On the corner of Panola and Burdette there lies a quaint cafe by the name of Riccobono’s. Charging 8 bucks for a meager “two, two, three,” they run a steep risk and what’s more interesting, I’ve yet to ever see a black person working in the front of house.
Upon entering I was met by the cold eyes of a murderous grip of elderly waitresses. As they peered into me over their wireframe spectacles, I greeted them with a hearty, somewhat biding “Hel-looo” and let it ring out across the dining hall.
I strolled up to the register, proceeded to great them and give the proper formalities only to be “cordially” invited to seat myself anywhere in the house. So I replied with a “Great. Thanks.” and beelined for the back of the restaurant where I had once sat three years before, probably around the same time of year in fact.
My freshman year I decided to join the Phi Kappa Psi fraternal order and upon becoming initiated, the members of the once esteemed “dash” family would meet at this restaurant to celebrate the proverbial new blood. We sat in the back then, as I sit in the back now. Yet now I sit alone and the memory of that day, in all of its so-called glory, layers over the present moment.
I write this tiny composition half in the context of the now and half in the caverns of that memory, so I can’t help but confound myself as I ponder the reality that is the human condition…the human experience. Memory and imagination, and all the ways we respond to an influx of information is simply incredible. But more than anything else it’s fascinating how we can retreat into the confines of our mind while also remaining fully immersed in the present moment.
It’s fascinating to note how our conscious minds can temporarily detach, or at least temporarily ignore, our physical entities for the sake of a more complete exploration or meditation upon any given subject. It is both mechanical and organic. It is a wrinkled fist of flesh floating between four maybe five calcified plates, plugged into a high-tech biological spacesuit and it feels as if the human mind truly is quite similar to a computer. Certainly we must have been created by something, be that by God or by another more advanced, more morally aware, civilization.
And so as I converse lightly with New Orleans finest transportation driver, one who has driven -among others – Beyoncé and lil Wayne, I realize that life is simply (truly) an intricate biological system. Interestingly enough we express our role in this system as ludic, one best represented by the metaphor of “game.” As our lane merges with the shouldering on-ramp, a truck pulls alongside us, matching our speed and we’re moving quite fast, the pockmarked concrete streaking by, the lane dividers blurring into one, white streak, and so I look at the man’s face and it’s much the same as the faces in our car: blank, peaceful, evidently lost in thought. And at that moment I realized that life is the perfectly extended metaphor, the succinct allegory despite all of its infinite intricacies. It is a system ruled by flow, a constant exchange of values, an exchange determined by contextual relativity: entities have needs and make trades in order to meet them, regardless of their sentience.