Well...things here are different! Jimmy and I got what we were looking for: a change from Odessa, and we got it for sure!
This outfit is much smaller and much less...intense...then Texas. We got into New Orleans on-time, called Willie from the bus station, he then sent two guys to pick us up. The vibe was instantly better. Much more positive. We both had a great feeling about this decision and were quite happy to get here. We chatted with Willie in person on Saturday, and since today is Easter and his family is here, haven't really seen him since.
We all seemed to get along well last night and met some pretty good people, one in particular--Tricia. She would seem to be in the same mold as Carrie and Sarah, yet a great deal different. She is exactly the opposite of those two in almost every way! She's from Little Rock, Arkansas and just a good ol' girl. Yet, she's also tuned in. She "gets it"--doesn't realize it--yet she does. She's aware and trying to process and define what she's aware of. Been there. She wants to travel; suffers from that same affliction I do. She's frustrated and seems ready to do something about it. It was odd when I first got here; we were immediately drawn (not physically...pervert) to each other. It's like there is an internal guide pointing out the right people and the situations in which to find them. My mystical senses are returning to a degree; paying attention to these "coincidences." Steve, Jim, Tricia. I thoroughly enjoyed this trip so far, for the most part.
There are some twisted, ironic, some would say comical shades McComb [MS, 2005, following Katrina] here in relation to my friendship with Trish. The gay guys here are pissed off! And, so are the straight ones! The gay guys are gnarled up because they viewed me as their "fresh fish!" Of course, the breeders are pissed off because they've been trying to get on Tricia since she first got here and now she's begun to use me as sort of a shield! I find it hilarious! There are rumors etc. already; it's pretty pathetic and drives me up the wall.
I'm getting in tune with myself too, I'm aware of my reactions to all of this. My mindset is slowly adapting to my surroundings and my tolerance level is sinking. I have become more aware of who I am and how that differs from past experiences. My personality also seems to be changing more & more as I adapt. I've become more honest, much more open with some people, and seem to have developed some bizarre leadership qualities from my experiences over the past few years. I don't bother with the idiots, charlatans, posers and punks. I blatantly disengage from them and gravitate back to the ones that posses some kind of character and honesty; and I don't care about hurting feelings in the process. I'm looking for "my people" and not really bothering with the rest.
I feel myself becoming more a more direct. For example, Jimmy drank pretty much all day [after the levee experience-below], and it bothered me. Not that he drank, but that he drank and was trying to communicate. I can't hold any of that against him, but it's a mirror of myself from not so long ago. I can't stand being sober and dealing with drunks anymore. In fact, it's been a long time since I could, but now I have next to no tolerance. I'm doing to some people what Danny, Dyson, Jason, Greg, and others did to me: judging. I don't really like that, but it's happening. Tricia got lit up tonight and was passed out by 7:30. After the day we had, it was a study in extremes and bothered me a bit, although I was more forgiving of her because in the short time I've been here, our friendship has caused her much grief for no reason, and she needed the escape.
I have hardly eaten anything since leaving NM last week; I'd love to get on a scale. I must be in that 165-pound range by now. I've had 2 cups of Ramen Noodles today, and a few M&Ms. I've also discovered how much shit I really do have... and shouldn't. My backpack is 45 pounds, and I need to ship some stuff home. It's rather hard to keep all that shit organized, let alone keep track of it.
Today was an interesting, enlightening, and frustrating day all wrapped into one. Jimmy took Tricia and I across the adjacent road to the levee the banks of the Mississippi River, letting us sit in on one of his Indian rituals where he says he "asks the spirits for guidance." We sat inside of a natural circle depressed into the grass, and just talked and bonded -- just the three of us. Afterwards he said our Indian names were Little Feather and Runs with the Wind. While I sat there playing with a twig, they both looked at me with an odd, astonished look and said I was doing some kind of Indian weave -- something I had never heard of. I really had no idea what I was doing, but just thought it looked cool. We went out there about 9:30 and didn't come back -- didn't leave the circle -- until 3:30. Just talking, lying on the grass in the sun. Had the day ended then, it was one of the best of days. I felt so at peace and comfortable...with both myself and them. It was a tiny taste of that experience I've been craving. No distractions or bullshit obligations. Just me, my people, and out in my place being -- me. It was the closest thing to Nirvana I can probably get, and it occurred to me that I may have already started my adventure. I felt free and unmolested!
Then, as soon as we rejoined the herd, a relative black energy/vibe returned. As soon as we crossed the road! I won't elaborate on more of the drama inside Winter Quarters this Easter Night, but it provided something that, using the first part of the day, could have been a case study in extremes. It got to the point where Trish and I discussed, and even tentatively decided, to leave here tomorrow and "just go." She says she wants to today. She says she wants to go with me when I/we begin my/our trip. But, of course she'd like to work it out so we stay on for a few months to get cash together.
We'd both like Jimmy to be with us if he chooses to, and if today was an anomaly (the drinking). If not, I don't think we will be doing anything together after New Orleans is done. He's a wonderful guy, yet one who's battling something within. He has much to offer, yet also has that self-destructive air about him when he drinks. If both he and Tricia could keep handles on that, I'd be fine and would love for us to keep it together.
The view from here regarding the "backpack trip" is a bit different. I could see the three of us doing it, but believe Jimmy will carry on his way. And Tricia may remain here, or just go home to be near her son in Arkansas. I don't really know. I just feel that I've met some wonderful people in the five short days I've been gone. I feel like I'm on the right course and can see some possibilities. It'll be interesting to see what else develops. So far, this trip's been exactly what I need, and I still find it remarkable that I'm in New Orleans. New Mexico feels remote and far away today. We'll see how it all goes; off to Baton Rouge in the morning.