I’m not going to bore you with a complete recounting of my trip, which wasn’t just building houses in New Orleans, but also included stops in Nashville, Orlando and West Palm Beach (you know, to balance out the “helping poor black families” by “doing middle-income white family things”). New Orleans obviously was the most interesting part of the trip, but just for the sake of painting a complete picture, here are some brief summations of the other destinations:
Nashville: We meant to go to Memphis. We didn’t realize this until our second day in Nashville when we couldn’t find either Beale St. or Graceland. Would later listen closely to the lyrics of “Walking in Memphis” and nod knowingly to each other.
Orlando: More attractions requiring 3-D glasses per capita than any city in the world (estimation). Also cheap drinks, sluts. Nice place.
West Palm Beach: Here’s how we decided to go to West Palm Beach:
Scott: “What’s the temperature in Daytona Beach.”
Scott: “How about West Palm Beach?”
Scott: “OK, let’s go there.”
Also reached the pinnacle of implied homosexuality here when Scott and I shared a cabana chair on the beach. Quote: “We couldn’t be more gay right now if you were doing me in the ass.” It doesn’t even matter which one of us said it.
A few other notes on miscellaneous items:
• GPS is one of the most amazing inventions of all time. Especially because an hour and a half into the trip our map flew out the window in the middle of the Jersey Turnpike. After that, we became so reliant on GPS that at one point we programmed it to take us to the nearest Subway for a lunch break and as we exited the highway we saw a sign with an arrow pointing into a driveway that said “Subway,” but because the GPS said it was still 0.3 miles ahead, we drove right by. Later, we imagined GPS telling us not just things like “Turn right” or “In 200 feet, bear left” but “Pick up this hitchhiker, and kill him. No one will ever know.” I’m just glad it didn’t come to that.
• Contrary to what you might think, trying to garner support as a Northerner in a Nashville karaoke bar by prefacing your song with “This is for our troops,” doesn’t work. Especially if you then sing “Dream On” by Aerosmith.
• It’s a special time in one’s life the first time they buy new underwear instead of washing the underwear they already have.
• Fact: Hanukkah doesn’t exist south of the Mason-Dixon. It’s unabashed Christmas fever everywhere. Jesus himself could rise again and hold a press conference saying, “I’m a regular guy! I’m not even that religious!” and they would simply put up more Christmas decorations to distract themselves from the paralyzing weight of their own humanity.
• Finally, how come hotel advertisements preaching water conservation have a picture of a snow owl on them? It’s like on the day of the photo shoot the talent agency mistakenly sent over an owl instead of a fish, and the Marriot was like, “Well there’s no time now, just do the shoot!” Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the environment and not ruining it, but if someone is going to tell my why I shouldn’t ruin it I would at least like their logic to be correct. For example, I wouldn’t ask you to support the independent arts as an artistic bedrock of country’s collective imagination and then back it up with this: