Solid Quarter

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Monday, August 10, 2020

Have you ever seen what water can erase?

Day 10:

Activate Survival Instinct:
make believe and beliefs are the same, a desire for things to remain the same
do you believe you have to carry this forever?

once upon a time i was spooling out a story i’ve held threaded inside my cells for fifteen years. come closer…


Process Notes: 


Seabrook Bridge that connects New Orleans East to New Orleans, taken through the damaged window of my brother's car

The Seabrook Bridge (officially the Senator Ted Hickey Bridge) is a medium-rise twin bascule, four-lane roadway bridge in New Orleans, Louisiana, carrying Lakeshore Drive, connecting Leon C. Simon Drive on the upper side of the bridge with Hayne Boulevard on the lower side. The bridge is operated by the Orleans Levee District. It normally stays in the down position for vehicular traffic, but provides sufficient clearance for most marine traffic.
Source: Wikipedia 

My brother was eight years younger than me. He suicided right before his 29th birthday. I doubt he had many memories of New Orleans east. I remember driving over the Seabrook bridge almost every day of my childhood. I used to dream the drawbridge would open up beneath us, and we would tumble in or sometimes the bridge was an extraordinary height and the car would have to nose dive down the other side. I can't remember in the dreams if I was leaving or returning home, or which side of New Orleans is even home anymore. Bridges connect and divide, like language, and that is why I cannot escape them. 

I've been driving my brother's car since he died. Six years now.

It has a problem with volume. It has glass that won't stay in place. The smear on the passenger side window is from when my brother got his tint too dark and then he couldn't get a brake tag. My mom helped him peel it off with a razor blade. How do you get rid of memory. How do you remove these reminders from your every day view and then walk around being what. 

I would have to confess to you that inside the disaster of Katrina was the opportunity I had to live with my mom and my brother again when we evacuated. I would have to confess, who ever gets a second chance at childhood. It must be all miracles because there is no way I can tell you what is and isn't. There is no way I can ever say what should or should not be. I know it takes a long time to see truth. It took 9 years for this to be true, and took another 3 years for it to surface. Gratitude is where grief intersects with time. Live long enough and it will all come down to what we took for granted in the moment. Take nothing for granted and it will all come down to time.

12 years from now, what will you hold from the pandemic and say, thank you   how will you break down on the bathroom floor sobbing, oh my god, oh my god what i wouldn't give to go back....

Mark me here: You do not get to return to disasters. 

"...brain wave patterns could explain why so many traumatized people have trouble learning from experience and fully engaging in their daily lives. Their brains are not organized to pay careful attention to what is going on in the present moment." 
-The Body Keeps the Score

Notes from the Fold: 

(Written in 2006 in New Orleans)

Suggested Ways of Living In New Orleans:

1. Medicate (i.e. Prozac, Zoloft, Xyprexa, Trazadone, Wellbutrin, Valium, Xanax).
2. Medicate (i.e. alcohol, weed, coke, ecstasy, mushrooms, acid, or various pill combinations crushed with a quarter and snorted with a dollar bill).
3. Sleep, or at least lie in bed with a pillow over your head. It’s okay, new polls show 1 in 3 New Orleanians cannot fall asleep. At least you’re not alone.
4. Distract, by any means necessary (see numbers 1 and 2).
5. Exercise: heavy lifting, carpentry and painting count.
6. Go about as though debris and half gutted homes were the norm.
7. Cut pictures of politicians out and throw darts or do other disgraceful things to them.
8. Take a vacation, preferably to another country.
9. Read letters from loved ones, if all your personal belongings and loved ones were lost in the storm, read your FEMA disaster recovery fact sheet, then apply for a SBA loan and the Road Home Program. This will be long and tedious, certainly keeping you distracted for some time. When finished immediately go back to steps 1 and 2.
10. Go to the hospital (see number 8) in another state where they actually have operating hospitals, just to see how the rest of the world lives.
11. Write your congressmen, your representative, your insurance company, the Corps, etc…..see step 9.
12. Rest, sit and think. Nothing’s happening fast, so there’s nothing you’re gonna miss.
13. Listen to sad music, When the levees break, Zeppelin cover.
14. Listen to happy music, Greenday and U2’s The Saints are Coming.
15. Get angry.
16. Do something nice for someone else like coming to a full stop at the intersection with no working lights or letting your neighbor borrow your utility pole for some juice for their microwave oven.
17. Eat ice cream, candy, cookies, cake, or brown sugar out of the box
18. Go to the shopping mall where you can see a miniature display of New Orleans in ruins. Never mind, scratch that one. Stay home and knit.
19. Watch TV or play video games (see number 4).
20. Cry, if this is difficult for you, just watch the evening news or pick up a copy of the latest USA today.
21. Talk on the phone if you can, about things not New Orleans related, To achieve this, stop talking to anyone from outside New Orleans.
22. Go to therapy if you can get an appointment at one of the two working hospitals or three private practice doctors left.
23. Meditate.
24. Talk to your partner.
25. Don’t talk to your partner, at all. Just be glad your partner hasn’t cut you up and left you on the stove.
26. Have sex, but under no circumstances are you to conceive and bring more people into the misery.
27. Drink tea, preferably in London.
28. Take a bath, that is if your gas has been turned on.
29. Watch a sad movie (see number 20) When the Levees Broke by Spike Lee.
30. Watch a happy movie (see number 15) The Death of a President by Newsmarket Films.
31. Lie on the floor (try the bathroom, that always seems to work) unless the bathroom still doesn’t have a floor, then try balancing across the cross beams while enjoying the underbelly view of your former home.
32. Take a drive with no destination, preferably off a long bridge.

The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University and the University of New Orleans organized the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank (HDMB) in 2005 in partnership with many national and Gulf Coast area organizations and individuals.

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