Sunday, March 14, 2010

June Advice for New Orleans

Po Boy Views
Phil LaMancusa
June Goon
Gone Fishing
Booze and pills and powders; tablets, tinctures and teas --- there aint no cure for the summertime blues. Yep, just in time for the first day of the rest of your ever-confusing life, June is busting out all over. There’s an old song whose lyrics state that “It’s June in January because I’m in love…” Don’t believe it; it’s not June until after the thirty-second of May and that’s just before the twelfth of never.
In June, spring is over, Easter bonnets are collecting dust, Jazz Fest is a recent memory and hurricane season has officially started. Congratulations, you’ve made it back to the gates of summer hell.
Why hell? Maybe because another picture perfect season where you should be enjoying easy living (fish are jumpin’, cotton is high, blah blah blah), will be celebrated, at best, by a weekend getaway or two, or possibly a cook out on a weekend and then the next thing you know, you’re setting the clocks back an hour and getting out your corduroys. BAM! Note: there’s a rumor that a certain chef has trademarked the word BAM! (OMG, Mr. Bill, I’ve said it again!).
So, you’ll be at work or taking those summer school make up classes and there will not be a way to avoid the heat even with your air conditioner set to the ‘hang meat’ setting; your mind will, at least a few times, harken back to simpler times.
Work your fingers to the bone, whaddya get? Boney fingers! I’ll bet that you probably didn’t think that growing up was going to be like this, did’ja?
Harken back, if you will, (yes, harken, harken!) and recall the time… remember when (this is another ‘remember when’ story): your hair was just a bit thicker, your body parts were a bit perkier, you were lighter on your feet and nothing hurt you for very long, except unrequited love.
You were indestructible and when summertime rolled around you were ready for some freedom and action! The beach, the park, the woods or just up the block on the corner; time was on your side. You could wander somewhere for a cold drink and, if you were like me, sit on your stoop and commiserate with your peers and peeps about how bored you were with nothing much to do and all the time in the world to do it and wasn’t it hotter this year than last and do you think it will rain and cool things off and how about a crawfish boil this weekend?
Remember when you came running up from the beach and your mama told you to hose that sand off you before you got in the car or the mystery and adventure of a couple of weeks at summer camp, stops at the Waffle House or an Ice cream sundae on a stool that you swung three-sixties on or making that hideous sucking sound at the bottom of a cool glass of drug store soda? You were a kid for Christ sakes, you wore your attitudes like badges: defiance, recklessness, invincibility, daring!
Or were you an unfortunate that only got to play jacks or sand lot ball and swing on ropes from trees and when was the last time you caught fire flies and put ‘em in a jar? What happened? And when, exactly, did you get too old for such things and start turning into your parents?
Battery operated radios, breakneck bike rides, swings and see saws, kites, jump rope and spinning around in a circle until you got real dizzy and fell down laughing.
Of course I’m not talking about you. You are about to take the summer off, aren’t you? No laundry, rent, dishes, cat litter or walking the dog for you, right? No yard work, housework or any other kind of work will make it to your agenda starting June first and going on until Labor Day; not if you can help it, right? That’s better known as ‘fat chance’ right?
Well, you’re going to thank me, or not, because I’m going to push this article out to the blog earlier than June. Of course, it won’t be published until June but you‘ll have a jump. This is what you should do starting right now: stop spending any money on anything except essentials and sock the rest away for your summer vacation. Decide to go somewhere, anywhere, just somewhere for at least a month. Buy tickets, find somewhere to stay, rent a room somewhere and take some time off. Yes, YOU!
You can do it; summer is really slow here and your boss will be glad to cut back on his workforce. Use the computer to find a space: is a good place to start, but American or International Youth Hostels may suit you, or check out craigslist; use your and brain think creatively; the world is your oyster. Maybe do an apartment swap with someone; cool, huh?
A friend of mine and of my age laid one on me the other day about working your life long and then at a certain age getting put to pasture (pasteurized?). She told me that now that she has all the time in the world, she’s pretty much too tired to do much; succinctly she stated “retirement is wasted on the old”. Period. Can I say it any better than that? There is no future in all work and no summer vacation.
And you know, I’m not just blowing smoke here and it might be too late for me to accomplish it this year BUT (although I am taking a planned week off) I promise you that next year I’m shooting for a full month of time off; that is, a full month at least.
Just like my last few holidays, this year my tickets were paid for well in advance, credit cards were paid off and lodgings secured. We’re traveling light and keeping our spending monies adequate enough to have a real good time.
[ …Lastly, a couple of words about saving money and spending money only on essentials. It is essential to not live like a hermit for eleven months for the sake of one month of freedom. That’s sick and wrong. Just cut back, say, 10% a month and you’ll have enough to take a real break while still having your fun. All you need to do then is decide what the perfect vacation will be for you and go for it! ] Amen.

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