Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sunday NY Times

Po Boy Views


Phil LaMancusa

Sunday’s Single’s Solaces


My Kinda Town

Sunday. We are truly ourselves without the weekday commitments to the world that we’ve made; the good faith mantle that we take up again each Monday morning. Sunday is the day when we are truly, sometimes tragically, ourselves; the leftovers of who we were on Saturday night. This is Sunday. We can linger over coffee, the newspaper, or mass at church. Sunday dinner can be a crawfish boil, roast beef with mash and gravy or crackers and cheese. Then off to bed, to sleep off the weekend before the alarm clock rings in another what the fuck week. That, of course, puts us into Monday.

In several languages Monday translates to ‘Moon Day’ (Lundi, Lunas, Lunis and Lunae dies) those that afflicted by the moon are called ’Lunatics’ and that’s what most of us are at the beginning of each new week. Monday we’ll get back to our jobs, kids, mortgages and responsibility to taking care of food, clothing and shelter for ourselves and others. Ah, but Sunday…

Most of us just follow our noses on Sunday. Sunday is the day of excuses that work: sleep in late, stay out later or step up to the straight and narrow. A bench in church or a barstool at Cheer’s (where everybody knows your name). Up to suit, shower and shave in an attempt at normalcy at week’s end or contra wise, a Bloody Mary, Mimosa, Ramos Fizz with brunch. Possibly, a hair of the dog from a brown paper bag, another hit, a bump or “roll me over, lay me down and do it again”. You’ve paid your dues and you make your choices.

My Sunday morning ritual is to get my sorry ass over to Matassa’s for the New York Times; “All The News That’s Fit To Print” (but not necessarily all the news that’s fit to read). The street sweepers are collecting last night’s detritus in anticipation of the spray from the morning lemonade truck: go cups, grenade tubes, cigarette butts and the sad ends to Lucky Dogs. Someone’s sleeping it off on a doorstep, the contents of their stomach is picked over by pigeons as a tour guide hurries his herd past; they hang on to his every word, doe eyed and mesmerized. Black and whites on bikes hurry to their brunch shifts. Punks and drunks hassle tourists and young girls on the corner of Saint Peter and Royal Street. Tenacity and Audacity. A cook from up the street stops by Rouse’s for orange juice to compliment cheap champagne as musicians stake out their corner claims with kids, canines and cumbersome trappings in tow. A zip code of almost artists set up behind the cathedral; a teen texting a BFF back in Texas. A girl in retail slipping through the crowd; a little weary, a little bleary, stiletto heel shaky on her way to sleep, perchance to dream. Lunacy and Truancy. .

Streetwise nomads in brown clothed invisibility, curious today on how growing up is working out for them. Likewise a balloon salesman, face painter, human statue, street magician and a juggler of knives and bowling balls. A lonely banjo picker, wandering alcoholics, sleepy psychic readers, card carrying homeless beggars. Another one bites the dust.

The Bourbon Pub has its doors open wide as last night amnesiacs practice voluntary bar crowd segregation: the merry makers in the front and the maudlin in the back. Up the street a choir runs through scales. Art galleries and shops that are not open but lit from within are fair game for rubberneckers who normally would hurry by. Harouni, Blue Dog.

Outside the gate of the Café Amelie, patrons await admission while the Cornstalk Fence Hotel looks on coolly, having seen it all before. This architecture that is moored and mooned over daily has been witness to centuries of dramatics, deceits, indiscretions and emotions. Fealty is promised; lovers entwine; a bottle breaks; another man done gone.

Coffee shops flourish with everything bagels and Super Grande Mocha Skinny Soy Lattes and baristas with a why bother attitude and demeanor wait for regulars that know what they want and how to tip. Rubes asleep in pickup trucks with Oklahoma plates, ‘grip the road’ tires and Huge Ass Beer cups on the dash board. Me and my Sunday Times; Black eyed Susie with another shiner and a morning forty selling Mardi Gras beads to nuclear families; the sun rises on sinners and Saints fans impartially. The Blacksmith shop is opening to mules with buggy behinds, all the booze that’s fit to mix; can’t buy a stamp across the street today and the wine shop that’s been shuttered for decades; a little red schoolhouse where imported students will raise decibels on the morrow, today as silent as a sunken ship.

The ghosts of neighbors past still sit on stoops and porches, old friends wander by walking dogs, abandoned heart circuses and other poetic mysteries abound on a short walk for the NYT. Let me call you sweetheart, I’m in love with you.

Through the midway of miscreants and muses (and outnumbering them) come early beignet eaters, Baton Rouge beauties, pastel matching parents of bored and unruly offspring, thirty something morning cocktail carriers, bicycle taxis, birthday boys, double parking brunchers, service veterans, baby strollers and assorted retirees. Hunks and chunks. That cute couple from Des Moines holding hands. Mamas and Papas, grandkids and gay pride. Seersuckers, sweatshirts, sweethearts and sunglasses in all shades, shapes and sizes. The American Dream in a backpack passing through; bachelorette bevies; breakfasts delivered; directions given; Midwestern mullets; Manhattan mommies; buzz cut bucks in muscle shirts and some geezer named Phil coming back from getting his Sunday news. Anyone else want to ask me why I live here?

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