Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Prytania Registry, Part 2

Amidst the melee of sleep deprivation and getting to New Orleans, it almost completely evaded me that my aunt from Detroit, my aunt from California, and my cousin from Detroit are visiting as well- All to celebrate my father’s 70th birthday with the added event of Father’s Day. My cousin implored- eh, that’s not the right word- my cousin directed me to host my aunts as they arrived the same day as I. I somewhat understood what he was telling me, but I don’t believe I’d ever done this “hosting” thing before with family. Usually my mother put on Thanksgiving, my Uncle Chuck set up our schedule when we got to California, or my father navigated us through Detroit when we arrived. This- I had little understanding of exactly what I was supposed to do.

Two voicemails and several texts buzzed the moment I landed. A piece of my brain awoke, “Sweet Jesuits, Toussaint. Get the rest of your ass into gear. You’re the one who suggested the father’s side of your family be out here. Act accordingly, my man!” And so, I acquiesced accordingly.

The messages were to meet with my Aunt BB at baggage claim. This was what my cousin was referring to. Host, direct, entertain, something.

Rushing from the terminal to a baggage claim stretching a football field in length, I called Aunt BB. “I’m here” she said. I wanted to shout “WHERE?”, but as one does not simply enter Mordor, one does not simply knee-jerk question Aunt BB’s statement. “Ok” I replied. Power walking the length of baggage claim thrice, I couldn’t find her. Nice, my first duty of hosting and I’m producing an fng  F minus.

Finally, entering a hall unbeknownst to my initial entry, I fly thru it to find Aunt BB on the phone. The moments where I have the good fortune of encountering my Aunt BB are all-together too infrequent. Every family has a rock- a pillar- a monolith to bridge the gap of communication, potential emotional collapse, and little reassurance families move without. Aunt BB is nothing short of that. Like my grandmother, you can learn a thing or two about a thing or two simply by observing Aunt BB in discussion. Her social pacing is timed to that of a veteran social worker- she sees the matrix.

Greeting her soon as her conversation wrapped, we hug and get straight to it- how are we getting Aunt BB to her hotel?

Shit, I just landed here, and not only am I aloof on what I’m doing in regards of entertaining family, I’m seemingly of no help.

I sweat it for a second and then jump to asking the information desk the easiest way to get to the hotel. A clerk directs us to a strip of concrete where the hotel bus will pick us up for free and take us to the hotel. Easy.

Exiting the baggage claim, the New Orleans humidity muffs me so surprisingly hard in the face, that I think I winced or murmured some guttural “Ehhhhh” under my breath. Sweet mother of mercy, I haven’t felt high temps like this in a damn long time. Aunt BB cuts through it like the heat shouldn’t have stepped to her in the first place. Not wanting to look like I couldn’t keep up with her, I muster forward to the concrete strip. Alas, we are picked up and dropped off to the hotel. We bid adieu until dinner later that night, and I exit the hotel to New Orleans… by myself. And here the adventure begins, in the suburban swelter of Kenner, LA… just me, my bags, and bus fare for the ride to the Crescent City. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Prytania Registry, Part 1

I had slept 20 minutes and awoken from some strange lucid dream, as one does when only having rest for 20 minutes. The alarm hadn’t gone off yet, so I assumed it was near time for my departure. I rested for what dreamt like hours. When I had awoken again, I’d felt the static shake in my muscles from believing they were experiencing something. My body was trying to trick itself into sleeping, but my brain knew better and kept waking me back to consciousness. It set my body into a rattle of shitty unrest and thick distrust of my brain now that it had completely lied to the rest of my body several times in the past hour of unrest.

Arriving to the airport, I make my first stop at McDonald’s. I don’t eat McDonald’s, I don’t pursue soda, and I for damn sure do not order my Chipotle burritos with sour cream- However, when at the airport, I always make a point of it to reward myself with McDonald’s breakfast (#2 meal) for making it to the airport without fail. The meal is delicious- more than I anticipated. More than the last time I was at the airport. I am alone.

The last time I was here, I was with a significant other, and a different significant other the time before that. Perhaps the discourse between my brain and body kept it from surfacing, but I’ve just realized I’m alone on my first trip to New Orleans to meet my father. For a moment, my legs find rest, my right shoulder isn’t nagging, and my backpack looks like a bag of adventurous holding instead of a ball & chain. 

Dear lord, this is happening. The greatest city on the planet, and just me: Up as late, out as far, writing as much, and defaulting to impulse as quickly as I want to.

It might have taken me several years too many to get to this point, but the “getting here” was all worth it. So, now, slightly hungover, fueled by Mickey D’s breakfast and operating on 30 minutes of sleep, I will enter the arms of my mother land once again. As flawed, damaged and beatin’ up my soul may be, she’s always taken me in without question.

Now, off I go to a connecting flight in Dallas.

By now, I would have speculated my unrest-ridden limbs to be- well, resting. They’re not. I close my eyes to sleep through the deafening thought of disintegrating by some means of tragic plane crash. "I'll close my eyes, and we'll just shut'er down for the 120 minutes it takes to get to Texas." I reason with myself. To no chagrin, my nerves buzzed back, "No, ol' boy. There will be no sleep ‘til Nola."

