Saturday, January 7, 2012

Psychological Zombie Apocalypse

Psychological zombie apocalypse - best phrase ever. I wish I had come up with it but I did not. I read it in an article on back in December. The article was about New Orleanians being ranked as the #1 strangest people by Travel + Leisure magazine. This shouldn’t be shocking to anyone from New Orleans, anyone who has visited or frankly, anyone who knows someone from New Orleans. Strange is normal, normal is strange—that’s just the way it is.

The actual phrase was from one of the comments on the article and it was used to describe the rest of the country and ever since I read this comment I haven’t been able to get the notion of a “psychological zombie apocalypse” out of my head. If I understood the commenter completely, New Orleanians are rarer and weirder than most other people. It’s a survival thing and it creates a place that is vibrant and larger than life.  Other people and places don’t get it and aren’t like that. Instead of being physical zombies, they’re psychological ones. It’s kind of a cool idea. It would make an excellent movie and possibly a great band name.

Now obviously there are amazing places all over the world. We all have our favorite places, our hometown pride, etc. I get that and I appreciate that. I have recently begun to understand why people love San Francisco like they do (it’s pretty and cool). I say this as I try to recreate a little bit of New Orleans in my apartment this weekend. Yesterday was King’s Day, the end of the Christmas season and the beginning of Carnival season. Today is the Saints/Lions playoff game. It’s another magical time in New Orleans and I’m missing it again.
Mmmm, king cake

Here’s my attempt to be festive and a New Orleanian wherever I am this weekend:

  • Get Abita Beer - done (thanks BevMo for not only having Abita but also having bottles of Faygo pop. A little bit of NOLA, a little bit of Detroit.)
  • Make a king cake - the apartment smells cinnamon-y
  • Watch the Saints game 
  • Wear one of my Saints shirts - I opted for the Fleurty Girl Who Dat shirt again.
  • Listen to my NOLA Til Die playlist while baking the king cake.
  • Get a Central Grocery pizza from East End Pizza - it's basically a muffuletta on a pizza. It's going to be delicious.

Yeah, that's my wrist.
The problem with moving to a new place is that you have to accept that you no longer live somewhere else. I have not yet accepted this about New Orleans and I moved away almost 6 years ago. Clearly, I made the choice to move and I did it for good reasons at the time. But I've spent the last several years wondering if it really was a good choice. I've done some pretty amazing things since I left and probably wouldn't have done many of them had I stayed. The problem is that I love New Orleans and when I think about it I get sad and mopey. I listed to NOLA Til I Die over and over again. I reread Anne Rice novels. I plan trips I won't take because I usually have to go somewhere for work. I try to explain traditions and the city and everything to people and I get blank stares.

I’m trying really hard to love Alameda. It helps that architecturally speaking Alameda reminds me of parts of New Orleans; there's also an Oak Street and St. Charles (street not avenue). But it’s hard because a lot of times I feel like Alameda doesn’t want me to love it. Alameda feels  welcoming and cliquey at the same time. And I'm trying too hard to figure it out and get it to like me.

Gnome and monkey get ready for the game
After a crap week at work I’ve come to realize that maybe I'm in the middle of a psychological zombie apocalypse. I’m not really being true to myself; I’m trying to be a California version of Erin and that’s just not going to work. So while I attempt to be the leading lady in my own life this year, I also have to remember that it’s okay to be homesick. It’s okay to be weird and funny and colorful. Maybe that will help end the psychological zombie apocalypse.




  1. Your posts almost always strike a chord with me...this one, particularly so. Oh, NOLA!

  2. To me the first place you remember as home stays with you. Everywhere else is just a place to live.You were almost 4 when we left Detroit and 8 in Alabama so you don't have a lot of special memories from those places. Since you have spent most of your life in New Orleans it makes sense to have that special love for it. That's how I feel about Detroit. It hurts me when people make awful remarks about my home town.I always tell them they don't know it like I do. You will go back to NO as often as you can and who knows maybe you will settle there in the future. Just try to find good things wherever you are and keep going.M

  3. Sorry I didn't respond to comments earlier. I've had this conversation now with a few other people and it seems we all have that same sense of place somewhere. Sometimes it's the place you're born, sometimes it's a place you find. I guess it's good to know it's not just me but I don't know that it makes it any easier!

    And of course, Geaux Saints! I'm really hoping they win on Saturday so I can gloat a bit (or get beat up by Niners fans-whichever works).