Old Scool

I’m not what anyone would consider to be a man full of conviction. I’m not passionate about everything. It actually takes a lot to get my attention. Not because I don’t notice things, but because I dismiss much of the world as being of no interest to me. I don’t make any effort to recycle. I don’t go to rallies to try and change the world. I don’t even like activists and feel they are naive idealists. Hell, I’ve only recently started to vote. Most anyone who knows me or even just reads what I write here would probably agree with those statements to some degree. Most people don’t have accurate self-knowledge so I have to assume the same is true of me.

I don’t mention these things so much as a self-serving existentialism – although that probably wouldn’t be out of character either. I mention it because for someone like me to become so disgusted and disenfranchised with the way this city, state and federal government is going takes a lot. But they’ve worn me down. I don’t mean to say that I’m all anti-American or anything. I just no longer want my taxes to finance the things the government is doing, I no longer want to participate in any of it, and mostly, I just don’t want to be associated with this place anymore. Not believing that things here can be changed by one, sad little man of no consequence with a penchant for profanity, it doesn’t leave a lot of decision making. So, in short, I’m outta here as soon as I can work out the details.

It started harmlessly enough when I realized I don’t know how much longer I can stay here with things the way they are. So I figured instead of snapping and doing something stupid I should start thinking things through so I’m at least mentally prepared. So I started thinking about where I want to go. Savannah, Charleston and Austin were obvious first considerations since they seem to have some of the same things I used to love about New Orleans. But they didn’t seem different enough to satisfy my heart. I thought of Chicago and especially New York. Those are difficult moves to make as far as general cost of living and distance. Plus, Chicago is really just too cold for me. Which basically leaves New York and I was fine with that for a week or so. I had actually looked at apartments and seriously thought of just staying there when I ended up there during my hurrication. That would get me out of the city and state that had so disappointed me.

Then I thought, ‘Hell, with all the effort its going to take to move to New York I could move to Europe with just a little more effort. For some reason that really got me excited. I guess I never really got clear of that refugee feeling from the months and months after the storm. The though of spending the rest of my life in this country, on top of probably being fairly short if things continue the way they’re going, just seems a sad proposition. Plus, maybe this way I’m freeing up a job for a Mexican – bonus! People have always said in response to any criticism of the USA that if you don’t like it then get out. Well, I don’t like it here and that may be pretty good advice.

Everyone always acts like its a simple thing to just move to another country and leave the Americas behind but in my little bit of research it doesn’t appear to be that easy. The situation isn’t helped with the world fear of terrorism and the general dislike, distrust, and disdain for America right now. There’s a lot working against me actually. Here’s a quick list:

  1. Don’t have a passport
  2. Don’t speak anything other than English
  3. I’ve never been abroad
  4. Didn’t graduate from college

The list goes on and I’m sure there’s stuff I’m not even aware of that’s going to work against me.

But there are a couple of things working in my favor…another quick list:

  1. Don’t have a criminal record
  2. Have mad technology skills
  3. I’m one of the coolest people I know

Ok, the last thing is more a sign that I need to get out more.

So after giving it much thought, I’ve decided I’m going to try and move to Paris within about 2 years. That should give me time to get everything worked out with the house, my job may be ending around that time, and I should be able to get all the paperwork done by then and hopefully visit a few times, make some friends there, etc. I’m checking with the “powers that be” to see if I can cross post to the Paris Metroblog Site through this whole process. It looks like they only have one writer some hot chic named Naomi who’s actually from the U.S. so maybe she has some insight to help me get this done.

There’s still unanswered questions. There’s still uncertainty. I don’t have all the answers. There’s a chance that France just has no use for me and I’ll not be able to go. In a really practical sense I don’t have much to offer the French people. But I’ll do whatever I have to to make this happen. The French lessons start shortly and I should be able to get by initially with what I can learn in two years without embarrassing myself too bad.

Look, the fact is I’ve always been a fan of the idea that if things aren’t working out after a reasonable effort has been made and there aren’t any very compellingreasons to stick it out, then go somewhere else. It’s how I ended up in New Orleans and apparently how I’ll leave. And when I think about where else I want to live, no place in the U.S. really seems that attractive. And I don’t want to do anything too detrimental to myself so I’m allowing time to get everything together. I would imagine I’m going to get very little support in this forum for my decision – hell how is that different than anything else? We’ve all been collectively alone down here for going on two years. Maybe it’s time we all stand up, get both balls in one hand and do what we think is best regardless of everyone and everything else. There’s always a million reasons not to do something like this and rarely a good reason to. People get too comfortable and don’t want to make bold decisions. In our case here maybe we’re too scared. But I can assure you that people all over this city are having the same thoughts and asking the same questions. They may arrive at different conclusions, but it’s no less scary not matter what you decide to do. It seems the situation forces decisions and the government increasingly seems sure our decision is going to be to do nothing. That we’re going to sit here just like we did at the Superdome, the Convention Center, and all this time waiting for crime to be fixed, Road Home to help people, the Mayor to actually do something, the traffic lights to actually work, and the protection against the same thing happening again this year…..well, if I have to make a decision then mine is to not wait any longer than I need to. Honestly, I would leave tomorrow if I didn’t think that would really work out badly for me personally. From now on I’m here for me – out of necessity – not love, obligation or hope.

