Our friend James Conrad, not to be confused with the author of Lord Jim and Heart of Darkness, is staying with us for a few days.
[Update: It’s been brought to my attention that Joseph Conrad wrote those books. I knew that. Really, I did. I think I was confused because James and I discussed Heart of Darkness a few times. He even borrowed my copy to read it.]
James is half-Mexican, half-German, all American and 100% old school New Orleans. His apartment in Algiers is largely undamaged, but he hasn’t been back to the city since he evacuated, just before the storm.
He really has no reason to hurry back. Holy Cross college, where he was studying, is not re-opening until January. James was taken in by a Good Samaritan in Senitobia, Mississippi, and he’s been hanging out there or traveling ever since.
Now his travels have taken him to visit us in Bloomington, Indiana. Having grown up in New Orleans, he finds the fall foliage a special treat, and the leaves are pretty much at their peak right now.
So today we took James for a hike out at the Cedar Bluff Nature Preserve. Beautiful, but I was amazed at how rough the trail was. Not quite what I remembered. I was worried that James wasn’t going to make it.
It’s a little stressful entertaining a guest when Xy and I have so many serious things to talk about.
An exacerbating factor is the strange sense of humor James has. He seems to think that pretending to be a rude, misogynistic bigot is funny. He’s going for shock value, I guess. It’s just an act, but it gets really old. I’ve tried to tell him. I wish he would be real, just be himself, because he’s actually a nice person behind that crusty exterior.
James, if you ever read this — take the hint, please!