I took the job.
So many factors...um...factored in to my final decision--hours, flexibility, money, location, environment--but then I started thinking about regret and the choice was relatively simple. As Cade's aunt Manina said to me: "No decision is a wrong decision." So I pushed past my fears and doubts and ambivalence and made one. For better or worse, there you have it. As of June I will be the newest therapist at Jewish Family Services of Greater New Orleans.
Life has felt so chaotic lately that I've had a hard time focusing enough to formulate a coherent narrative. Even now, as I write this, a million thoughts are swirling. Will my next client show up? How will I break the news of my departure? Will my clients follow me to the new setting? Do I dare assume that level of attachment?
I'm also coming down from Jazz Fest, which was a blast, as always, but not nearly as soul-inflating as in some previous years. I got to stand right up by the stage for Counting Crows (close enough to see very clearly the love handles that have formed around Adam Duritz's waist) which was cool. They always mix it up, which I appreciate: it doesn't leave me feeling like I could have simply stayed home and listened to the CD, you know? For this show, they broke into a super-slow version of "Thunder Road," my favorite Springsteen song, and later offered a version of "Pale Blue Eyes" that brought tears to mine. It was a Jazz Fest moment, to be sure. If only those fuckers behind and in front of me would have had enough sense to stop talking and pay attention to the beauty unfolding all around them.
So that was cool. I saw some other great performances, among them the women drummers from Guinea (amazing), the New Orleans Klezmer Allstars (stupendous), Irma Thomas, Washboard Chaz Blues Trio, etc, etc, but nothing that really caught me in that perfect state of being, the state I find myself in when in the presence of the truly sublime. Maybe it was my state of mind--the first weekend I felt guilty about leaving Sydney all day, the second weekend I felt guilty for subjecting her to the sweltering heat and decidedly non-nap-inducing environment--or maybe the vibe was off. I don't know. But I did have a good time.
And more than once I fought off the urge to corner the out-of-towners and make sure they understood what they were witnessing: the importance of this city, the importance of this culture, this phenomenon, this precious jewel that so many people seem to think is expendable. Do our visitors get it? Do they really think these things are reproducible, that Mardi Gras at Universal Studios is the same as Mardi Gras on St. Charles Ave., or that Jazz Fest is the same as any of the other outdoor music festivals in other places? I hope not. I didn't get the chance to ask any of them, but I watched them line up at the gates of our cultural heritage and eat their hearts out and dance to our music--OUR music!--and walk away sunburned and smiling and, well, I just really hope that they get it.