I may regret this in the coming years, it’s true that’s a possibility. But I fail to see how I cold regret it more than doing nothing at all.

18 Comments so far

  1. termite. (unregistered) on July 16th, 2007 @ 8:30 pm

    :(


  2. leigh (unregistered) on July 16th, 2007 @ 9:33 pm

    You are young – you don’t have family / roots at this point. Go to Paris. If it is your dream, then don’t wait two years. Put the shanty up for sale and see what happens. You are a gifted writer who needs to get a novel out. You have an innate ability to capture interest and convey emotion when writing that comes acorss as natural. Paris did wonders for Hemingway and so many Impressionists. Following a dream is not abandoning New Orleans – it is letting your life evolve into another chapter. NOLA metroblogger readers may have to read the Paris page…

    French is not so hard – get motivated – learn a lot of vocabulary and see if DISHTV can get you a subscription to a French channel. The hardest part is the oral language. When learning a second language, natives speak rapidly and it is hard to translate at first. Perhaps, you could look at trying out one of the month long immersion schools before you cross over the pond. C’est une belle place, Paris, avec pleine de vie et vigeur.

    Bonne chance.


  3. Cade Roux (unregistered) on July 16th, 2007 @ 10:27 pm

    There’s always England. I grew up there – it’s culturally completely different, but you’ll be able to handle the language – notice, I’m not advising Scotland.


  4. LisaPal (unregistered) on July 17th, 2007 @ 12:58 am

    I formed my plan to flee to New Zealand as soon as the last electoral votes were counted in the 2004 presidential election. It’s a beautiful country with a subtropical climate in the far north — and they speak English. I told a friend who had similar sentiments about my plan and he did it and absolutely loves it there. They need people with mad tech skills, too. Pretty much the only reason I’m still here is because I can’t tie my mother to a chair and put her in the back of a truck, like
    they did to Granny on the Beverly Hillbillies. So, to remain sane, I have to keep my focus on the deep, deep love I have for my home town and virtually nothing else.

    I hate seeing people leave, but ! do understand.

    Good luck.


  5. Craig (unregistered) on July 17th, 2007 @ 1:20 am

    We’ll be sorry to see you go but, really, I don’t think it’s about giving up on, losing faith in or getting disgusted with New Orleans. I think all of us (or I HOPE all of us) reach a point in our lives where we discover things we believed in, trusted, took for granted or otherwise committed to just aren’t going to work anymore. We evolve — and sometimes it means our geography has to change. While some get a new contentment for where they are, others realize it’s indeed Time To Go. I have been in those shoes and not too many years ago.

    We’ve each got to find That Place. Sometimes it’s a physical location and sometimes it’s not — and sometimes That Place is the periodic changing of places. First thing I’d work on is that passport, since it takes a while these days. Then you’re good to go anywhere.

    Good luck with it — and post frequently about your progress. There are plenty of us who will be fascinated.


  6. Jill (unregistered) on July 17th, 2007 @ 8:18 am

    How about a coastal or Sonoma County town in Northern California? North of SF, but not too far north. It’s beautiful, sophisticated, low key and close enough to a big city for cultural enrichment.

    We lived in New Orleans for a decade, and finally moved on earlier this year. We’re in Atlanta now (great job opportunity), and while we don’t LOVE it, it’s been a very positive move on all fronts.

    Hate to say it, but (for me) life is just better away from N.O. I feel hopeful again.


  7. Chris Martel (unregistered) on July 17th, 2007 @ 9:36 am

    Trust me, I’m in the same boat. Just got back from 10 days in Costa Rica and while I didn’t completely fall in love with it, I was fantasizing about living there every minute. I don’t know how anyone can chastise anyone else for wanting to leave at this point. I’ve got a two year escape plan as well… haven’t decided where but I figure in two years the decision to jump ship or not should be much easier to make.


  8. George (unregistered) on July 17th, 2007 @ 12:23 pm

    i need a job


  9. Jim (unregistered) on July 17th, 2007 @ 1:58 pm

    You are not a person who gives up easily! Never have been!! If it feels right for you to sell and move….no matter where you go….then do it!! You only have one life. If the life your living is leading you to Paris…go!!! I would !! You’ve done a lot where you are!! Now…take some time for yourself…you are young..except for the shanty….no ties!! I am proud of you no matter what you do…always have been!! Your smart…and you do not run from things…so PLEASE do not look at it like you would be giving up!!!! I am behind you no matter what choice you make!!!! Hopefully….would love to come visit there before you move…and if you do go to Paris…would love to visit you there!! Only you can make that decision…and you’ll know…if it’s the right choice and the right time!!! Good luck to Jack…you deserve the best!!!


