What the funk is with this weather lately? I went from wearing shorts to bundling up in the course of six hours. There’s the real concrete what the funk of today because what’s coming next is a little bit more vague.
Wednesday What the Funk articles usually try to explain some quirky characteristic of the city ranging from why we eat mini lobsters that live in mud to who Professor Longhair or Uncle Lionel were and why we loved them.
What I’m talking about here is why the funk this city seems to cling onto you like the lingering stench of a corner poboy shop. It’s not a bad funk. It’s like, why the funk does this city take to wearing red dresses for a drunken run in the Quarter? Or, why the funk can’t I turn left anywhere in the Garden District? That kind of what the funk.
Finding Home away from home
I’ll be illustrating this phenomenon with a story of my own that shows how, no matter how far away you may be, there’s always a little piece of home somewhere closer than you may think.
I was having lunch at a beachside cafe in Mykonos, Greece. The sun danced off the Aegean waves and the condensation from my beer dripped onto the tops of my bare feet. We had just spent the entire month backpacking down Europe, so the last thing on my mind was being reminded of home.
Then, I saw it. The all-too-familiar fighting tiger logo adorning the shirt of a kid walking past. I hollered a joyful “Geaux Tigers!” because you don’t really see that every day in Mykonos. You’re more likely to see a total lack of clothes, not some you probably have in your own closet. I got his attention, and apparently his father’s, because this guy walked over to our table.
“You boys from Louisiana?” he asked.
“Yes sir, New Orleans.” we responded.
“Oh, me too. Nice to meet you, I’m John Georges.”
I was floored. 6000 miles away from home, and I’m meeting one of the richest guys in New Orleans and the recently new owner of The Advocate newspaper, with whom I was really trying (too hard) to get a job.
During a short chat of how small of a world it is, a family two tables over chimed in. They were from New Orleans too. Their kids went to the summer camp where my roommate worked. So, there we were, having a chat in Mykonos with my potential future boss and a fellow Uptown resident. We’d been using hand signals to communicate with people for the past few weeks, so it was nice to talk to someone who spoke Yat.
And just like that, I realized that no matter where in the world you may be, New Orleans follows you like a sick puppy. It’s always behind you, making sure you don’t lose your heritage. You may not always see it. It stands in the shadows, keeping an eye on you and your drinking habits (so that they don’t diminish).
Whether it’s meeting a personal idol and local celebrity, or if you just happen to notice a little Tabasco bottle on the table, finding that little piece of home when you’re abroad will absolutely put a little what the funk smile on your face.
So, what the funk, Mr. Georges. I was on vacation.