Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Callin' Baton Rouge


Now that I've got your attention, welcome to the first October edition of "A Day With J".

Your Friend and Humble Narrator (that's me) has been seeing quite a bit of the world lately, scuttling back and forth between Biloxi, Jackson, New Orleans, and more recently, Baton Rouge. The beauty part of Hurricane Katrina, you see, is that I currently find myself miraculously free from the obligations of work, rent, and the everyday rat race. You know that Coke commercial where everyone goes nuts to the tune of "I Want to Break Free"? Yeah, that's me. I'm what Jack Kerouac would have been if he'd known how to type.

At present I'm back in Biloxi, recovering from a very blurry weekend spent in Baton Rouge (that's "red stick" for anyone who doesn't speak French.) Acting totally out of character, I popped in on all my old co-workers from Chaffe-McCall to see how they were adjusting to the move and finding out how they made it through the storm. For the most part, everyone seemed to be in good spirits despite the extensive loss of property (though of course there are grumblings among the top attorneys about having to share their offices.) We all had lunch at Superior Grill, which was a nice way to get everyone in one place. It felt just like Mondays in the old board room. (BTW, everyone agreed that my weight loss and facial hair really give me that "I've been through a lot" look I've been trying for.)

The Fine Art of Dehydration

Friday, it's worth mentioning, was my friend Jesse Matherne's last day at Chaffe-McCall. (He was the real reason everyone was having lunch at Superior Grill.) So, Friday night a group of us Chaffers and former Chaffers - Jesse, Jen, Tim, and myself - all hit the streets of Baton Rouge with Jesse's friends Michael and Hillary (easily the most disgustingly cute couple this side of Stefan and Sara) to send him off in style.

Our festivities kicked off at the Bennigan's Happy Hour, where I downed a Black Velvet (Guinness mixed with Woodchuck) to get me in the mood for the Triple A Comedy Club where we went to see some kind of comedic hypnotist routine. The hypnotist said he needed 12 volunteers from the audience, so naturally Jen and I, fulfilling our obligations as the loud-extroverted-Geminis in our crowd, took off running for the stage. (Jen managed to get a spot, but I gave my seat away to a girl so the Panel of the Hypnotized would be more diverse.) Anyway, the show started off with the hypnotist asking the volunteers to breathe deep and exhale, which Jen for some reason (i.e. because she was working on a buzz) thought was really funny. She started laughing hysterically, threw the whole routine off, and was asked to leave the stage. CHAFFE REPRESENT! The remainder of the show was okay, I guess. But, skepticism and boredom go hand-in-hand. After a while we kinda got the feeling that everyone onstage was just performing for their friends in the audience. ZZZZZZ

Two shots of Jager later, we were off to a bar called (if I'm not mistaken) the Varsity, where I had a crawfish po-boy and a St.Pauli Girl (dark). We must have been having a good time at that point, because Tim and I had a great laugh about how homo-erotic the bar's mural painting was. (It was a football scene designed to look like one of those paintings of warring Romans or Trojans... and boy, did those football warriors find some interesting stances to get into.) Plus, when I turned to go to the bathroom, Jen used it as an opportunity to yell, "That's right!Walk away. Just get the h*ll away from me, you m*therf***er!!" really loud. *sigh* It felt like a combination of my attention-whoring theater days from high school and my early days at Ole Miss - those golden days when Nat would tell frat boys what a huge N'Sync fan he was while I drunkenly assured one redneck after another that "the difference between you and me is that I'm not from MAMPHIS, TANNESSEE." (Let the record show, however, that I never met a girl at Ole Miss - with the possible exception of Wendy Bell - who could rattle off F-bombs with quite the same ease and conviction that Jen manages.)

We had our night-cap back at Michael's place where we put together a nice big slumber party/bad movie marathon. Well, it wasn't really a "marathon"...we watched Van Helsing while repeatedly asking each other, "Why are we watching this?" Then it was MAD TV until everything got really really blurry...

A Win-Win Situation

As time goes on, it seems more and more like I'll probably end up going back to New Orleans at least through January and then moving on over to Baton Rouge to attend LSU (my final middle finger to Ole Miss). So, I had no qualms about waking up on Saturday to go and watch the LSU/Mississippi State game at some sports bar whose name escapes me. Not surprisingly, LSU stomped a mudhole in Mississippi State, which is always fun to watch.

