It’s Mardi Gras. Whoop-de-fuck. I am currently suffering from what appears to be a low level….something. My temperature is 97.2. How cold does one have to get to be considered clinically dead?

Here’s my Mardi Gras story:
I’ve only been once. A friend of mine was writing her thesis on the carnivalesque (really) and needed to go to Mardi Gras for research (really!) so we hopped in the car, went down 95 to the eye-one-oh, stopping only once–at the Oasis Truck Stop in Robertsdale, AL (which is right next door to the River Styx Fun Park), where a whole room of truckers were watching Drugstore Cowboy on bigscreen TV. We pulled into New Orleans around 3 am and drove down to the Garden District where a friend of a friend of a friend had purportedly promised to put us up.

When we arrived at the house, no one was there except at pooch whose guard-dog duties seemed to involve finding new and impressive places to shit on the front porch. Soon enough, someone arrived. He wasn’t the guy who was putting us up, but we managed to ascertain that he was one of his roommates. He allowed us inside the stinking hellpit and offered us a seat on the fetid couch. The dog (Binger) enthusiastically mauled us. We were exhausted, but since we still hadn’t met the guy who was putting us up (What was his name? Joe? Let’s call him that) we thought that asking his roommate where his bedroom was would be a bit impolite.

Meanwhile, someone else arrived home. He wasn’t Joe either. In fact, I don’t even recall if he lived in the house. He was high on crystal meth and Cisco and had a number of (possibly homeless, banged-up-brass-instrument-laden) elderly gentlemen in tow. They joined us on the couch. No one could understand what the old guys were saying, and vice versa, but me. This made me the de facto ombudsman. The tweaker (we’ll call him Cedric, because he was wearing a rather blousy white shirt) was busying himself with rapidfire questions to the old men, mostly about music. I was forced to translate. How about Miles Davis? You like him? Did you know him? [I left that last part out.] What about his sound, huh? You know, the *hmmmm*! Yeah, the *bizzbizzbizz*? I imagine this is what it’s like to work at the UN.

It was 4:30. At one point Binger tore through the room and knocked over a 3-foot-tall bong, which unleashed a torrent of odious, stagnant bongwater across the carpet in front of us. I went to find the first roommate, who came in with a towel and a can of Lysol. “Man, that shit is foul,” he observed as he threw the towel down over the puddle and sprayed it liberally. “Hey, if you guys want to keep yourself entertained until Joe gets home, you’re welcome to watch a movie. We got a projection TV.” The bongwater bog summarily dismissed, he popped a tape into the Pleistocene-era projection box and hit play.

So for the next hour the 3 elderly gentlemen, Cedric, my traveling companions and I watched Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling. This may be the point at which I started to cry. The traveling companions and I decided fuck this noise went off to find Joe’s bedroom.
New OrleansGiven to rapacious wishful thinking, we chose the tidiest bedroom and went to sleep. Ten minutes later, however, the housemate who originally let us in the house rousted us to the tune of “This isn’t Joe’s room and you can’t sleep here. Joe’s room is in the basement.”

Do you remember that brief point in time when it was de rigeur to own a house with a finished basement with the paneling and the shag and the foosball table? Yeah? Well, this wasn’t one of those houses. But I digress.

We went downstairs to find crumbling shale walls stained with saltwater Virgin Mary-like patterns. We found a table made out of a beer keg and a stop sign, covered with mouldering cups of beer, and two couches with mushrooms growing on them. But hey! It was something. Yeah. It afforded us a few hours of necessary sleep.

When Joe finally appeared sometime around 10:30, he sounded his arrival by knocking over the stop-sign coffee table. “Whoops. Hey. Sorry. Um. What are you guys doing sleeping out here?”

I was glad he’d woken us when he did, because I had begun to develop a significant ache in my lungs that made me suspect a rich panoply of fungi had invaded my respiratory system, creating a sort of terrarium effect in my ribcage. “Um, we were told this was where you lived?” I coughed.

“Nah, dude. My bedroom’s over there, behind that curtain, over there. I got a futon and a king-size bed in there.”

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I could go on, but that was really the interesting part of the story. The rest of the day was spent drinking foolish mixtures of alcohol and showing my breasteses to churls.* And I’m sure I’ve blogged about that enough times already.

Anyhow, happy Mardi Gras. Someone stick a fork in my ass.

*Actually, I didn’t show my tits to anybody. I have no objection to public nudity (heck, can we get a pie chart here to break down who hasn’t seen my boobs into some sort of microdemographic?) but what’s the point if everyone else is doing it? ‘Sides, I got plenty of beads without even trying.

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