I got stood up for a job interview on the coldest day of the year in Chicago. I’d printed my resume and ironed my dapper shirt — I bundled up tight and took the train downtown. I arrived too early by nearly an hour. The river steamed, trying to freeze. I ducked into Walgreens, picked up a basket and pretended to shop. A copy of that morning’s commuter daily, at which I was about to try to get a job as a reporter, sat spread upon a stocking cart. I brushed up on the day’s events — mostly the CTA. A clerk asked me if I planned on paying for the paper, since I was reading it. I reminded her that it was free.

I wandered past a weather anchor outside in a scarf and mittens chattering into a camera, and entered the appropriate skyscraper. The security desk guard called my would-be interviewer, left a message. Ten minutes of chewed toothpicks later, he tried a general number. She hadn’t come in that day. Later I learned she’d spaced our appointment.

I had only been unemployed for a couple weeks, but already it was not looking good. A week prior I had an interview I’d lined up through a friend, but upon my arrival my interviewer informed me that she essentially had the position already filled by someone with 25 years of experience — she had wanted to meet me anyway, because my friend had spoken of me so highly. Thanks for coming down.

I bussed dejectedly from the skyscraper to meet my girlfriend, Akasha, at a Guatemalan restaurant. We ordered a bottle of red wine, watched the wind whip dry snow crazily through the bright, cold street. What a disgusting sight. I poured my second glass and said, Lets move to New Orleans.

I’m not sure why that town came out of my mouth instead of someplace else warm. (See the previous post for an attempt to explain that one). Three months later I’m sitting in the Mojo Cafe on Magazine Street in the Lower Garden District of the Crescent City (geographic cataloging helps dispel the sense of vertigo induced by moving to a new place). I’m listening to blues on the radio and drinking strong coffee. I have a job and have applied for a place to live. I sleep on my friend Juan’s big couch and drink with the tourists at night on Frenchmen Street. I ride the streetcar when I can but have to drive to work, and I’m afraid the rough roads are going to shake my car apart.

When I do find an apartment, its will be the 14th mailing address I’ve had in eight years. When I moved to Chicago in 2008 I had every intention of staying awhile, but things work out as they do. I’m tired of moving around. My friends are scattered throughout the world, and since I stopped partying so much it’s tougher to make new ones. Akasha will arrive in a couple of weeks, and I look forward to that. My brother inherited a bed from our grandparents that he no longer has room for, so he’s sending to me. We’re going to set it up in a guest bedroom, so if you’re a friend, come visit.

New Orleans is a city that you don’t dive into — you ease on in. People say that the longer you live here, the less fit you are to live anywhere else. I guess we’ll see about that. I started this blog to chronicle what I envisioned would be some sort of adventure — and, without a doubt, moving to a new place always is — but maybe it will turn out to be more of a document of my puddling into a new slow, Southern life, which should be just as interesting.

I thank you for reading my inaugural dispatch. I hope you check back for the rest.

From New Orleans, with love…

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