The title of this blog post is relatively misleading because I am entering my 2nd Mardi Gras but my first experiencing it as a local.
To check in: it’s been a very rough week. A lot has been happening in the backdrop of my life that bleeds out so I feel wildly ineffective in doing much of anything.I know tomorrow will be better and this week will be kinder to me.
Mardi Gras also has that funny way of being a blessing and a curse, a bipolar, bizarre, worst nightmare and dreamiest reality all congealed into one breathing, pulsing experience. So with the backdrop of dramatics in my life this week, Mardi Gras arrives and it looks one of two ways:
Unicorns banging in a float down Frenchmen Street, standing out in the storm getting soaked to watch a parade, all of my layers super-saturated and leaking rain but I’m so full of elation and disbelief that wow, this happens here, I never thought this happened anywhere in the world and I am here to witness it. Watching kids dance to This Is How We Do It and being EXTREMELY jealous that I will never be as uninhibited as many people are, chasing after floats desperately trying to catch beads and plush toys and ornaments and plastic swords and all kinds of goofy shit that all of sudden ALL OF THE THINGS are stuffed in my purse, pockets, arms, and throws are all littered around me in the mud and I’m like WHAT THE FUCK, THIS IS AMAZING, THIS IS REAL LIFE. Watching kids and adults get just as excited about the experience of just being present in this bizarre place and feeling wow, this is something. This is something. Volunteers scrubbing the parade route and within minutes the St. Charles streetcar tracks look good as new, and you can’t help but think wow, if you choose to do this for your community service you are a fucking incredible human.
Traffic. Endless traffic. Traffic backing up Claiborne and St. Charles and winding through Uptown, nope can’t get through to my house because a parade is blocking the street, an extra 30 minutes for a five minute drive. Trying to find Lyft and Uber and taxis and it doesn’t matter where you are trying to go, they just cannot get to YOU. Walking through an abandoned parade route in ruined boots stepping in wet shit and knowing it is spilling on your legs and simultaneously not wanting to figure out precisely what the wet shit is, because you know you’d rather be unaware. Dirty diapers along the parade route. Walking down Napolean to the Walgreens alone and crying with new red lipstick on and tourists walking past in glossy beads and you just want to punch the shit out of them, watching those same people with a hawk’s eye knowing to avoid them like the plague if their eyes are bloodshot because if you have to run, you only have flip-flops and you are bound to trip and fall or bust open your big toe or some other extreme inconvenience. Waiting at home watching shitty Lifetime movies while a parade rolls a few blocks away and wishing like hell you could be anywhere else at any other time, the tip of Maine or Calgary or somewhere with some goddamn snow, because you don’t think you can ever get used to this circus.