WordBowl Word of the Day LAWLESSNESS courtesy of Hogan Gorman

Actor. Activist. Author.

Kicking off this "lawlessness" adventure with BATHROOM LAUGHTER at Mother's Ruin

Kicking off this “lawlessness” adventure with BATHROOM LAUGHTER at Mother’s Ruin

New Orleans, point of origin, cross-country road trip, three Southern chicks, U-Haul jammed: inherited furniture, dashed familial expectations, historical baggage. Westward Ho! Adventuring to, or escaping from. Early twenties, confident in the uniqueness of our private pains.

Night before, toasting, one of us toppled off a barstool, broken wrist. Lost a day: hospital, sympathy cocktails, final family fights, farewells.

First days, road-thrill, sloping scenery, states slipping past. Speeding ticket, hilarious, stopped by a cop, did not recognize us or our last names. Revel in anonymity, assume — still— our parents would fix it with the presiding judge, as was custom. Roadside motels, novelty, tacit understanding one of us lacked unlimited funds.

Vistas flattened, air staled, radio stations dissolved to static. Truck cab squeezed by thoughts not voiced and road trip accoutrements acquired. An ex-but-still-friends stop, local concert, return to a vehicle too tight to accommodate our accompanying hangovers and lingering resentment, petty grievances.

Hauled through Colorado, up to Aspen without benefit of snow gear, it was summer where we started. Missed connection, misplaced address. Costume change in the back of U-Haul, taking turns, naked among reminders of what we chose to leave. Drinks, to facilitate the Figuring Out of What to Do. New friends, the kind who Day Drink their way into the night. Our kind of folk. We stand on barstools, buy rounds of shots for the natives, to prove we come in peace.

Mezcal-based TERRIBLE LOVE at Death & Co.

Mezcal-based TERRIBLE LOVE at Death & Co.

Party swells, fast friends commandeering pool tables, cigarettes, recreational party favors on our behalf. The friends-of-friends, Southern trust fund ski bums who agreed to accommodate us for the night, finally found, join the fray.

Night speeds, accelerates, swerves. Flirtations ignited, flamed out. Cards and cash tossed like cocktail napkins. Cotton shoved up a nose, no more hospitals this trip, soldier on. Hunter S. Thompson jokes, comparisons, we wore our Fear and Loathing with pride. We did not know we had gone too far until we arrived, wild-eyed, to the point of no return.

Morning, murderous, miraculous. Rode road, veered towards Utah, roadside emergency pee, another car, soldier returning from a war we watched on television, sly smoke offer, turns taking puffs. Drove through Moab, gaped at red rocks, slack-jawed, cotton-mouthed, questing for beer in a dry county. Squeaked through Nevada City, hit hotel slots, won twenty bucks.

COCKPIT OF PEACE at The Beagle (originally found in the classic 1947 tome "Barflies & Cocktails"

COCKPIT OF PEACE at The Beagle (originally found in the classic 1947 tome “Barflies & Cocktails”

Conversation deserted. Desperate for fresh clothes, fresh audiences, we high-tailed, two of us taking turns at the wheel, the cramped middle, not glaring at the one relieved of responsibility, sleeping against window, blond hair fanning her cast.

Abandoned U-Haul illegal, clinging to a hill, tickets tossed, we did not yet possess California licenses. Furniture and luggage left to languish as we danced, dove, drank. Tow-threatened, truck emptied at last, possessions scrambled, never rectified.

Told tales of this trip to strangers, never with each other.

We scattered. One scrabbled the globe, self-discovery, marriage, children. Another catapulted to career heights. Only one of us hit jail, momentary, before settling. All returned to respectability.

But underneath, lurking, reckless possibility.

As you might surmise, the writing of “lawlessness” required a cocktail road trip of sorts:

 BATHROOM LAUGHTER at Mother’s Ruin (nolita, nyc)

TERRIBLE LOVE at Death & Co. (east village, nyc)

THE COCKPIT OF PEACE at The Beagle (east village, nyc)

Do you have a favorite word? Send it along!


