Sunday, May 09, 2010

Post-Diluvian Follies: Home, Comparatively Sweet Smelling Home

Several days after my arrival, portions of the city—dictated by zip code—were officially reopened to residents. Every day the city got a little fuller, the streets more crowded. Little slivers of life emerged. A nearby drugstore reopened (meaning I didn’t have to leave the parish to buy deodorant, a non-trivial leap forward) staffed entirely by haggard-looking managers (again: no population, no employees). The newly returning residents began the long task of picking up the pieces, reassembling a functioning city.*

Two days after I set up residence in their empty house, Fay, Jeff, and the children** returned from their far suburban exile. Suddenly, it was something like a regular family household—a teeny island of normalishness in a big sea of odd. Sebastian started school in the unflooded suburbs. Fay, an excellent cook, returned to her kitchen with a fervor fueled by long absence.

My dinners of MREs or solitary bar food were supplanted by spaghetti and meatballs made from scratch served with wine and eaten at a table surrounded by friends and children, warmth and conversation instead of muted TVs and the overheard chatter of drunks. The change was marvelous and made the crappiness of my days almost tolerable.

* Though it was often a cobbled together, improvised approximation of a functioning city. Somebody discovered that the shuttered coffee shop on the corner still broadcast wi-fi. Where, in happier times, tables full of latte-sippers might have surfed the web, now a lone laptop-wielder sat on the barren sidewalk getting his vital information fix.

** The city was slowly re-filling, but children were still an extreme rarity.

No comments:

Post a Comment