Oh, this city. This city, this city, this city. 

My family went to a New Year’s Eve party and watched the fireworks in all of their glory over the river. 

My daughter gazed up at the sky and gaped with delight. My husband kissed me. Everyone else around me oohed and ahhed.

“You know what would be prettier than these fireworks?” I asked rhetorically, draining my flute of champagne. “My recycling and trash getting picked up.”

I didn’t add, but could have: “Or not being in a borderline state of panic every time I leave the house after a certain hour. Or not getting a flat tire every other month from potholes. Or having any sort of basic infrastructure.”

I don’t like being this grumpy and negative. Although I’m a cautious person by nature and tend toward pessimism as a rule, I don’t actually hate everything. I would love to be able to squeeze my daughter’s hand and kiss my husband back and share everyone’s sense of wonder. But sadly, sometimes I think this city has broken me. 

“We are moving!” I tell my husband almost weekly after we get a $500 Entergy bill or I scrape up the bottom of my car navigating a street that is perpetually under construction or am late to work because of broken traffic lights. “I can’t do this anymore.”

This encompasses any number of dysfunctional quirks that New Orleans has that I found charming in my teens and 20s and early 30s. But now I’m in my 40s, aka my Curmudgeon Phase, where I want to tell kids to get off my lawn but even more than that, I want all of the trash and recycling that has accumulated over the past few weeks off of my lawn.

Ugh. 

But then. 

On Friday, while I was stuck at work, a friend I’ve known since third grade dropped a piece of delicious chocolate-swirled king cake off at work for me after I lamented that it was Epiphany and yet there was no king cake in my office break room. 

“Thank you!” I texted him.

“It’s a high holy day for all true New Orleanians,” he replied. “I can’t have you in a king cake desert.”

Then that night, another dear friend of more than 15 years took Georgia to the Krewe of Joan of Arc parade so that my husband and I could celebrate our anniversary.

On our way home, after a wonderful meal, we caught beads from Phunny Phorty Phellows while stopped at a (functioning!) traffic light.

I went to bed that night happy – maybe not happy with the city, but happy with its inhabitants, its traditions, its food. 

I guess I’m not moving after all. 

Oh, this city. This city, this city, this city.