Fighting Poverty with Passion
I had a disturbing moment this morning; it was very unsettling. Someone was nice to me. And I didn’t even know them. It all started when I was caught staring in bewilderment at the contraption that is a USPS mailbox (stop judging, they’re very confusing). All of a sudden, a complete stranger stops by my side and gives me a pep talk: “No, the mailbox was not a black hole that would swallow my package.” “Yes, indeed, it would arrive safely at its destination… Because this is how mail works.” Together, this stranger and I took the plunge and released my package into the void. Ultimately, this person took five minutes out of their day to reassure me about MAIL.
What’s the point to this story? Side-stepping all that irrational angst (this could be a blog in itself, no one has time for that), readers’ reaction to my squeamishness at the kindness of strangers will probably depend on their placement on the Southerner – Yankee spectrum. My discomfort and confusion can best be attributed to the fact that although technically raised in the “Mid-Atlantic” a.k.a. Maryland, I grew up within a family of Northerners (Philadelphians to be exact). My relatives, if ever faced with this kindhearted stranger’s situation, would have yelled something along the lines of “MOVE IT OR LOSE IT” (add several swearwords depending on the family member). So, even as a I round out my fifth year of living in this Southern city, I am still taken aback by all of these friendly, talkative, helpful people that give unsolicited advice, directions, mail-related pep taks, etc.…
Unfortunately, this is my fifth and final year as a New Orleans resident/wannabe Southern gal. Moreover, I am approaching my final MONTH in the city. CUE THE TEARS (and the tantrum)! Of course I will miss the people, the friends I’ve made, the special bond between all of the VISTAs. But most of all, I’ll miss this city: its personality, its charm, its architecture, its nightlife, its colors, its weather, its food, its never-ending list of bars/restaurants/festivals. I’ll miss the fantastical city I was first introduced to by A Confederacy of Dunces. I’ll miss the city I visited as high school senior; the first time in my life that the fantasy was surpassed by reality. I’ll miss the city I moved to as a college freshman. I’ll miss the city that has helped me become the person I am today. The city that has surprised, challenged and inspired me, every single day.
Thank you, New Orleans, for letting me call you home for the past five years. And thank you to all of the kind strangers that have helped me along the way.