True dat

This is a subject I’ve written about before — nearly a year ago as I remember (I’d go back and look but, frankly, I’m just too lazy this Sunday morning). The Washington Post has a very good look at the city’s continuing battle with depression.

The story is, of course, nothing new to those of us who have chosen to return and stay and work to rebuild. This has always been a city of extreme personalities and it’s one of the reasons we had to come back. But, too often, the more mundane of us have become extreme and the usual extremes have rounded the bend and fallen off into the Just Plain Bizarre. Social drinkers have become alcoholics, Loud party folks have become bar-fightin’ nutjobs and the nearby eccentric (every block in this city has at least one) turns into a Confederate flag-waving recluse, shouting at passers-by from inside his still unrepaired house. Or something.

To a certain degree, we all tend to notice more weirdness and unusual tics the longer we live anyplace. The couple we used to think of as being “so nice” turns out to be a couple we no longer socialize with because we’ve had time to discover their true idiosyncracies (as has happened to us). Familiarity can indeed breed contempt. But with depression and other maladies running at extreme levels anymore, I have to wonder how much is simply increased familiarity and how much is because many of us have simply changed that much over the past two years. Take away the Katrina Factor and would things still be this way? Or to this degree?

Forgive me for looking back like this (again) — I’ve tried hard to look ahead and not be one of those who sits around bleating about Poor Us. New Orleanians are as tired of it as the rest of the country. We too want it all to just go away — but we live here and it doesn’t.

Sometimes I feel like the cook in an old Three Stooges episode. All he’s trying to do is get supper started in the kitchen while Larry, Curly and Moe are posing as plumbers elsewhere in the house. They’ve got water pipes hooked up to electrical conduit and gas pipes and before long there’s water spraying from the stove, filling up and bursting the light bulbs and the clock on the wall is spinning faster and faster and finally leaps off the wall and falls into the soup.

The cook looks at the camera and says, “Dis house sho’ gone crazy.”

I’ve always laughed maniacally at this scene. And, sometimes, it’s all I can do now.

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