The End of My Displacement

I am in Baltimore, essentially, because of Hurricane Katrina. Without that catastrophic event and the reactions that followed within the Tulane University administration, I would in all likelihood still be a student at Tulane. Or I may have graduated.

When people find out that my wife Amanda lives in New Orleans, while I live here, a predictable dialog ensues wherein I always end up saying that I’m here because of Katrina.

When we move to Saint Paul, MN, that will no longer be the case. Amanda wasn’t attracted to any of the family medicine residencies in New Orleans. If I had stayed in New Orleans until now, we would still probably be moving elsewhere now. Therefore, once I reach Saint Paul I will (a) no longer have conversations about living apart from my wife, because I won’t, and (b) never state that my reason for being there is related to Katrina.

Honestly, I’ll be happy to avoid the conversation. I resolved to myself that I would quit talking like a victim about the whole thing after a year had passed. For the most part, I’ve been able to hold to that resolution, but I occasionally either slip up and talk about it out of self-pity, or it comes up in conversation as mentioned above. In the latter case, I find myself slogging through the same conversation every time.

“Oh, you’re married?” they say. “Yes, ” I reply, holding up the adorned ring finger. “Why haven’t I met your wife?” they ask. “Well, she lives in New Orleans.” They usually produce some look of pity and or astonishment at this point. “Yeah, I ended up moving here as a result of Katrina fallout.” “Oh, how’s the city recovering, blah blah…” You all know conversations like this. They keep asking the obligatory questions, and I keep giving the obligatory answers, feeling like I’m talking too much about myself when I’m not inclined to talk at all (so I don’t really ask about them in return).

Looking at this, talking about Katrina is probably avoidable in these conversations, but it’s the truth. It is the simple, straightforward explanation of why I am here and my wife is there. This has come up more frequently of late, whenever I’ve needed to inform someone that I’m moving away soon, which is what made me think about it all now.

I’ll be glad to have all of that behind me, and behind us.

0 thoughts on “The End of My Displacement

  1. Amanda

    Me too. I’m pretty much feeling like I’ve healed from Katrina personally at this point, and I just don’t feel like talking about it anymore. Whenever I’m on an airplane and the questions of: “where do you live?” come up, I get rolled into the conversation about Katrina.

    For awhile it was hard because it was a sore spot, and I didn’t feel like I could talk about it without feeling worse, or maybe losing my composure. Now, it’s not such a sore spot, but there’s just not much to be said that hasn’t already been said. No, it’s not fixed. Yes, it will be awhile. Yes, the city is below sea-level. No, the infrastructure is not back.

    For once, it will be nice to talk about something else with strangers… like the weather, or other light-hearted unimportant things.