WordBowl Word-of-the-Day “diaphanous” provided by the indomitable Ms. Nancy.


Like all good little Southern girls, I took ballet lessons, visions of Sugar Plums (the byproduct of numerous ballet picture books) dancing in my head. The instructor, Miss Silvia — who was even to our inexperienced eyes a bit too adult and a bit too once-married to be a “Miss” — ignored me in favor of the more wispy girls whose limbs were as long and straight as their hair.

My hair long but unruly, legs strong but short. A package altogether too bulky for ballerina dreams.

DE LA LOUISIANE (rye, cognac, Benedictine, dash of Paychaud bitters, Absinthe rinse) WordBowl thematic cocktail from Dan at The Beagle

Thematic DE LA LOUISIANE (rye, cognac, Benedictine, dash of Paychaud bitters, Absinthe rinse) cocktail at The Beagle

In my mind, I embodied the grace of the porcelain ballerina figurines on my Grandmother Marie’s dresser in her New Orleans home. Her home, although PawPaw lived there, too, when he was still alive, between ocean voyages to the Continent, the Orient, exotic ports from which he returned with embroidered finery, flouncy hats, delicate kimonos perfectly sized for his toddler granddaughter.

Accompanying the figurines was a silver-framed, black-and-white photo of Grandmother Marie — never shortened to a more informal term of endearment, no “grandma” was she — bejeweled, in a gown of spun sugar at a Mardis Gras ball, one of her thirteen sisters beside her.

Lissome, those figurines, commanding center stage upon the Pledge-polished surface. One balanced in an arabesque, the finely wrought layers of her tutu ruffling against the pale of her outstretched leg. Another frozen in a graceful curtsy, an arm extended, awaiting or beckoning an invisible partner, her dancing prince, to alight, bear her aloft. The last bowed low, head averted, clean sharp part in her dark painted hair, a sheaf of pale roses, baby’s breath as ethereal as the real thing, cradled in her angled arms.

In my young mind I categorized them as “dolls”, albeit ones I only touched surreptitiously after family dinners of soft-shell crab po’ boys or jambalaya, while the adults lazed and told stories of relatives both living and deceased.

Channeling the spirit of Hemingway with THE SEA AND THE AIR (Vpioca Cachaca Prata, grapefruit, wisp of lavendar, dash of Marischino Luxardo) at Goat Town

Invoking the spirit of Hemingway with THE SEA AND THE AIR (Vpioca Cachaca Prata, grapefruit, wisp of lavendar, dash of Marischino Luxardo) at Goat Town

Grandmother Marie treated me with the distant jocularity of the childless despite the obvious evidence of her motherhood. When she passed away after a lengthy hospital stay tenuously tethered to life support, shrouded by scrims, surrounded by family, my parents, solemn, said she wanted me to take the ballerinas home.

But an aunt swept through, stripped Grandmother Marie’s home of all items of potential value, my family’s haul limited to an ancient television console, a pair of pristine white vinyl love seats, a cutting from her prosperous fig tree we planted outside my bedroom window, from which I plucked plump figs for breakfast most mornings.

I never saw my dancers again — the aunt kept them in a box in her attic, not on display ­­— it was as though they dresser-danced only in my imagination.

My ballet lessons continued at the behest of my coach, a necessary component of competition gymnastics training, of expressing muscular power with grace. Grace I may not have achieved, but I did learn the best dancers have the most malformed feet and gossamer-looking tutus are in actuality manufactured out of unforgiving fabric.

Today’s WordBowl Word-of-the-Day is an east/west affair: Cocktail inspiration from The Beagle (yes, again, but Dan makes a southern cocktail redolent of New Orleans, so this was a thematic choice) and Goat Town (both, east village). 

Caffeine injection at Whynot Coffee (west village) brewing Blue Bottle Coffee (a little SF in NYC)

whynot coffee

whynot coffee

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