In southern Louisiana, fall means the oranges are ripening on the trees, becoming full-fledged fruit instead of weird, round looking limes. The palm fronds are turning brown and a giant camellia shrub/tree is about to bloom outside of my window. The A/C is still blasting at work. Oh, and hey, you, that slime mold spore who stole my Slanky, I hope you have to wear it forever in hell.
Saturday was the monthly Lafayette Art Walk, and I try to be a communitarian, especially when there’s free wine. It’s starving artist protocol. And a perk of being a nonfiction writer is that I’m supposed to have adventures and investigate. No, I’m not a sad person with no friends. I’m an intrepid journalist on the beat.
After a few stops at places where I pretended to admire pastel beach landscapes while I topped off my glass, I strolled down to the Acadiana Center for the Arts which did not have free wine, but did have a coffee shop featuring Stumptown roasters out of Portland, my second favorite coffee in the world. The first is at Le Petit Outre in Missoula, Montana. Although to be fair, Montana makes coffee taste better
Well, I bet you a didgeradoo. And if you get that reference, then you were also an avid Olivia Newton John fan in the 70s.
Naturally, I was drawn upstairs. I ran into a friend of mine with kids and they seemed into it. Always follow the kids.
The community mural where kids draw dots to show bayou watershed? Or something like that. So much for my intrepid reporting.
Next, I went to the exhibit, “Trivial Pursuits: Obsession’s Allure.” My friend’s kids then got in trouble for throwing M & M’s and and they had to leave.
Coolest in my mind was an in-progress Stevie Nicks memorabilia collection. This is an actual Klonipin bottle with her name on the prescription!
There were posters, albums, macrame hats, flyers…I was transported to my Freshman dorm where we all had Rumors on repeat as we guzzled Strawberry Hill.
Looking at these clothes inspired me to produce an episode of What Not to Wear—The Academia Edition. Since time memorial, there’s been that certain female prof who has needed to put down that lace shawl and slowly walk away. Like, time travel back to 1985 and slowly walk away. Then again, maybe it’s time to bring the feathered hats BACK.
The library also had free wine.
I am fascinated with the idea that libraries are filled with books like this and others, that people maybe read.
I went to a violin store, some more galleries, and averted my eyes from a Subway franchise. Why are they EVERYWHERE?
Another artsy buzz kill was that people were talking football everywhere, which I know is standard Deep South fare. Sometimes I am continually amazed at how out of touch I can be with Southern obsessions. I grew up in Tuscaloosa and should experience a spidey sense tingle when The Game is on. But even as I was surrounded by televisions I didn’t even know there was a game. Now. Tonight.
As I watched The Crimson Tide take the field across the street and through this window, I felt a familiar childhood sensation–that that’s what people do over there.
My friend who I saw at the Arts Center is from Romania and grew up under the rule of Communism. When she first moved to Lafayette and experienced Game Day, she wondered why anyone would dress up in red and march around on purpose.
Clearly, I needed a southern tincture to ease the malaise. In Athens, Ohio, I had a cadre of bourbon drinking writers who I could pretty reliably find downtown if I needed that social gap filled. I don’t have that here. If I want to go in a stinky bar and drink I am on my own. Those who read my book know that on my Laura trip, I simply couldn’t face going into a bar alone. I was too terrified. Although to my credit, the Laura dress pretty much ruled out any hope of a low profile and Ma Ingalls would have been horrified.
But here we are. Roll Tide!
For the first half, I experienced life as a sports dude at a bar. Not bad, actually. There’s beverages and the game eliminates need for awkward conversation. You just hang.
Eventually, though, all the “swoosh” noises followed by not-so-subliminal plugs for Home Depot over and over and over wore me out. By the second quarter I could tell Bama would win and lost interest.
That morning, my Romanian friend had given me hand-crocheted gloves, stitched by her Romanian grandmother, the thread pulled from clothes the grandmother wore in the early 20th century. They look kind of nice next to a glass of bourbon.
Stevie Nicks revival, anyone? Come on. Let’s twirl.