Thursday, March 30, 2006

What a Mood, Laid Bare For You

You know you love a city when you are hearing love song lyrics meant to be from a man to a woman and you are thinking about your city. by city I mean people, structures, neighborhood vibes, everything.

I am going to lay myself out as perhaps too cheesy, but here you have a moment of my internal landscape and dialogue, illuminated by sound, smell, memory, sorrow and futility. If you now what I'm talking about, give me a sign.

I was on the corner of Simon Bolivar and Washington, in my car at a stop light. The windows were down and the temperature was a bit too warm with a breeze that cancelled out the edge. I smelled fried oysters and saw no place from where the smell wafted from and gave it up to the breeze.

My impulse was to take a picture, but I didn't see the frame, just signs stuck into the narrow, unmowed neutral ground. No one was around except a few teen-aged girls fake-tousling in a parking lot. But this song was playing and I was feeling overwrought for this city and nostalgic for a corner that used to teem with people out and about. Music blaring. Yelling. Baby noise. Moma noise. Hollas and holla backs.

This ever happened to you? A confluence of imagery, smells and music that create a mood beyond the actual environment. It's different from nostalgia because it talks about today and powerlessness, too. To me, and maybe this is trauma, this city is alive like a human. Maybe that's what drew me here to stay. This is not a ghost town, but it isn't a proper town right now, either. It's stagnant and it could rot or be glorious but why are we so stuck?


5 comments:

Marco said...

Professor Longhair will set you up.

Slimbolala said...

We've all been back in the daily routine long enough now, we sometimes forget what we've been through, but it surges back in unexpected moments, triggered by little surprising bits of something which are there and then gone.

NolaNik said...

Well put, Dave. Like a wafting draft. And thanks for the reference to a stronger mood, Marco.

Marco said...

I read your post again. Even though I haven't been through what you and many others have, your words helped me to feel that strange mingling sensation of smells, sounds, sights. I've had it too, but under different circumstances. It might be the spirit of place speaking in its own tongue to you. Keep on looking for it.

NolaNik said...

Yeah, I like that spirit of place reference. That's definitely what's going on, and what has been so altered in Nola. It's even stranger where things look the same -and something is a bit dissonant, it knicks my senses and knocks me a little more off kilter. The strange thing about trauma stretched over time is when the little knicks add up over time, without fully registering, slowly deflating the ego until one can place a finger on what is happening. Like shrapnel working it's way out of the skin.

z7mFDCXZ (Ruth-Anne's input)