Let’s start this off with one of my biggest pet peeves, the obligatory preamble to bitching that everyone down here has to do now. You can’t complain about anything without first giving the “I know a lot of people have it worse off than me, but…” qualifier. Except for the times when I deal with strangers who live in other parts of the world, I am now dropping this from all future conversations.
I have set up a permanent temporary residence. That’s a new, but appropriate, phrase I am working into the lexicon. My home is still uninhabitable despite the fact that it has running water, electricity and phone service (don’t ask me). I have bounced around to a few places since my return. I bailed on that living at work thing after a couple of days. Nothing to break up those 20 hour work days like three hours of sleep.
My work days are much shorter now because the city has decided to enforce the curfew. No more late night revelry. Everyone in their homes (or what serves as a home) from midnight until 6 AM. It is freaky dealing with an 11:00 last call anywhere, much less New Orleans.
It is still very inconvenient to live here. More and more businesses are opening everyday, and those are happy little moments. Finding somewhere to eat, drink and/or buy essential needs puts a spring in my step. While everyone makes it a point to thank the military, law enforcement and firemen who are down here helping to protec and rebuild the city (as do I), I also make it a point to thank the cashiers, bag boys and stock clerks for allowing me to pick up a Mountain Dew, a bag of Munchos and a Nutty Bar. I bought a minifridge today (a thank you to my permanent temporary roommate), so I will be no longer making my daily ice runs. I was sort of enjoying the hunter-gatherer aspects of my life.
The past two nights me and my “roomy” have sat on her balcony and watched a strange new world unfold before our eyes. We would watch the Hummers loaded down with troops roll by. Then watch the police cars (all with sirens flashing) roll by. We even saw a foot patrol. A team of soldiers flanking both sides of the street with M-16s drawn. There almost no civilians on the street. After a while we were even able to start identifying the undercover vehicles. Eventually, we got their patterns and timing down to the point we knew who was coming when and from what direction.
While I was typing that last paragraph, some type of armored vehicle came to a complete stop in front of the house. There was a soldier on the top with a VERY large weapon. He was also wearing a helmet. They are in fucking combat gear. The man on the top made some radio communication to someone then they pulled into the driveway and sat for approximately 45 seconds. I was a tad freaked. I know I’m doing nothing wrong, but this whole martial law thing is tricky. These men can basically shoot me for any reason. They can comendere my home or my vehicle (I wonder if my insurance policy covers that).
OK, this entry just got a lot shorter. They are back again and sitting across the street. I’m going inside for a while. More from the frontlines later.
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