warned me -- she warned us all -- but did I listen? No! I just kept on collecting purring little poop machines until it was far too late.

i shall now eat her eyballs. and then poop.

Far, far too late.

OK, so I went and bought meat for my husband's sandwiches (Tigger -- the grey (and smallest) kitten -- isn't the only one who walks around the house screaming "I want MEAT, woman!" and it's a lot more effective when it's coming from a 280-lb man), bread for the aforementioned sandwiches and dainty bits of toast for Eleanor and me in the morning because dude I have a day off and we're going to PLAYLAND and I'm so excited, but I digress.

I also bought food for Sasha (the big cat who is not a raccoon) and kitty litter. You know, for the pooping situation.

After I lugged this all back to work I realized that I was going to have to take this all home on the bus. "Fine," thought I, innocently. "Just fine! I am strong like tractor!" And, apparently, smart like bull, because I was blithely ignoring the fact that my neck is completely out of whack both from being on the phone for 900 hours, knitting so much over the last couple of days and from passing out for six hours last night without moving once, with a horrible foam pillow wedged uncomfortably under my head.

I trekked home on the skytrain and the seabus (and the meadowchariot), stood about for a while waiting for my bus and then realized that All was Not Well. When yours is the last bus waiting at the Seabus terminal, when the doors are closed and all of the other drivers have been running around smirking before leaving in their buses, when you see someone scuttling towards the bus wearing rubber gloves, carrying a tub of something, a broom, a shovel and a spraybottle, you know that All is Really Not Well.

At this point I chose to complete the last leg of my journey on foot. About nine blocks, many of which are uphill. Carting 7Kg (15.432 lbs) of kitty litter, plus the aforementioned cat food, bread, and such.

It didn't take me long to make my decision, because, you see, at home there was beer. On the bus there was vomit.

Are you bored yet? Too bad. Go click the "back" button or something; I'm not quite done.

So I get home and realize that The Meat that I had purchased for the sandwiches of The Man was lying, properly and carefully refrigerated, in the kitchen at work. Way back over there. There was no way I was going to go get it, so I hopped in the van to go get some more at the grocery store, seeing they were open for another 20 minutes.

Ben had put the donut on the van so that I could take it down to Ukranian Tire to get the tire patched tomorrow, so I blithely toddled off, thinking all was well. After a block or so, the "thunk ..... thunk ..... thunk" noise was becoming "thunk ... thunk ... thunk" and as I was pretty sure the vehicle had never made that noise with the donut on it before, and as I had my daughter in the van with me, I made the decision to turn around and come back home.

A wise decision, it would seem, as my husband had had so many distractions while putting the temporary tire (donut) on the car, he had forgotten to fully tighten the lug nuts, and had I driven all the way to the grocery store, the wheel would have likely fallen off. While I was driving. With my five year old daughter in the car.

Disaster was averted, the lug nuts were tightened (by The Lug), the beer was poured and he can just have McDonald's or something for lunch tomorrow.

And as I sat down to rant about my day, it occurred to me ... that 99.9% of the folks in New Orleans would give their nuts, lug or not, to have had the opportunity to have such a day.

In New Orleans there is no electricity. Food and water is running out, lots of people are dead, and it would seem that some complete and utter assfucks are actually SHOOTING at emergency workers. (WTF? Who ARE these people and how did they lose all semblance of humanity so quickly?)

When I was driving home yesterday morning I was listening to the radio and I head the words "We have no choice but to abandon the city." I went cold, literally. I cried all the rest of the way home. I never thought I would hear such a sentence in my lifetime.

I have always had this fantasy about New Orleans. It fascinates, frightens and sometimes repels me. To me, it has always had the mystique of Sodom and Gomorrah (hence the title of this post -- you knew I'd get to it eventually, didn't you?).

I have always wanted to visit there, imagining that the streets were full of dancing, bare-breasted women, people performing all sorts of bizarre rituals involving blood and chicken bones, people actually speaking French (of a sort) in public. A big, noisy, bold and unrepentant city, full of history and culture and sin and music (and, of course the sodomy. Always with the sodomy.)

And now ...

And now it's gone.

And I keep crying.

I believe that the madness will be stopped somehow (likely through military intervention of some sort and a great deal of shootage but I have no problem with people who are actually shooting at buses and helicopters that are trying to provide emergency aid getting all deaded up and stuff). I believe that the city will rebuild. But it will never be the same.