I left at halftime so I could get back to Biloxi and take care of a few things. But, on the way there, I realized, Hey, while I'm this close I may as well go see about the apartment. So, I drove on out to River Ridge, where, much to my surprise, I discovered the place exactly as we'd left it. I'll tell you how good it looked...I'd left some wet towels on the floor when I left and even THOSE hadn't started to mildew. No leaks. No broken windows. No flooding. Nothing. It's like we never even left. And it's all thanks to God, our location above sea level, and Mac's insistence that we take a 3rd story apartment so we could have those (to use my phrase) "motherf***ing sky-lights". :)

So, LSU wins and the apartment's okay...I'd say that's a win-win situation.

Shades of George Michael

As I shoved off for B-Town I found myself using the restroom at some shopping complex, minding my own business the way guys are supposed to when using public restrooms. (Guys have an unspoken rule about not talking in the men's room...At best, you might get a nod of acknowledgement.) So you can imagine my surprise as I'm standing there relieving myself and suddenly some guy to my left says, "Oh, that's great! They've got one that's really low to the ground. That's perfect for you." Behold, the bi-fold mental process: On one hand, I'm thinking this guy is giving me a sort of weird compliment. You think I've got one that drags the ground? Hey, thanks man! What a nice thing to say. But, on the other hand, the fact remains that a random stranger is talking to me in a public men's room...Isn't this the way gay men used to signal each other before everything was so out in the open? Isn't this what George Michael got busted for?...Or, a more important question...is this guy going to try and touch me or something?

I held it all together, not saying anything while quickly finishing what I'm come to do. In my mind I started going over all the gay lingo I learned while working at Hollywood Theater, so I could let him know (a) that I wouldn't hold it against him, but (b) I wasn't going to be his catcher either. Gameplan intact, I backed away from the urinal and started zipping up and heading out... and that's when I realized that he had his little boy with him - no more than 3 or 4. Now that's a drastic change of pace, huh? In a split second this guy went from homosexual solicitor to concerned suburban parent. I'm sure he could never have guessed why I was laughing as I left the restroom (after washing my hands of course.)

And Now It's Time for Fun With Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Upon my eventual return to Biloxi (this was sometime Sunday) my dad immediately started finding stuff for me to do. Most recently, he's had me going around the house with a hammer and crowbar, taking up all the wood paneling that used to hold our carpet in place. Now, my dad - for those of you who aren't in the know - has what I'm convinced is a mid-grade form of O.C.D. (obsessive-compulsive disorder), which means he not only ENJOYS repeatedly cleaning the house, he also likes to describe it as it's happening. Over and over and over he'll say things like, "Boy, this vacuum cleaner gets in there and gets the job done, doesn't it?" and "We'll sweep first to get the heavy stuff and then we'll vacuum over what's left."

When I was younger, my friends used to compliment the fact that our house here in Biloxi is always clean. In fact, just last Tuesday when Giuliano was here, he actually laughed a little as he said, "I guess this shouldn't surprise me, but even though the carpet is gone and stuff's out of place, it still looks clean in here." Yes, Giuliano, a clean house is one of the many benefits a family can expect to receive when they have their very own at-home Howard Hughes. Say it with me, everyone... Come in with the milk. Come in with the milk. Come in with the milk. Come in with the milk. Come in with the milk. Come in with the milk. Come in with the milk...

Back to cleaning now. I hope everyone is well.

3 Comments:

Blogger reddoorjen said...

Yes, J, being able to speak well is just one of my many talents. I would love to share the art of effective and dramatic profanity usage with you, but you can't f*cking handle it you f*cking sh*t!

And you know that hypnotist looked like a queer exercise instructor with all his breathing crap. That shit is funny even if you aren't loaded yet. ;)

9:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

J,

Please don't chug any beer containing Guiness .... it's a quality beer. If you want to chug somegthing, then drink one of the mass produced turds, e.g., bud light. Also, I hope you become a Tiger buddy .... that would be awesome!

Mike Johnson

12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad to see you're alive...and well. Saw your dad on TV. Thought of you and it made me smile.

We're alive...and we've lost it all. Living in a FEMA trailer in Alabama. Da Parish is gone, dawlin'. And the people in 'Bama really get a kick out of my accent.

Miss home terribly. Homeschooling the kids. Larry is working in da Parish. Took leave from Freeman.

All is holding together. Really hate girls named Katrina.

Brandalyn
aka "B"

9:48 PM  

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