Sunday, June 18, 2006


My dad’s birthday was yesterday, the day before Father’s Day, so I drove home yesterday afternoon to hang out with my parents. Going home is just not what it used to be.

My sister and I met our parents at their favorite bar, a little hole in the wall called The Kingfish. To begin to describe the weirdness, every conversation, every activity, every location in that town is pervaded by a constant hum of Katrina. At Kingfish, the water line is marked on the wall, just below the top of the bar, with “Katrina Blows” scrawled in black ink. Most of the talk centers around rebuilding, and jokes about living in FEMA trailers and other newly acquired facts of life are commonplace. What used to be normal no longer is, what used to be a nightmare has now become daily life. If you’re feeling sadistic, or just curious, I stumbled across a blog that details the damage and recovery efforts in Slidell in particular, and one of my cousins has an album on flikr with several photos of my grandparents’ house. It’s depressing as shit.

But I digress, the experience of home is multifaceted. Suddenly I’m old enough to be drinking in a bar with my parents, their friends telling me horrible dirty jokes about transvestites and naked men in refrigerators. I’m hearing all about peoples’ kids whom I used to babysit, who are totally teenagers now, which weirds me out to no end. Home never fails to make me feel old.

We left the bar and went to a restaurant with some of the best boiled seafood I’ve ever had. It occurred to me, in the bathroom of all places, that I have been coming to this restaurant with my parents for as long as I can remember. And hurricane or no hurricane, it hasn’t changed a bit. But here I am, home from college, drinking a beer and smoking a cigarette. I can remember being in this exact same room dozens of times throughout my life. And, drunk on light beer, my internal dialogue begins to speculate philosophically about change and growth and my need for anchors of the past.

And oh man, I got to eat gumbo and boiled crawfish and dungeness crabs like you just can’t get in Baton Rouge unless you wanna drive out to the boonies. And today, I actually went over to my grandparents’ old house, for only the third time in more than a year, to see the progress my parents had made on it (it had several feet of water). I usually avoid going over there at all costs, because it depresses me, but it’s really starting to look great. I think my grandma would have loved it.

We ate Popeye’s for lunch, and I got in my car, and drove home. Home to Baton Rouge. Because that’s where I live now, and that’s what normal is for me now. And that, in itself, is a little abnormal.

1 Old Comments:

boy do i know that feeling. it's so strange to go back to where i grew up and have other people refer to it as my home, even though i've been gone for years now. almost like i've literally been caught in a wrinkle in time.

By Blogger copasetic fish, at Mon Jun 19, 09:42:00 AM CDT