  10. Jim (unregistered) on July 17th, 2007 @ 2:01 pm

    Your Mom is going to KILL ME!!!!! :) Love you!!!


  11. Raspootin (unregistered) on July 17th, 2007 @ 3:09 pm

    Grass = greener?

    May I suggest taking some time off and visiting Europe before making any drastic changes.

    I would not sell your house: Nawlins might be a nice place to come and visit if you find Paris to your liking.


  12. Heather (unregistered) on July 18th, 2007 @ 12:47 pm

    You need to read “Me Talk Pretty One Day” by David Sedaris.


  13. Jack Ware (unregistered) on July 18th, 2007 @ 12:51 pm

    And you need to kiss my ass Heather.

    :P


  14. kapaali (unregistered) on July 19th, 2007 @ 7:36 pm

    I, too, have a two-year escape plan. I have a deep, deep love for New Orleans that began when I was a child, but I’m not a child anymore, and I can’t build a life on some idyllic vision that no longer exists, if it ever did. NOLA will always be my first love, but I think there are a great many of us who are figuring out that staying here is maybe not the wisest of choices, love or no.

    As far as Europe goes, I totally loved everything about Amsterdam and envisioned living there…hell, I may even do it. The only thing that put me off about the place was that people there can be EXTREMELY rude, and coming from here, where you can have an hour long conversation with a stranger in Walgreen’s about crawfish and black skirts (don’t ask), having people be extremely rude to me for no reason was a little hard to deal with. I’d still move there, though. They know how to make things WORK. Their public transportation alone is worth it.


  15. Therese (unregistered) on July 20th, 2007 @ 8:30 am

    I left for Asia, specifically Shanghai and Hong Kong (which share a lot with what I love most in my hometown), though that was planned before Katrina. As it happened, I ended up leaving three days after it hit from Baton Rouge (after convincing the airline to change my tickets as my entry visa was expiring). I’ve since returned once, earlier this year, and I’m only now recovering from the visit.

    I regret my move in that I had to leave my family (everyone I know and love and am related to is from and in Louisiana, many in NOLA and Jefferson Parish), but I don’t regret leaving.

    Good luck.


  16. Kelly (unregistered) on July 20th, 2007 @ 4:15 pm

    Northern New Zealand needs people with mad tech skills? Really? I will look into this. I haven’t quite reached the point of leaving, but I completely understand how someone could be there by now. It is in my realm of possible choices, but not in the immediate realm. Everyone’s threshold is different. Mad props to you for sticking it out through the nasty parts, Jack. You have a distinct voice and seem to be quite a talented writer. Being an ex-pat in Paris has done wonders for so many writers and artists. I bet it will be easy to find a supportive, intelligent, compassionate community of artists. Best of luck to you. There’s a woman named Amy Alkon (www.advicegoddess.com) who may be able to help you (give advice and such) with your move. She recently bought a flat in Paris and she’s an acquaintence of mine, of sorts. (When people from out of town ask, and they Always do, what my evacuation plan is, I tell them about 3 grand and a passport. Still working on both of those things.) Two years should be plenty nuff time to get it together & make the jump across the pond. I’ve looked into it in the past, and it looked a little daunting (for example, all of the paperwork is in French, of course, and they do make it somewhat difficult to gain citizenship unless you’re famous or disgustingly wealthy or have some rare skill). But man, what a place to live once you get through the miles – no, kilometers – of French red tape. I read this blog often, and now I’ll be reading the Paris metroblog as well. And also, if you totally hate it over there, you can always come back and still have dual citizenship. I think.


  17. Bye (unregistered) on July 23rd, 2007 @ 2:26 am

    You’re against most of the things that make life interesting here. You’re a libertarian, except when it comes to immigrants running legal businesses that serve a market, but would’ve welcome Starbucks into Jackson Square. I’m sure maybe someone in Europe will appreciate that, as well as your me-me-me tone. What utter self-aggrandizement. You may lack conviction, but you don’t lack a desire to have the spotlight turned on yourself, even when you have little or nothing to say.


  18. Jack Ware (unregistered) on July 23rd, 2007 @ 11:01 am

    Thanks for the insight Bye. You’ve really added to the ongoing discussion in a meaningful way. Although, you may want to talk to the Bursars office at Xavier University and see about getting some of your money back you ignorant fuck.

    Now run along and update your myspace page with some cool new tunes or find something else to do online. If we need anything we’ll email you.



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