Charlie Sixteen

14OCT2010 – MSY – I should have known it wouldn’t be that easy to leave New Orleans…

The piece of paper that sent me down here in the first place clearly stated that I was to be “(*)repeatedly stretched to the breaking point, ground into paste, ingested and excreted from the assholes of both September and October for a period of no less than sixty days at the leisure of the King of Hawaii for no good goddamn reason at all.” That I should find myself in the departure lounge, boarding pass in hand forty-four days later is a lucky break, and I have no true business staring into the mouth of a gift horse.

Howe’er.

I arrived at Louis Armstrong International only to discover that my 1130 flight back to LaGuardia had been canceled, and the next one wouldn’t depart until almost 17 p.m., getting me home at 21 p.m.  Lesser men would have screamed, possibly taken hostages.  And still others might have hailed a cab and headed back out in search of debauchery.

But in some weird and admittedly perverse way, this makes me happy. I’ve got the entire gate to myself, I’ve got a seat next to an outlet, and I came prepared: laptop, iPhone, headphones, journal, Sharpies, a brand new copy of Cory Doctrow’s “Futuristic Tales of The Here and Now”, a lightning fast Wi-fi connection, and a damn good cup of coffee.

Pending a zombie invasion, a Die Hard-esque shootout between a burned-out cop and Ze Germans, a colicky baby or some other natural disaster: I’m aces, thanks for asking.

One hour till departure: Seat near the window, bonus! Listening to: Dead Can Dance, Led Zep, Deftones.  Charging: my gadgets.  Checking: my email. Watching: Several hundred tons of taxi gather the much-needed speed to fuck its way into the unresisting sky.  Gravity, lift, drag, and thrust.  Peanuts and Sprite.  Over and over, these common theme of my travels.  All those people, all those aliens, all those dress shirts.., (X) ft of white headphone cord, and (Y) lbs worth of “Compounded Negative Body Issue Monthly” being spread like a fucking virus, their once-glossy corners now gently bent and fetal against the protective interior leather of designer carry-ons.

My eyes move around the room, mining the details, but wholly unable to keep pace with the flow of arriving passengers, the rolling rectangles, the designer sunglasses and three thousand other items of little to no consequence. It makes me wish I could sketch.  Finally, my oculars come to rest on the matched set of thigh-high silver cylinders guarding the entranceway to Charlie Sixteen, my home of record for the next hour.

Trash cans they are, and trash cans they will stay. When one finishes ones damn good cup of coffee, one is expected to do the decent thing and force the empty paper cup into the mouth of said cylinder, where it will tumble briefly southward before coming to rest in the whispered clutches of a petroleum-based, quasi-disposable stomach lining, later to be gutted and gathered by minimum wage taxidermists whose first language is probably not English.

Look at the trash can, now look at me, NOW BACK TO THE TRASH CAN:

Out of sight, out of mind. But when you throw something away, what does away really mean?  The more I stare at the cans, the more I begin to see them as something else, slowly rebuilding them in my head, swapping the plastic intestines for something else:

Suppose that when you tossed a piece of trash into the can, it was instantly incinerated, and that the energy extracted from the incineration process went toward creating the energy required to incinerate the next piece of trash, and so on, and so forth.  How far ahead in our technological evolution would we have to be to pull off a stunt like that? Get back to me on this.

There’s my flight,

TWM

(*not really.)

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2 thoughts on “Charlie Sixteen

  1. 1. i liKe how you Compared a “zombie invasion,” to a “colicky baby” in your liSt of “natural disasters.”
    bah ha ha ha

    2. it is NOT easy to leave new orleaNs. the City takes a piece of your soul to keep, just as photos do to indiGenous peoples of Norrh America.

    3. writing with Ultra fine tip Sharpies is one of my things – I do hope it’s not becoming too mainstReam. you have me coNcerned.

    4. Your thoughts on Trash Cans. I Heart this Image: “the whispered clutches of a petroleum-based, quasi-disposable stomach lining, later to be gutted and gathered by minimum wage taxidermists whose first language is probably not English.”

    4.a. “…when you throw something away, what does away really mean?” It means it becomes someone else’s problem. The non-english speaking TaXidermists, and then the lanfill Guardians and then the earth’s – as these “thrown Aways” struggle to Break doWn and Decompose, as if they were au natural, constantly fighting their inorganic and Artifical nature. It means that it stops being My Burden: My Trash, My once enjoyed cup of Coffee/Plastic bottle/pack of cigaretts/Dried up sharpie and becomes “Our Problem.” Throwing something away means traDing Personal ownership of one Little thing for communal denial of a much larger issue. Throwing something Away is not recycling or reusing and since we haven’t taken many stePs towards reducing…. it’s just another Step in the right direction towards distruction….out of sight, out of Mind….
    4.b. I like this: “Suppose that when you tossed a piece of trash into the can, it was instantly incinerated, and that the energy extracted from the incineration process went toward creating the energy required to incinerate the next piece of trash, and so on, and so forth.” I saw Solar powered trash compactors Once and thought they were awesomE. Your iDea is much better.

    5. it hurT my soul to see how many Styrofoam cups were being used by all of the environment-saving drones dispatched to New Orleans as they filled up their 8-12 daily coffee cups. ouch.

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