Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Gift Of Cold

Not much to look forward to today.
I am sitting in the Westin Hotel lobby, using the free wireless; and drinking black coffee, even though I might have slept about 45 minutes total last (Christmas) night. It is 7:40 a.m.
It is probably about 40 degrees outside. Yesterday afternoon saw gusts of wind and rain blow into town, leaving in its wake wet sleeping spots and frigid air.
I had woken up Christmas morning, on the rocks under the deck where the Natchez docks. I had only slept a couple of hours. Missing the last ferry at midnight poses the problem of weather or not to walk a mile back to the other sleeping spot or to stay by the river.
The trade off, of course, is that sleeping by the river, while saving you a walk, exposes you to the guy who walks along the river at night stealing from the homeless
while they sleep. A mile of walking puts you under the gaze of the security cameras which cover every inch of the French Quarter. Then the issue becomes finding the security personnel monitoring the area who have a protective streak in them and will look after your safety; or a tolerant or lazy streak in them and will ignore you.
The Natchez is a big paddle-wheeled thing which seems to be popular with the tourists; I can't imagine it taking them to see anything too spectacular, but I think there are a lot of fun and games aboard the thing.
When it arrives in port, it lets off the steam from its boiler through a pipe organ type thing, which some guy (or woman) plays and you can see the steam blow out of the top of each pipe as he does so. It is horrendously out of tune; either through neglect or possibly because it is the nature of steam through a whistle to waver in pitch.
I have never seen anyone trying to sleep on the rocks under that deck. I went there after having my bag stolen and rifled through, (but nothing taken from it) at another spot.
People are probably daunted by the appearance of the big chunks of granite; placed there to reduce erosion, and their haphazard arrangement. But, I have found, through a little experimentation that, if you wriggle around it is possible to position yourself quite comfortably in the crevices.
The Guy Who Hands Out 100 Dollar Bills
After I crawled out at sunup I decided to finish sleeping across the river; rather than hang around upon the speculation that that guy who hands out 100 dollar bills in Jackson Square to the homeless "every" Christmas would make his appearance.
It was hard to sleep, for some reason. By noon, I gave up on the idea, noticing that Howard had gone off somewhere.
I decided to go back into town, if for no other reason than that it was Christmas; and people might be generous; and there was always the legendary 100 dollar man to think about.
As soon as I landed on shore, the heavy winds and rain came, and lasted about a half hour.  I ran into Howard, who said that somebody had bought him a steak dinner.
The streets were pretty deserted. Hardly anything was open.
The Unique Boutique was open and was flanked by bums on all sides. They seemed to have the attitude that a person just wasn't right to refuse them a cigarette or a dollar on Christmas.
I realized that there really wasn't anything to do apart from standing around the Unique Boutique fending off people wanting a drag off your cigarette, a sip off your beer, ooh, cashews, I love cashews! etc.
Then, in the evening it rained again, quite heavily; before some very cold air moved in.
Clear 36 °F
It was the kind of miserable night which makes people get off their butts and do something to improve their situation.
I now go to check the Megabus schedule.
The Megabus is parked right outside across a parking lot from where I sit now...
The Rebuild Center is closed until January 2nd. By then, I should have some money waiting in my mailbox there...
 This Just In
Megabus: New Orleans to Houston, Texas: $29.00

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