New Orleans as we knew it, or as we imagined it, is gone, and I mourn, both for the city and for its people who are now experiencing loss far greater than anything I, sitting here in this apartment in the Great White North -- this apartment with electricity, food, running water, marginally sanitary conditions. This apartment which contains my loved ones, healthy and sleeping -- can possibly imagine.

I know that my fantasy of the city is in many (possibly most) ways incorrect. It wasn't all magic. It was a place where people got up and went to work every day, typed letters, flipped hamburgers, adjusted insurance, had children, died, burped and farted, wrote blogs, and possibly even knitted ugly green dishcloths.

It was a place where people loved and lived and hated and danced and just plain ol' went about their business; just like pretty much every city on earth.

But to me it was someplace special. Someplace mystical that I would go to when I was big enough. Someplace powerful and wonderful and enticing.

And now, it's someplace gone. And it hurts and I'm so terribly, terribly sad, for myself and for everyone there.

Like I said, I'm taking tomorrow off from pretty much everything. My girl and I have a date and there's nothing more important to me at this point than keeping my promise to her.

I have some Romney fleece that's been annoying me and, of course, the eternal supply of Cheviot and I'll get it on the stove tomorrow night to dye it up for an eBay auction, the proceeds of which will go to America's Second Harvest.

In the meantime, two people who are far more organized than I are spearheading a project, similar to what The Amazing Stephanie did recently to raise funds. Go visit them. Donate what you can. There will be prizes, perhaps even a few horrible green dishcloths.

If anyone chooses to donate to America's Second Harvest instead (or as well), please let me know. There can be prizes on more than one blog at once, and I don't REALLY need that shawl I've been making ... (no, not fancy, not lace, just all pink and girly) and I wouldn't mind getting rid of some of my stash as well.

Please send an email to with "harvest" in the title of the email, and I'll put your name in the hat. Prizes will include the pink shawl (which I will photograph as soon as I knit the last 15 rows and block it. It's in vintage Italian yarn in viscose and cotton, just a simple triangular shawl done in K1, yo, k to end on big needles), a couple of the green dishcloths, and some other fun stuff once I've had time to get my shit together. No, none of the prizes will be shit. Honest.

Goodbye, New Orleans. So long. And thanks for all the ... well, you know.

You ought to get some interesting hits from that title!
Girl I could just hug you...what a day...only thing missing was a good fire or a drive by shooting... so glad you got home to your poopers and family in one piece.
You were right--New Orleans was special and mystical and powerful and wonderful and enticing. Truly a unique city in so many ways. I'm sorry you never knew her. As all-too-infrequent visitors, my husband and I loved her dearly. I think she will come back, though I don't see how she can ever be the same. Thank you for your post, and for your support.
If there were only more people like you. Those who would do anything to help out in such bad times. I am sure whatever you make to sell or donate will be just wonderful.
And anyone who gets one of those green dishcloths, will have something to talk about for years.
I'm sorry about your day. It sucks, and although everything that is happening in New Orleans is about as bad as it gets, for the record, I firmly believe that you can't compare misery. Just because someone else has no feet, it doesn't mean you can't give a curse or two if you lose a shoe (BTW -- you need to fire that friend/babysitter...with friends like that, who needs friends?) But honestly, I know what you mean about New Orleans being a somewhat mythical, mystical place. I've never been there, and have always wanted to go (at any other time than Mardi Gras). In my mind, it is full of warm, rolling fog; it makes you want to lay down midday to take a nap underneath a ceiling fan on a veranda; it smells like Jasmine and sugar; it is green; and if you have nothing better to do there, you can go for a walk in a cemetery. I will miss it, too, even though I have never been. It is one of those pockets of America that makes you realize that the whole country isn't completely boring and republican.
I'm telling you, Rabbitch honey, it really was what you imagined it to be. I'm very sorry to know you didn't get to see it. But bless you for your efforts to help what's left of it.
You rock, lady. Little green footprints, poop machines, Ukrainian Tire (now YOU owe ME a new keyboard), and all. I hope you only paid Wingnut for the hours she stayed...

I miss those little funny paws, but I don't miss kitty litter. Fucking heavy, innit?

Good luck to the Lug on his exam, and have a blast with little person tomorrow. I'll be programming a rectangle and swearing at it because it won't flip when I tell it to. I think it's been having secret conferences with my husband...
So many of us down here are having similar thoughts about New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf. It's amazing that W and his cronies can't put together even one thought--Help these people!
Catching up - best N'Awlins post. Thanks for this. It captured the way I felt/feel perfectly.
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