Ok, the high school application is turned in, and now all we can do is wait, wait, wait. Until the first week in March. Next will come the interviews — with parents, the prospective student, and the student’s teachers. Placement exams. Waiting. Then more waiting. I swear I’m more nervous than my kid. I guess that’s what parents mean when they talk about everything being more important when it’s your own child. I’ve always known I would throw myself in front of a speeding train for either of mine; now I know what it’s like to want the very best for them and not let anything stand in the way of their success.
The city that I work in, and live just outside of, is changing daily. And drastically. It’s the capital city, but it has never been the largest city. Large enough to house the government and a lot of industry, but small enough to maintain its southern charm. We pride ourselves on our manners, our friendly nature. But Hurricane Katrina has changed all that. We have entire communities of travel trailer homes. We have three or four times the amount of traffic. And the news is that we will replace New Orleans as the largest city in the state. And I don’t want that to happen. It was comfortable before. It’s unfamiliar and a bit scary now. New Orleans will never be what it was. While the French Quarter and other historical and familiar areas escaped the brunt of the damage, they’ll never be the same. Many of the people have left the city and said they will not return. Many have settled here. Many have left the state. My heart goes out to those people. Imagine losing not only your home, which is horrible in and of itself, but losing your neighborhood, your neighbors, your friends. Losing where you grew up. Not like moving away but knowing it is still there, but losing it completely. Everything that was your life. Gone.

This city, the city that I call home, is being negatively affected as well. Not the destruction and devastation — I count my blessings every day that I still have my comfortable house, with the carpet that needs replacing and too small a master bathroom — but the makeup of the city. Traffic controls cannot accommodate the volume of cars. Local stores are overcrowded, understocked, and understaffed. People look unfamiliar. Retailers ask for I.D. when you present your credit card for purchases. And the lines. The constant lines. People standing in lines for everything. Some of them are truly needy, having been displaced by an act of nature that we’ll be talking about for decades. And some of them aren’t. Quite simply, some are opportunists. Motivated by greed, they will not accept the hundreds of jobs available to them in this city as well as New Orleans. Heck, there’s even free bus transportation to and from New Orleans several times a day for those who want to work. But they will choose to stand in line. Any line. Today, folks queued up by the dozens, for hours, because someone started a rumor that Oprah was distributing funds to people affected by the storm. Oprah didn’t show. Never intended to. Just a rumor. More anger. Well I hate to tell you folks, but I’m angry too. But for a different reason.

I apologize. I have neither ranted nor raved for a couple days and even I miss myself. I’ll be back. Please stick around.