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Pilgrims Smell Worse, Allen Boudreaux

This has been a long, long, long month for me. It's funny how time flows, where (at least for me) days seem to last forever, but weeks and months seem to fly by at a neck-breaking pace...but not this last month. It was just over a month ago that my parents called at 3am with the news that my grandfather had died on one of his months-long trips to guatemala. He was seventy-nine, single, and emphysematic, but within the last few years had begun going down to a little town in the easten mountains, comforted by a place and a culture that reminded him of his youth in colombia. that and the twenty-something girlfriend he had found there. he had even just started a small business -- a new orleans style sno-ball stand -- down there, and was really enjoying himself. I know this because I went with him for a week in november to see the place. we were close.

We had to fly down there to bring him back, of course, or at least his ashes; my father, mother, sister and myself -- and let me tell you, there's no worse or more stressful reason to take a family vacation, but somehow we managed not to kill each other (which would've only served to compound the problem, right?) and worked our way through that emotional and logistical nightmare. Things weren't much better when we got back, dealing with the memorial service and starting to clean out his house and stuff.

Finally, though, after two weeks of that, things began to settle back into their "life-goes-marching-on" routine; I had two weddings to go to, work was busy, good music was coming to town...and that's when I got dizzy. Literally. Tuesday afternoon about three weeks ago, I was at work and suddenly, vertigo. Not enough to stop me from going about my day, but constant -- and it didn't go away. I eventually went to my internist, who said it was probably stress related (imagine that, given my month), but ordered tests anyway; eventually the dizzyness subsided into a dull ache, for the most part, and even that has begun to fade, but I decided to go on with the tests just to be on the safe side. I just went for a CAT scan this morning before work. I'm sure it's nothing, but if you've ever been dizzy for three weeks...I wouldn't recommend it.

Jazzfest is in full swing here in new orleans this weekend, but -- like Mardi Gras this year -- I'm just not feeling it enough to make the effort to go out there. Without many fest-willing friends around this year, it's easier to ignore the call of the great music in order to avoid the jammy crowds, the wet heat and rich food and racetrack-sweat. I've done it all before, and I'll do it again, but not this year. unless I can score some cheap tickets. hmm...

New Orleans, tourist economy that it is, always has tourists, but Jazzfest always fills the city with pilgrims, which are like tourists but tend to wear less clothing, smell worse, drink more, and have an infinitely greater appreciation for good music. I like them more. unfortunately jazzfest also brings with it buck-moth caterpillars, who colonize every Live Oak and Water Oak in the city by the millions (including and especially the ones outside the front door of my condo complex on St. Charles Avenue), and drop down like a vile, stinging ooze from the moss covered branches. most get trampled underfoot, squirting out ketchup and mustard caterpillar innards that stain the sidewalks and make the whole yearly ordeal that much more repulsive. ugh.

Fortunately, the caterpillars will be gone soon, maybe not before the jazz-pilgrims or my damn headache -- but soon -- and life will really start to get back to normal.

if there is such a thing.


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