Gone Fishin’ September 17, 2011Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
Tags: Everette Maddox, \
“My husband’s a lazy and shiftless Southerner,” she said once, telling me the annecdote because she thouht it funny. She says she meant it in jest but all those earnest North Dakotan women took it seriously, cooing poor dear over their glasses of apres-training wine. I always wondered if if was one of those moments of unintended truth drinks after a long day of work-related drudgery can bring out, the sort I spent the last long week guarding against.
Lazy and shiftless. I had planned to sleep until noon to make up for too little sleep all week, the rigors of travel and the evenings of drinks, dinner and then more drinks I only managed to escape one evening out of six. Perhaps I could if I get up and hang the room darkening paper curtains I bought for the front (although my son has no problem sleeping until noon in a room flooded with sunlight through the cheap, unfitted venetian blinds.)
And there’s the laundry I left behind, plus two hotel laundry bags more. And the promised trip to take my daughter bicycle shopping. I need to do a final ruler proof of my chapbook, pick up my sample paper and start printing. And then there is the Wikipedia entry for Everette Maddox, all those books I carted off to Richmond but found no time for until last night’s flight.
Which is how I come to be sitting in bed sipping coffee and typing this instead of rolling over to try to banish the exhaustion of a long week. Things to do, people to see, and the Saint’s home opener is Sunday. Forget that fist of whiskey I poured when I finally got home last night, hopping for the sleep of that can tolerate a sidewalk for a bed, and which I did not finish before 1:30 this morning,
There are days when I think I need the equivalent of a gastric bypass for my enthusiasms, combined with careful adjustments to lifestyle: a reduction in my daily intake of work for people who are letting me go in just over than a month, and a daily program of vigorously exercising better judgement in what I take on. Yes, by god, Everette Maddox should have a Wikipedia page but what possessed me at this particular moment in my life to start it requires not an explanation but a diagnosis and program of treatment.
Yes, Maddox needs that page and if no one else has done it in a decade well, there’s me. He certainly deserves it, among other honors fitting to a poet of some note (and notoriety). I think if I win the lottery I will establish one of those specialized bequests in his name, of the sort I often used at U.N.O. that allowed a sort of payday loan against next month’s student worker check. Mine I think would be a bar tab somewhere (although they have torn down all the bars around U.N.O., and what the hell kind of university can’t manage a strip of conveniently located bars?), granted on merit to a creative writing student by a panel of judges randomly selected from the afternoon crowd at the Maple Leaf.
I think Maddox should also have a library christened in his honor, since we are finally (half a decade later) getting around to replacing flood-damanged luxuries like libraries. And schools. And fire stations. We are an industrious and thrifty people down here for certain in spite of what those North Dakotan social workers thought. Out front there should be a commissioned bronze sculpture showing Maddox sleeping on a bench in the back of the Maple Leaf, a tribute to a man who looked bourgeois conventionality straight in the eye, and asked if it could stand him a drink.
I think I’ll leave the paper blinds in their boxes for now, the laundry scattered on the floor with the books, and spend the rest of the morning planning my first month of unemployment. First, flag all email notices from Linked-In, Monster and Dice as spam. Rise up promptly at noon and make coffee, and after a reasonable interval dress and take the bus to the Napoleon House. Have breakfast of some sort from their lunch menu and a drink, and commence a poem or some other writing work. Read for a while to the scratchy classical LPs if nothing comes. When I feel worked out, wander down Chartres and stop in the used bookstore with a couple of cups of coffee for an extended conversation with Micheal about literature.
One the sun has crossed the yardarm fortify myself at the Chart House for the streetcar ride Uptown and find an amenable and quiet workplace with cheap PBR and an atomic jukebox. Resume writing, or just sit there and chat up the bartender, reading a bit when she gets busy. Flirt until you convince her that any decent establishment would have Louis Armstrong and Bing Crosby’s 1951 pop hit Gone Fishin‘ on the box. Leave before the band starts to avoid the cover charge and plop down on a bench outside to listen. Make a point, out of decency, to arrive home before moon-set.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat. At least until the shampoo runs out.