I bought a bed.
After spending the month of April sleeping on hostel bunk beds and on a glorified air mattress in the guest room of a semi-retired, semi-crazy woman’s home, I officially moved to a duplex straddling the border line between Treme and MidCity.
Although I am relieved to be splitting a home with another 20-something female who also happens to hail from the Midwest, I am also waking up every morning with a semi-sore back. These pains are largely due to the fact that I am sleeping on a wood floor. Somehow, I’ve managed to feel more homeless than ever despite finding my own space to live in. I met another New Orleanian transplant who suggested that we find a cardboard box to throw down under my sleeping bag in order to provide some cushioned support for my bones (At least, that’s what he did upon first arriving here from Jersey). Instead, I opted to borrow my roommate’s tried and true yoga mat.
On the very first night spent in my empty new bedroom, I laid my head down on five shirts stacked one on top of each other and thought to myself, “Damn, what does this mean?” Meaning, I had a decision to tackle. Do I scout out a cardboard box to sleep on for the next few weeks before flying back to my cozy resting place in St Paul? Or do I buy a bed, stay in New Orleans for a while longer, and skip the third-molar extraction appointment I had scheduled for late May in Minnesota?
Within the past month, I have purchased a return flight home to Minnesota twice and have cancelled the same flight, exactly twice. After spending five nights sleeping on a wooden floor, I used a few eloquent strokes of my fingers and purchased a mattress, frame, and sheet set on Amazon.com. I am now waiting for them to be delivered to my new home in New Orleans.
What can I say? Had you asked me two weeks ago if I pictured myself in this tropical city for an indefinite period of time, I would have replied with a firm, “Nuh-uh.” But the fact is, every day spent here is magical. If you’ve never set foot in this city, that sounds absolutely cliche. But if you’ve journeyed here and:
-Accidentally stumbled upon the Hare Krishna temple on a Sunday night and ate the free Indian food they served in their courtyard while mingling with a strange collection of hippies/hipsters/elders,
-Walked to the local grocery store only to find an entire brass band playing outside the front door with post-jazz fest attendees dancing in the street, one of them who handed you a free can of beer,
-Discovered a floating parade on Bayou St. John where crawdads and beer cans were being distributed between boaters in order to raise money for a sailing cooperative,
-Wondered why homeowners in other cities don’t paint their houses with bright paint color combinations that include aqua, fushia, lime-green, and yellow,
-Concluded that the music here is almost as plentiful as water, so much so, that the trees are practically bursting into song,
-Felt the warm fuzzy feeling of true southern hospitality after being offered an entire house to stay at for free over the weekend by a married couple you met that same night on a restaurant patio,
-Totally saturated the skin on your fingers with crawfish juices while peeling off their tails during a free jazz concert in Armstrong Park/Congo square… Congo square, the historic place where slaves were allowed to gather and play music together on Sundays,
…Then you know exactly why I need to stay in New Orleans for a little bit longer. At least, long enough to make good use out of my new bed.