New Orleans: A Dream Guy ... With Baggage
Living in New Orleans is like dating a really dreamy hot guy.
New Orleans (the really dreamy hot guy) is of course very good looking (natch), mysterious and "deep"... probably well traveled -- maybe he's a musician or an artist. But once you scratch the surface, you realize that he also might have a little drug habit, isn't exactly emotionally available, is always broke ... and generally drives you nuts.**
But he's gorgeous, keeps you on your toes and makes you laugh ... so you love him with total abandon, focus on the "pluses," and tuck all those little "minuses" away. After all, everyone (and every place) has their little minuses ... right?
In New Orleans, you fall in love with the beautiful architecture. The picturesque streetcars. The huge trees draping over the avenues. But you soon realize that they never learned how to pave streets properly ... or that they really just don't care. You soon discover that car insurance is twice what it was up north (for liability when you're used to having full coverage) and that you should definitely learn how to change a tire.
You fall in love with the mystery, the lore, the rich history... but then you make the mistake of watching the local news and it scares you more than that one time you watched Poltergeist and couldn't sleep for a week.
You fall in love with the food -- the authenticity of the rich local cuisine. You discover satsumas, relish in crawfish season and get goosebumps taking your first bite of a roast beef poor boy ... but then you gain 10 pounds, your insides churning with the muck left over from dark roux, cream sauces and fried meat. (You keep meaning to go back to yoga.)
You fall in love with being able to walk down the street with a Bloody Mary in your hand, soaking up a gorgeous weekend ... but then you wander into the Quarter to see tourists wobbling all over the place, puking up their lungs in the street.
You start thinking of "back home," which is like that guy that looks good on paper. He's college educated. Probably an office drone, does TPS reports. Maybe he drives a Honda ... doesn't go out much. Stays in and watches Law & Order re-runs. Folds his underwear. And generally bores the stuffing out of you ... but you never have to worry about him showing up high while out to dinner with your parents. Or him sleeping in until 3 p.m. on Saturday when ya'll were supposed to go shopping for new curtains.
You might start thinking ... I miss home. I miss the impeccably smooth streets, the ample parking, the smokeless bars, proper vegetarian options at restaurants, the ability to get through a grocery line in five minutes, driving on roads where people tend to obey traffic laws, Big Ten football, snow at Christmas...
But then New Orleans gives you that look (like dreamy men tend to do) and you hear the muffled sound of jazz music while walking down the historic streets, fragrant with tropical flowers. You see the beautiful shotgun houses and wrought-iron terraces and know that you'll never get this in a human ant farm suburban complex. You know that you are in love. Entranced. You can't get this kind of bliss anywhere else. The grass actually is greener in your beautiful little neighborhood ... The arrow is still stuck deep inside your heart. Who else can say that she is in love with her city?
You know that with a little patience, and a focus on the good things ... you can make this relationship work.
And you take your hot, dreamy guy by the hand and relish being in love.
And you never watch the local news again.
**Disclaimer: I am not talking about my actual boyfriend here, but an "archetypal" one. My actual BF is both handsome and emotionally available ... and his only addiction is to his fantasy football line-up. ;-)
Annie Drummond is a production designer at Renaissance Publishing. She is an artist/graphic designer extraordinaire by day and food lover/blogger by night. Read more of her musings on life, love, New Orleans, food, art and more at www.anniedeladolce.com.