More OR Less

09:45 December 06, 2018
By: Phil LaMancusa

Hey, hey, hey! Welcome to the December issue of Where Y’at, which, as you know, will encompass Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanza, and Festivus for the Rest of Us (I think I might have not made that up). I’m partial to the fat man coming down the chimney, and this year, we gonna have a talk. If it takes a bottle of tequila, some of Holly’s tamales, and even some Peruvian Marching Powder, we have to get this year’s gift straight. I want my illusion back. Right now, I’m so disillusioned with New Orleans that I could kick sand. I’m tired of pretending that we have sweet, pretty party people, instead of seeing that in actuality, they are wet-brained functioning alcoholics who live in their own subjective reality. Don’t stop me now.

I am weary of seeing the “homeless” fly cardboard at most intersections, telling me that “Anything helps/God bless,” as if my donation to their existence comes with a benediction, of watching the same scammers fleece a new crop of tourists, the same scam artists whom I’ve seen ply that trade for 15 years with impunity. I am weary of the second line that passes, weaving music and frivolity on their way and leaving a trail of littered bottles, wrappers, and plastic cups enough to choke an elephant. 

It’s all fun and games until it’s your bike that gets stolen, your car that gets broken into, or you’re the one face-down on the pavement being mugged; wouldn’t that tend to take the sheen off your brogans? It’s done that to me, and if it takes Santa to bring back the love, so be it. 

Yes, if you were passing on the 900 block of Dumaine Street at 2:00 in the afternoon last Sunday, that was me yelling for help as some stranger on a bicycle tried to part me from my hard-earned; that was me waiting for the police who didn’t come; that was me the next day getting a CT scan of my head and X-rays of my foot and ribs. Just some guy on a bike who believed that what I had should be his and decided to take it. Where did he come from and what created that thought process in the year 2018 in a “great American city”? You tell me.

It does not fail to flummox me that I witness sexism, ageism, racism, and speciesism coming from all hues of complexion. Pick a color, pick an ethnicity or social strata, and sure enough, you’ll find an exclusiveness in their attitude and make-up that just doesn’t like, trust, respect, or downright give a shyte about anyone who is not just the same as they are. Covertly AND overtly. And I’m not against looking at that man in the mirror to see if I’m not resembling that remark myself. And don’t get me started on inconsideration.

Vehicles that weave in and out of traffic, ignoring safety and turn signals, now royally piss me off. People who leave dirty diapers as they drive away from city parking spots madden me. I’m getting incensed when someone loads up their groceries and leaves the shopping cart in the middle of the parking lot. How about making groceries, and the checkout clerk wants to put your purchases in 15 additional plastic, ocean-clogging, wildlife-strangling bags? You’re killing me here.

My neighbor wants to use RoundUp on his weeds, the guy across the street is scraping lead paint from his shutters into the street, the worker down the block is cleaning his paintbrushes into the storm drain, and the kids walking home from school are throwing candy wrappers and drink cups like they’re Mardi Gras float throws. My ex-landlord decries the outlawing of DDT to kill termites. Somebody is spraying my Cheerios with cancer-causing chemicals, and that hippy-dippy grocery chain has been taken over by Amazonians. Can I get a witness? I’m supremely disillusioned when I realize that this is a microcosm of the city, state, country, and world that we live in. Please, somebody, give me back my grace; and while you’re at it, where is my Sewerage and Water bill—eight months now and NO bill?  

There are too many good people here to put up with that pre-Katrina nonsense; do we not know what year it is? Wasn’t there some rumor way back that this was the dawning of the Age of Aquarius? No, this is the age of poverty, substandard education, and a lapse of any moral compass in our elected leaders. Mass shootings. Global warming. Poison in our drinking water.

I hate it when anyone says “affordable” anything. Affordable housing means subsidized rent. Affordable healthcare means the government is paying for it. Affordable groceries means reading the sale fliers and shopping at five different stores, varying your eating habits to whatever is on sale that week. Prices go up, wages stagnate, and the powers that be tell us that the economy is booming—for whom?

On a personal level, the City that Care Forgot is the city that forgot to care—unable to raise the minimum wage and, BTW, when you do see wages go up, it’s a sure sign that hours are being cut. Do you find it amusing that most family providers have to work more than one job, that there are no longer any stay-at-home moms, and Louisiana leads other states in obesity, teen pregnancy, and infant mortality? Approximately 88,000 city-service workers means that we’re sending our kids out, ignorant, to become dishwashers, porters, and garbage collectors: great, legitimate employment for sure, but with what future? Have you considered renters’ rights or rent control? Don’t. There is no such animal.

Man, I can’t wait to catch that red-suited, bearded, “Ho Ho Ho”-yelling jerk and have him dig deep in his bag. He ain’t leaving without me getting my mojo back. Happy Holidays.

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