Saturday I face my third major move in three years. I am upgraded to pro status. The trailer hitch is installed. The stuff has been pared and pared and pared down. The cat valium has been drawn and quartered.
There’s no help for the moving sadness though. It took me a year but as I’ve said goodbye to people this past week, I realized I had more friends, and I’d settled in more than I thought. Some of Nola I can take with me. Peychaud’s bitters, Camellia beans, Crystal hot sauce and an oil barrel-sized Tony’s. Against moving wisdom I’m hauling a tub of Mardi Gras loot. (Need sparkle pretties).
Here’s some of what I can’t pack:
1. My local grocery, Zara’s on Prytania. Many times, as a writer/online teacher, Zara’s was my only outing of the day. It never disappointed. The wall of gumbo, 23 brands of hot sauce, all parts of the pig, King Cakes, Creole tomatoes, Zapp's. And most important, standing in line to cash out which leads to…
2. Random conversations with Louisianans at the store, at bars, on the street, at the bank...
3. Tropical flowers. Courtyards.
5. The rattle of streetcars on St. Charles. I can only hear them in my apartment during the wee hours, when traffic is low and they can speed.
6. Candy-colored shot gun houses.
7. Evening walks. Last night I was so close to a new kitten. It seemed every palmetto shrub housed a litter of fuzzies. I was strong and did not put any in my pocket. But it hurt. Every time one jumped out, I wanted to name it for a cross street. Marengo. Delachaise. General Taylor. Antonine.
8. Playing shows at the Hi Ho Lounge and Checkpoint Charlie’s and Whisky Dix. Late night drinkies with my bandmates where we, through the help of Absinthe, solve the world’s problems.
9. My writers’ group, which I found through the improbable source of Craigslist.
10. Poolside cocktails on balmy nights with the Gulf breeze that makes everything feel possible.