Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The "E" word in New Orleans

Po-boy Views
Phil LaMancusa
Cardboard, Cans and Bottles
The Trouble I See
News from the front: no progress has been made and the wind, my friend, is howling at your doorstep, down your chimney and up your assets like the Dire Wolf, all six hundred pounds of sin. It’s hotter than July (go figger) and the perfect storm is forming in your aura, if nowhere else. I’m at a category three myself.
I know what you’re thinking: what else can happen? Well, this: we got a bunch of yahoos wanting us to believe that their temporary agendas, with outcomes that we can or cannot predict, alter or effect are dialogue that we should consider considering. Go ahead, they seem to say, use what few brain cells that you have left to store useless information about the inhumanity (on all fronts) of our lives and conditions. But, you know what? All of our challenges will not amount to a hill of beans if we don’t take care of the hill itself. The rest is, after all, just mental masturbation, Capeesh?
Shot at and missed, shit at and hit. The war, the economy and gas prices, sure are important; but, do you really concentrate on socks and shoes if you aint got no feet? Do you lock the doors when the walls cave in? If you ain’t got a planet left to wage war on…what’s the point of having peace talks?
The big ‘E’ word. The environment. And how would you like to come see the poster child for environmental dysfunction? Well, ‘c’mon down!’ Come on down to New Orleans and The French Quarter!
As residents and workers here, we can’t help but chuckle when we see a tourist, inebriated or not, trip over what should be a smooth walking surface. The city says the sidewalk maintenance is the responsibility of the landlords, the VCC says it has a say on what goes on there and not to fool with blockage or adornment. Landlords and residents shoot the bird at any responsibility and say that if they are city streets, let the city take care of them. It’s the big ‘not my problem’ all the way around and then I trip and bust my butt.
Oh, and watch out for fallen light posts (or non existent ones). The city says to report a missing or broken light post just submit it’s identification number (?) The story of our lives here – submit a number. By the way, THE LIGHTING DEPARTMENT ONLY INSPECTS DURING THE DAY!!!
Demolition by neglect? Where would you like to start?
Add to that, the dark corners where disrespect and crime flourish and there’s no better example of environmental disaster than the vomit and blood and urine and condoms and used hypos on our streets; unless it’s the frigging trash, like the drunk passed out in your doorway or dog shit on the sidewalk.
I know what you’re thinking: “why Phil, it’s a hell of a lot cleaner now that we have a trash company looking out for us”. Nooooo, Fool… we’ve got ten times the number of cleanup elves sweeping up after us… so fast that we can’t let a hint drop without someone being there from SDT to catch it before it hits the ground. We are NOT better citizens about cleanliness, we just have more baby sitters. With your eyes open you can still see trash being tossed everywhere; cigarette butts, chewing gum, chicken bones, go cups and a zip code of spit being left on our streets to be hosed down and picked up by our bazillion dollar trash service.
Paint, kitchen grease and construction mediums being flushed down our storm drains and ultimately to the lake? Let me count the ways.
Recycling? In your dreams, Sucker. One of the other things we have not come to grips with is that you can’t just throw something away… there is no away! It has to go somewhere, and if something that can be recycled is not recycled, you wind up wasting one resource and exploiting another to replace it.
Glass, cardboard, plastic, paper and even compost are parts of reclamation in any civilized community. Simple stuff like a deposit on a bottle, money for cans and cardboard or at the least, an environmental Nazi to fine the shit out of people that don’t take the life of the planet seriously are ideas that haven’t even occurred yet.
Yes, we’ve got trouble, right here in River City. We’ve got an epidemic of complacency that IS stuck on stupid. We have people that know the difference in right speech, right thought and right action with their ears in a cell phone and their pants around their asses. We have parenting with no skills, models with no roles and lots of work with no pay.
We’ve been hung out to dry on every level and now the long slow hurricane season of the soul sets in with flash flood watches covering the southern portion of my disposition and a line of thunderstorms developing in the western region of my mental health and the northern regions of my ability to deal rationally with my precarious emotional situation. Severe weather well into the afternoon except for a lone gust of wind in my bedroom in a high pressure zone with a 103 and millibar and weak pressure ridge extending from my eyes down to my cheeks.
We know what needs to be done, what needs to happen and yet with daily life and every indiscretion that we allow to happen, another nail is driven into the coffin of the planet. It is said that an impotent person, an oppressed person, a beaten person does not make waves, and the ignorant get away with crimes against nature. Not one of us is truly enfettered and alive until we complain about the stuff that bothers us… the things around us that insult us.
Our sensibilities have left our sensitivities for dead and put vice grips on our hearts and minds. Well, my forecast for the extended period of time until we wake up and take it all back is high tonight, low tomorrow and---
(Excerpts of this piece lifted from Tom Waits and others… but, of course, you knew that.)

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