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The Dashing Life and Exuberant Times of Brian Harrison....And Other Rare Anecdotes

Friday, October 31, 2008

Kicking About New Orleans Haphazardly

Wouldn't it be something that the week before Halloween I found myself in New Orleans again. If not the most haunted city in the US, then the most played upon in that regard. Masquerades and vampire capes, skeletons and devil's horns. It's a little Mardi Gras though probably a good deal creepier. (I can't really say, I've never really been to Mardi Gras.)

It's been awhile since I've been here. Almost a year. And it just so happened that this time I invited a friend of mine to come down with me. Russell, who is about to start installing a ballistic missile defense system in Huntsville, AL and had not exactly been hired yet and so he was waiting for that initial interview that propels one into that responsible life of adulthood.
So why not accompany me to New Orleans? I mean when going down for work the hotel room is paid for. (Which is an open invitation to many of my friends if I go anywhere. Come. Join me in some US city. Explore it with me.)

Well, for 3 nights the both of us sauntered about the French Quarter. Though there was this time that we ventured by trolley up Canal St. thinking that we were heading towards the famous Garden District, but we ended up in one of the neighborhoods that you probably didn't want to be caught during the night. And seeing how the sun was sinking we ambled over to this bar thinking to try and use their restrooms when immediately sticking our heads in the door, we were promptly invited in by some of the locals. Particularly this dark blonde who made it her theme to try and show us out of towners the real New Orleans. She liked to make observations of how pretty my hair looked and how warm my jacket seemed and asked if I thought that two people could fit in that jacket. She was good friends with the bartender, a brunette, and suffice it to say the both of us, Russell and I, were picked up very directly.
I should also point out that when I write the words blonde and brunette many people think of some calendar girl with those hair types; I hate to get hung up on physical things, but these girls were pretty ugly.
The bartender, Becky, was about to get off work and Angel the flirtatious bar fly wanted to take us to the Levee where you can watch the sun go down over the Mississippi. Russell and I were both game for the adventure of it. Not caring one bit about for what guys care for when leaving bars with females. We really wanted to see the Levee.

It was too late for the sun and had already set and it was cold. The girls had the idea to use the picnic blanket as a source of warmth...though we all had to huddle together to make it warm. I understood the cuddling as a means to keep warm...what I didn't understand was Angel's shifting hand on my backside. And later, I found that Russell had the same problem with Angel's other hand. Well, our response was very slow. I mean we didn't really encourage it our anything. And so the awkward moment where the 4 of us were drapped in the blanket thankfully came to an end. And eventually we got out of alot more awkward moments by telling them that we intended on going on a ghost tour that night.

I don't why I got into all that. I really intended on writing about jazz music. Because it is really incredible in this city. But first let me mention, that i think that it was that same night that Russell and I accidentally wandered into a gay burger joint. Yes, not a gay bar...I mean these days they're a dime a dozen...but a gay burger joint? Where on earch can you accidentally wander into a gay burger joint? But New Orleans and perhaps San Francisco. I mean we thought that it was this low key, old 50's soda pop where the waiter wears a bowtie and little paper hat...then it makes perfect sense. I mean everything hits you...the Stevie Wonder being played over the grill. -The predominance of pink on the walls -The disgusting innuendo written on a chalk board about hot dogs. -the customer or two who parade inside with all types of gesticulations and lisps. But no rainbow flag which told us you are indeed entering a gay burger joint. I didn't know they even existed.

Well...jazz...my first inspiration for writing this. It seems to be too complex and elevated a thing to write about it after all these misplaced wanderings. Perhaps, I'll get back to it in another note.

But as for today or tonight...why it's Halloween. I'm heading out to the French Quarter dressed as an angel of light. Which will be opposite of all the other costumes out there. I even plan on entering a vampires bar deck out as Gabriel just to see if I get any discrimination.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Rumors of My Fictionalization

An interesting occurrence has developed itself over the course of a few months with these notes and blog entries of mine. I feel as though I must share this with you all, not in an attempt to clarify anything, more or less, to amuse myself and many, many others.

