I’ve been thinking a lot about Jack’s last post and my personal love lost for this city lately. I have to admit a certain apathy has overtaken me and that’s the reason I don’t post too often on here anymore. I was in Costa Rica for the last two weeks, which was pretty awesome, and upon returning last night I realized I was not excited to be coming home. Craig has written many times about that “it’s great to be back” feeling when returning here from trips, and this was the first time I haven’t felt that way. Usually I would grab a daiquiri on the way home from the airport and dive headfirst into an oyster poboy or something to celebrate being back, but not last night. Maybe I was just exhausted from a hellacious nineteen hours spent in various airports and airplanes, but when I think back on the vacation I don’t think there was a second where I wished I was back here. Not only that, but the reason I went on vacation in the first place was because I needed a serious break from New Orleans.
So now I am starting to analyze exactly why I’m feeling this way, to break down the problems and maybe that will help overcome them, I don’t know. But here’s what’s been on my mind.
- The crime. Or rather, the justice system. When the D.A. threw that Shavers case out of the window it really, really got to me on some strange level. The crime here does not scare me. Crime is a fact of life in all cities, and frankly I feel safer here than I do in certain cities that shall not be named. I have been victimized by crime before, whatever, no sweat. What really bothers me is the realization that anyone could do anything they want to me or someone I love with basically no fear of being punished. Even in the unlikely event that they were caught, the likelihood that they’d be brought to justice is marginal at best. That is just unacceptable. I feel like I might as fucking well live in Iraq. And if this trend continues there is absolutely no way I can keep living here, period.
- No longer the ‘big easy.’ Let’s face it, this city is not laid back anymore, it’s not cheap anymore, nothing is particularly convenient, you can’t even find a store that’s open past midnight for chrissakes. I know it sounds petty but this was a big part of my love for this city. I keep hoping things will go back to the way they were in this regard but I lose hope every day.
- The nightlife. There just really isn’t that much to do. I spend more time on the couch and on the internet than I care to admit. I read an NYT article yesterday about how the business at Harrah’s is better than it ever has been, and how it’s mostly locals who hang out there now, where it used to be all tourists. The locals they interviewed said there isn’t anything else to do here. And while I don’t think I’d stoop to hanging out at Harrah’s, I can definitely attest to the fact that there isn’t as much stuff going on. Take, for example, my post about seeing Dennis Quaid’s band. Sadly, that was the most fun I’ve had here in a long time. Hopefully this is a situation that will improve over time, and maybe I just need to broaden my horizons a little.
- People are angry. I guess this goes back to #2 on the list. People are just not as friendly, and in many cases they’re downright pissed off. I see road rage, people screaming at each other, livid cab drivers, folks always on the edge. I’m guilty of this myself at times…what happened? What’s going to happen when I’m on the receiving end of some lunatic’s nervous breakdown? I really don’t want to find out.
Now, I am not a quitter. I’m not going to make a hasty decision about staying here, I really want to make a go of it. I have a secret disdain for people my age who move around from one hip town to the next every year.. one year it’s New Orleans, then Portland, then Austin, etc. That isn’t me, I have marketable skills and don’t have any reason to eke out an existence as some kind of rootless poseur. But give me another year or two of the above and no foreseeable improvements, I’m going to throw in the towel.
Unfortunately like Jack and most everyone I talk to, I have a hard time imagining myself living somewhere else, especially in the USA. Where that leaves me I’m not sure, but I guess I’ve got plenty of time to ponder it.