They do a really slowed down version of Baby, Please Don't Go. The guitar wails, her voice is like milk poured out slow into a sweaty glass. All on the windshield, the rain sticks instead of running into those tiny veins. I pass under hazy halos of red and green, and like Edie Brickell sings, when the streets are wet, the colors slip into the sky. And then:

Baby please don't go back to New Orleans
You know I love you so
Baby please don't go
How many times have these words come over my mind before I followed him here.

After my first time on roller blades, I felt this need to buy healthy food, salad mixes, wheat germ, raisins and apples. I saw my reflection in the freezer doors, the lanky threadbare navy blue sweatshirt I've owned for years, the thing I wear inside the grocery store because the windows are coated with condensation from the AC and everyone in there is too cold, so they move far slower than they should.

I will wait for you in Baton Rouge
Miss you down in New Orleans
I'll wait for you while she slips into something comfortable
I'll miss you when I'm slipping in between
Goodnight Elizabeth, by Counting Crows
I know. You're sorry you couldn't be what I wanted, and it's ok. But I will never forget you, never forget myself. The rain reminds me of all I've left behind and all that stays near to me.

There are so many songs about New Orleans, but I never realized how many until it became my home, until my home was a place people wrote songs about. Most good movies take place in New York City but some of the best songs are written here.

Bobby flagged a diesel down just before the rain
We wrote a song on the way to New Orleans
Me and Bobby McGee, Janis Joplin

And it rains all the time instead of snowing, no season locked up in the color of cold, no November on her way to winter. And because of this, your soul seldom knows where to hide itself, your own skin is confused about what to feel. Every thing is blended here like a good drink or fine tobacco, every heart rent with some sad drama. You can't see the sun set or rise, but its heat follows you everywhere, a ghost of summer haunting the fall and spring, never exorcised, always pressing.

You have to dig here to find joy, pure joy, to find laughter that isn't cynical, to find a friend who will not leave you hanging when you are no longer their precipice that offers a better view of the world. You have to hide inside to find cold, to seek shelter in darkness to find quiet, and even then there are no guarantees that you will find anything you dig for.

The prospect of having any noders visit me here was at first intimidating, since they are likely coming from impressive cities, and I feared I wouldn't have anything to show them. But I think, if you come, and you see what I see, you will walk away with more of a feeling than photographs, more with a heartache than a hangover. New Orleans incites both, and I can't say I regret the choice, and neither should you, if and when you come to see it.

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