There is this lady, a friend of my dad’s, who somehow or another fell into becoming an audience of my blog. My dad and his wife are active members of a motorcycle gang. Not the tough, hurly burly, switchblade types of the 50’s. No, the bit more domesticated, conservative, mid-lifers of their 50’s who rebel from their 9 to 5 jobs on a crotch rocket that shoots them all over the backroads of the US…anywhere but back to that office. It’s almost as though my father lives two separate lives. One behind an office desk making huge sale calls, very clever and cautious about finances and taxes, and the other all wrapped in leather cruising down highways one sharp swerve right or left and its pavement, an ambulance, and a possible hearse.
Babyboomers for you. But in this group where they cruise in packs, my father gave my blog address to this sweet lady who follows my posts. So Joy (this particular lady) began to read about all the adventures and craziness that befell me while down in New Zealand and Fiji. She is a devoted reader and I thank her for that. But then this shift occurred. All of a sudden some false, though original accusations were thrown at me. She came up with this theory that is just staggering brilliant if you want my honest opinion, though however false it may be, that my father doesn’t just live 2 separate lives, but 3. The 3rd being my very self or the fictional person who is writing this.
That is, that these notes are merely contrived from the very brain of my father, who has nothing better to do than make up this fictionalized son who is every bit an eccentric who goes around on all these crazy adventures. So what am I to say to that? What can I say?
I applaud her for the originality. I also find it surprising how short a distance I may have fallen from the tree. I mean, me being mistaken for my father. Ha! You would think that our personalities are world’s apart. I mean making up a character to write about and to appease those inner drives for thrills and adventure. Sounds like something that I might do when I actually do get older. But my father doing that…while he may have the imagination, he’s a bit too practical for that.

If this was true, my father would have to drop down into the very marrows of his fantasies and flesh out this (and I do take liberties here) quite exceptional character. He would have to make this character something of an introspective wildman, a true romantic, an entire free-spirit, a poet at heart, one with an insatiable curiosity and sense of wonder that knows no fear when seeking something out. Yes, make him a pinch insane. At least an oddball. He is something of a loner. Yes, a rebel. But perfectly affable and charming with other people. Then physically, sketch him as exceedingly handsome, tall, slenderish, give him long golden locks…make him look like some gilded prince of long ago Celtic legend. (Ha, I’m indulging in myself now.) Maybe make him a tad narcissistic to cover up some insecurity. At least that’s how I would make a character if I had to.

Then call this character your very son and send him during one post almost getting kicked off a train in Texas, another post, nearly driving a car off a cliff in New Zealand, and the next month have him wandering haplessly into a village in Fiji having tea (or kava) with the chief, only to have a Muslim islander propose that he should marry his daughter for a price several days later. Yes, the thing sounds highly inventive. And I credit Dad with his prodigious imagination. Sometimes, its almost to the point that I’ve convinced myself that I don’t really exist. Or at least, only when I’m in a highly existential mood.

But back here in the states after there is a good deal of silence on mine or my father’s part, the relationship with Joy gets interesting. Joy has put forth the desire to actually meet me in flesh and blood. Many times the biker gang gets together having wings and beer, and I’ve been invited to meet up with them, but circumstances usually with my job haven’t allowed me to go yet. This further solidifies Joy’s idea that I am not a real person but a figment of my father’s imagination. She has therefore sounded the call, “Reveal yourself if you really exist.” And I have failed to respond to the call.

But here’s the deal, I don’t know if I really want to reveal myself. I mean, I kinda like being seen as a fictionalization, you know. As soon as I become flesh and blood, then I lose that fantastical, phosphorescent glow. Call it vanity. But I like to remain on the horizon of people’s sights as though I am on the edge of some mythical world.

So where has my travels landed me recently. I tell you have been all over the map of the US. Only a week ago I was in Boston. Made it to Plymouth Rock, to Salem, I stayed with this Irish preacher who married one of my classmates of AIM.

Then last week I ventured all around Mississippi, the delta region. I visited that old black man who built his wife a castle. Then I made it to this old, riverside town of Natchez where antebellum mansions still breathe from out from under the intruding kudzu and many a duel as been fought and won between southern gentlemen and mere river boatmen.
Then onwards down to Montgomery, AL where I saw many old friends of mine. Then wheels keep churning on this real life of mine and I am absolutely delighted when someone finds it hard to believe that my life is real. I feel really alive then.