Po Boy Views
Carnival Care Chaos
That reminds me of the time my daughter Hypatia sent her son to stay with me during Carnival, his name is Boomer; she named him Boomer, short for Boomerang, because she swore that as he was being born that he actually tried to do a 180 to get back inside her womb. He was eleven when he showed up on my doorstep; well, show up isn’t the exact word for it, there were a series of communications, phone calls, emails and texts gone wild and wide, missed and otherwise, that I alone was guilty of overlooking and consequently ignoring. In short, I had taken myself ‘off grid’ for my sanity and well being. One afternoon I received a call from my neighbor “there’s a kid sitting on your porch and I don’t recognize him/her, you ‘specting somebody?” In New Orleans, ‘specting can be either suspecting or expecting (or a combination); so, I was a little apprehensive when I pulled into my parking space.
“Yo, G-Pops!” and I knew who that was. “Sup Boomer?” A rangy kid who was generally up to no good, blue eyes looking over Ray Bans, a fauxhawk mullet hair cut, oversized plaid wool shirt over a Grateful Dead tee shirt, faded jeans and CT high tops. He was slouched in an un-natural position in a wicker chair, lap top computer in the crook of his leg; “do I hafta steal Wi-Fi, or you got a password or what?”
“Fine thanks, how’re you and what in Sam Hill are you doin’ here?”
“Well, oh grand patriarch of mine, it seems that I’ve been given a hiatus from boarding school, mother dear is off on a water aerobic yoga meditation macramé bikini retreat located inside an Indian casino and nobody home but the goldfish and the Ficus Benjamina tree; so, not wanting to pull a Macaulay Culkin, I caught the dog (Greyhound bus) and came on down, don’t you ever answer your phone, email, OR texts? I could eat a cow, let’s get some chow and chew the fat”.
I’m not sure if you remember when you were that age. Your hormones are starting to wake up, your voice is changing, your face is erupting (or threatening to), your feet are growing along with your nose; you’re too old for kid stuff and too young for adult past-times. For the entire stay I would be peppered with questions, opinions, wishes and rejections of anything thought to be below the dignity of this little ruffian idiot savant man-child.
Remember when your mind was full of whys and why nots? When your life was full of new tastes and newer situations, there were no basis’ for preconceived notions of experiences and of not taking answers like “because I said so/ know so” because they were no answer at all? When you were more feral than house broken, more curious than educated and more insecure than proud of who you were and, where you were going was a dark place because you had no conception of what the road ahead could offer?
In the couple of short weeks to follow, I was to relive my own preteen coming of age with each “why can’t I, why should I, tell me why and how come you can and I can’t?” query that only the young can come up with and get away with. I got back in touch with the boy that I was entering a grown up world where adults had all the perks and I had none. Add to that that the kid was more electronically savvy than six of me and could out run, out eat, out talk and out sleep me on any given day and you have an odd couple worthy of Neil Simon.
When was the last time you gave over your world and spent every waking hour considering the needs of one other person? Try it and you will run the gamut of emotions from insult to impatience; petulance to selfishness of a high degree. Being on call or AWOL to/from the person that is in a position of being the most important biped in your life whether you want to be in that situation or not. You cannot any longer do anything without first considering how it will effect/affect that one other person. And I, so full of self esteem and being the spoiled brat that I am, took that on because simply there was no one else around to foist that responsibility on to.
Oh, I have friends in nursing homes that need visiting, neighbors that can always use a helping hand, volunteering, cleaning and straightening, and projects that I have left half finished or neglected up the wazoo; but, I can still even at my age, turn my back on f**k all, get a cold one at Liuzza’s By The Track and watch Jeopardy in the early evening and to hell with accountability. Not so when you have a full time whatsis that you’re learning to accept as a major part of your twenty-four hour day. It’s very trying to make that change; you have to reach down into your inner Zen, turn on your outer mild mannered countenance and in general just suck it all up for the common good. It was a lesson in both of us growing up. I felt great empathy for all motherhood.
We parted as friends, as buds, and we each wanted time to freeze and keep us together; but he had school and I had work and we swore that we would someday live together forever and there were a few tears on both sides as I saw him off (on a plane, dammit!).
So this Carnival season, which includes Valentine’s Day, remember that it is NOT all about you and there are people worthy of your devotion. It’s never too late to give someone else (and yourself) a happy childhood.