4 “By the moon, we sport and play; with the night begins our day.”
My head jerked forward; I felt like I had just woken up from a twenty-one-year-long dream. How did I get here? As my eyes focused, I realized that I was sitting in the same place that I was 21 years ago, when the dream started: in a large, freezing, modular trailer. A man, reminiscent of a cross between Doctor Robotnik and Hellraiser, was standing before me. Or, rather, before us: we, the Engaged, were appropriately seated in a Usual Suspects-esque lineup, listening to a speech being made by M. Pfeiffer, officer of the New Orleans Police Department:
“…And the last thing you want is for someone to think their house is livable again, only to go home and find grandma drowned and plastered to the floor underneath her bed,” he was saying. Delicious. He continued:
“So then what happened? Well, they gave the go-ahead against my advice, and someone moved back into the city and found grandma stuck to the floor after their house was inspected three times by the military and marked as clear. Mistakes do happen, people.” He tried using his fingers to visually count off the points he was making, but since there was just one, his arms dropped awkwardly to his sides as he continued to change topics.
Seriously, though, where am I? I have never been this worn out in all my life. My body feels like it’s in pieces, and at this point I cannot remember what cerebral clarity actually ever felt like. It’s not that we go out too hard, because there isn’t such a thing, it’s that there simply are not enough hours in the day. Or night. Cutting out sleep seemed like the logical choice.
My state of delirium, fueled by excruciating exhaustion, crippling hunger, and the incessant thirst for daiquiris, somehow, at that instant, afforded me insight. What are we really trying to accomplish down here? Is it getting the most out of our internship, sometimes at the expense of everything else that New Orleans has to offer? Is it experiencing as much as possible of the city, and the people we meet outside of our jobs? Is it the nightlife? D. All of the above. I have been trying to do everything; I am running out of energy and still running out of time. My brain, rather hypocritically, feels like it’s so close to reaching an answer to this conundrum; is it obvious?
“…It’s obvious what you do with a nuclear bomb," our host continued, "You just close off the city, don’t let anything in, but most importantly, don’t let anything out. You have to figure, everything inside the blast radius is going to die, so just seal the citizens inside and wait it out. Natural disasters, however, are harder.” Perfect. And obvious.
Sometimes, I feel like my life can be defined by moments strung together by a common theme: the people I have been with each time I have been in the Duke gardens, the places I have been when I have heard the song “Amazing Grace,” or my general disposition during each successive reflection session. Somewhere in the middle, I was bit by a New Orleanian vampire; I lost the reflection I used to call my own.
Suddenly, my mind felt like it was stretched like a rubber band and quickly released. I’ve got it! It IS obvious. The answer is thus: that grandma must have been rather senile if she thought she could escape a flood by hiding under the bed.
I closed my eyes again, praying that, when I opened them, they would be staring at a daiquiri bar.