Wednesday, January 05, 2011

On Broadway*

Our holes haven't been fully paved over yet.  The small pile of broken concrete and rebar is still sitting in the street with a couple of sawhorses atop it.

I'd tell Entergy not to start what it can't finish except for the fact that a gas leak is a serious thing.

So, aside from some spackled-up spots between the two massive dirt-filled openings in our sidewalk, things aren't completely done yet.

I want to think that for big companies like Entergy, it must rankle at least a little that there's still work to be done on my block - for most people who care, and most entities truly concerned about their bottom lines, there's nothing like that feeling of unfinished things left hanging in the air like that.  It nags at you and it won't go away.

I see holes all over this town in the streets and can't help but think that those are the many reminders we have here of work that still needs to be done, the Sisyphean tasks that can sometimes seem to be designed to grind us down. My first impulse with these things is to go around taking pictures of them all, posting them on a blog of my own invention titled The Hole Story...but I keep seeing that we really don't need these things to tell us something somewhere is still in need of our best efforts.

There is no shame in New Orleans to say you celebrate both felicity and misery, as they are twin mistresses who court you just the same.  My regret over the past year is that I have let my fears guide my life and I have let misery be my wife.  Now, it’s been a successful year on many accounts, but that doesn’t mean I’ve let it be a happy one.
In reflection, I’ve been beating myself up for a long time and it’s progressively gotten worse.  You wouldn’t know it by talking to me because I’ve gotten good at professing hope, fearlessness, change and everything 504.  The problem is that in all my talk of better worlds and better people I haven’t been able to exercise the same will that exists in my rhetoric.  I believe what I say, but I’m not living it and I haven’t been for quite some time.
For most of this year, it seems we’ve been bombarded with crime after oil spill after crime…et cetera ad nauseum.  It’s been a great year for me to rabble rouse and, as Mark Folse says, be “a great agitator.”  I believe in the causes I get behind because they have a profound affect on my friends, my city and me.  However, I have beaten myself up over ideas, solutions, and the daily barrage of stories I filter though on any given day.  I beat myself up and pass the stories on; I beat myself up and write fourteen page rants I never publish; I beat myself up and rip canvases apart rather than paint what is inside. 
I wish this were as simple as filling in and paving up holes.  It's not.

Once again, living here can be beautiful and hard.  There's so much we've taken on ourselves that people in most cities shake their heads at and wonder why we keep subjecting ourselves to it all.  When are you going to just admit that this place is a lost cause?  When will you see it clearly and get out?

Truth is, many of us see it all too well - we just need the reassurances that our efforts are not in vain, we need acknowledgment that we are not alone in this, that we are human, that we stumble and are brought to our knee by tests of our resolve.  But we don't want pity, just the strength to keep going.

Turn to someone on as many days as you can and let them know you are there, that you know the work is hard, that the road is long and bumpy.  Do it to the people that, in your estimation, seem like they need it the least...because they may be putting on a damned good show.  You will be giving them the gift of release, even if for a moment or two.


*Oh, the hole in the pictures? It's in front of 320 Broadway. The gravel's rubbed right out and you may be nowhere - if your axle gets smashed in it.  If you wanna, give the Sewerage & Water Board a piece of your mind about it - or any other holes in your neighborhood that need fixing. Even if nothing gets done 'til shortly before Mardi Gras Day, you might feel better after you vent.

1 comment:

ALM said...

Your efforts are not in vain, and you are not alone! ;) Good post.