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Fight That Never Was

I can thoroughly say that New Year’s Eve ringing in 2016 was one of the best I’ve had in some time. There are two routes you can go for the Amateur of all Amateur Hours. #1: Play it chill, go to the VFW, stay at home with your boo thang, or work and make duckets. Either of these options plays into no part of devil that is New Year’s Eve. However, for me, New Year’s Eve is one of my favorite holidays- and I opt for #2: To betroth the devil for at least a few hours. Now, whether you’re mindful of exactly what you’re getting into, is another story entirely.

The night started out at a jogger’s pace with a stop at the best friend’s house, then to an art gallery turned makeshift bar with balloons tacked to a ceiling for the midnight drop. We promptly left, and hitched a ride to the house of bad decisions and impulse. Having fully committed a week ago, I dressed to the nines and readied the crew for a VIP/Balcony soiree. The risk was it all turning into Bronanza Douchefest 2016 starring us. Alas, it did not. Half past midnight, I could feel the liquor burning through the common sense of the ballroom we stood in. Drinks spilled, potential fights brewed, and I stood to have a better chance of finding our server on the back of a milk carton or TMZ video. We needed to get the hell out of there, and fast. I called our ride, blitzkrieg’d the server to pay our tab, and we vacated the imploding ballroom.

Off to a northeast bar where nearly everyone knows our names (Cheers ref: check), we leaned against the bar, 12 sheets to the wind, and wished “Happy New Year!!!” when the impulse struck us. Unbeknownst, a bar stool away, two men held a conversation at the bar.
The gentlemen furthest from me, sat draped in a black leather jacket, his wispy black hair barely touching his shoulders. His frame sat fragile as a glass menagerie. In my drunken stupor, I recall his shoulders as meatless knobs only badass’ng it by proxy of the leather jacket. The gentlemen closest to me, holding dialogue with the other gentlemen, sat at least 6 inches higher than the other. I couldn’t tell if his back was actual muscle or just proportion to the whole of his giant body. His shoulders, as far as I could tell, were bulging almost too big for his own frame… and sweater.

Our lives are made up of flickering moments- simple flickering moments that somehow line up and make sense because one precedes the other.

I turned to my friend, James, for a moment to talk about something I’ll never remember due to drunkiness and the split seconds that proceeded it. With my back turned to the two gentlemen, I hear “What the fuck did you just say to me?!?!?” Turning to the two, the shout evidently came from the gentlemen closest me… the large gentlemen… the gentlemen now planting his fist repeatedly into the smaller gentlemen’s face.

Sidenote: I’ve been attacked by dogs in my life. When it happens, you have little to no time to react. The flash of fangs are for sheer ceremony before a quick twitch of violence lunges toward you. I have seen this same quick twitch in a few PRIDE FC fights, and one fight in particular at a party, but never in my adult life up-close.

The large gentlemen arose with the urgency of a hurricane, and began to punch the other man’s face faster than a cocaine-addled E. Honda. In my drunken state, it appeared this man had gotten off two dozen straight jabs in less than 10 seconds. Before he could set off another barrage of hits, my mind said, “Toussaint, we should help this poor smaller man, now being publicly executed by this larger gentlemen. Right?” I agreed with my mind, so I drunkenly- yes, I’ve used this word many times in this story, because I don’t want you to forget how drunk I was- stepped toward the punching assassin. On my last step, I crossed my left foot over my right leg to squeak through the crowded barstools and tables, and reached out my hands to effort breaking up the ass-whoopin’. Just as I reach out with off-balance footing, the larger gentlemen reaches his left arm back to deliver another blow. His elbow, at the peak of pulling back to then move forward and propel his fist into this poor man’s skull, grazes my hands reaching out to break up the fight. So off-balance, and so incapacitated with alcohol, my momentum was sharply shifted backward… and now, I’m falling the opposite direction of the fight.

Just the faint touch of the larger gentlemen’s pendulum blows, sent me flying into a gaggle of barstools, a waitress (my good friend, we call “Sharon Stone”) and my best friend James.
Seconds later, the bar staff removed the larger gentlemen off the would-be corpse of the thinner man. I lay on the ground… still. James offered to help me up. I turned away his offer. I just wanted to take in the moment. Although I was proud of myself for stepping up for another human getting assaulted like a newly colonized strip of land, it was all overcast by a knee-jerk reaction to laugh aloud to myself.

I’d like to rewind and tell you that this fall was a perfect fall. I mean, I effing hit those barstools, waitress, and other dude with the precision of a well-timed tackle. It was like one of those falls, where you hit the ground and shit just keeps falling around you. I physically impacted a 10 ft. radius with that folly.

Finally, accepting a hand to rise to my feet again, we laughed, drank more and uber’d back to the crib. To answer your question, “No, I don’t speak in 3rd person… I write in 3rd person. And welcome to 2016, Toussaint Morrison. You’re a brilliant idiot with a heart too big for both sleeves”.

Post Script: Sharon Stone, the waitress working that night, reported to me that the thinner man entered the bar the next day with his girlfriend, who demanded an explanation as to what happened to her man. Apparently, he was so black-out drunk that even upon exit and waking to his wounds... he had forgotten how he got them. The bartender relayed last night's events, and as they exited, a patron turned to Sharon and shared the sentiment that if anyone deserved that ass-whoopin' from last night... it was that thin guy. "He had it comin'" she said.

Lesson: The universe speaks. Don't be blackout when it does.