Friday, January 13, 2006

Life after an apocalypse (ctd.)

The out-of-town-but-terminally-in-town workers give New Orleans a predatory vibe.

Yesterday, when I stepped out my front door to sweep my second-floor porch, the not-from-here worker man on the front lawn started chortling, pointing and staring on cue, as if it is such an unnatural act for a woman to exist at all: she is spectacle.

Today, the roofers living downstairs began playing their radio outside again at 7:30 A.M., right below my windows. These are the same creatures who do not bag their garbage, including uncooked meat packages, bones and the beer that sloshed all over when I put the pails out earlier, and are thus fulfilling my previously unfulfilled dream of functioning as a sanitation worker - they also do not ever put the pails on the curb, despite the fact that the vast majority of the garbage is theirs.

The city is only theirs on Sunday, when they stand around and scream, when they are cashing their paychecks, or when they are hissing at, gawking at or even following them strange women folk around. The rest of the time, well, "we" can have this city - we being the people who live, work and die here, some of whom cannot come back because the above people have occupied their jobs or apartments. And we are literally being trashed - then decried as slobs and whores, a cycle that is perpetuated every Mardi Gras. Sadly, people are still treating this city as their dumping ground when it is actually a disaster area and people have died and every time that roofer smashed that glass bottle in the alley behind my apartment that night, I saw someone dying of thirst and hunger on a rooftop, some elderly woman drowning in her attic, someone's suffering being heckled.

It's hard to remember, on a personal level, how great people have been - in and out of the city - when chester-molester-looking dudes continually attempt to dominate my home space via the machismo cowboy swagger so popularized by our president (and I will not refer to them as "animals" because animals can be understood). I don't want to hear screaming from people who haven't suffered and disgrace those who have and do; I want to hear that horn playing, the one that wafted over from several blocks away one night.


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