This year's Mardi Gras festivities drew the smallest crowds in the last 10, 15, or 25 years depending on who was doing the talking about such things. Which meant that you could actually walk on Bourbon Street around midnight quite comfortably. (I refuse to think about what I was quite comfortably stepping in, however.) Now that my guests have dearly departed, I am tired as hayell. Indeed, I am fagged- as I like to say these days. When I tried to get out of bed this a.m. I noticed that my cheeks were peak-ed. I was soooooo veddy ass-dragging that around 1-ish, I actually pushed the "test" button on the carbon monoxide/ smoke alarm in my bedroom just to be sure I wasn't sleeping my way to eternal nappishness. And then in my befuddled state I couldn't figure out how to turn the damn squealing thing back off again and so it screamed and I pushed buttons and finally it stopped and I still have no idea what did it. I wonder what my neighbors thought.
Mardi Gras highlights:
1.) The initial (and severe) awkwardness of meeting bloggetry people. Got past it in due course (mostly), but I have no clue how people can stand to meet someone they've been internet dating. Talk about intimidating.
2.) Walking to the Camelia Grill for breakfast. The waiters were in fine form, loudly deconstructing Philadelphia's Super Bowl performance. I put too much tabasco on my grits but it's hard to ruin grits, I say. They were still damn tasty.
3.) Sitting for what felt like hours in a cloud of cigarette smoke on my front porch, sore throat and headache developing nicely. (Every single one of my visiting friends are nicotine fiends. Lord love them.)
4.) Eating crawfish outside The Bulldog on Magazine St. before the evening parades on Monday night. I can tell you that was a lot of work for a little food. Plus, they looked so alive that I felt grossed out AND sorry for them and had to grab, twist, peel all without looking at them for the first while. Messy, messy eating.
5.) A post crawfish "Sniff my finger" joke which kept me and one other overly amused for the rest of the night. (I am a simple person, I know.)
6.) Watching the aforementioned parade in the dark on St. Charles. Getting rained on (which was yummy and liberating.) Also, eating a bag of cotton candy almost by myself, which got crunchy as the rain fell on it. And I know, I know- most people with good sense will not mix alcohol with sugary junk, but I swear to you that alcohol is sugary junk and therefore it was all more of the same and besides I wanted cotton candy and who could gainsay me?
7.) Putting in some time at Pat O'Brien's courtyard for gumbo (real food finally) and more drinks.
8.) Chicory coffee and beignets at Cafe du Monde.
9.) Okay, this one was stunning and I think it's my second favorite moment during this particular visit- but we walked down some steps to the Mississippi in the dark. The water was cold, cold and fog was covering it- I mean covering it right up to the steps at the water's edge. You couldn't really even see water but you could hear it lapping at the steps and at the stones. It was hushed and beautiful and I would have traded all of the cigarettes and dirty montoya humor in the world for more time by that river. (Not that it would be a fair trade. But life's not fair, is it?)
10.) Amazing myself with my ability to bounce back sans hangover in the morning to take the streetcar to Napoleon to see Rex parade. (I suppose the three slices of pepperoni, anchovy and black olive pan pizza and multiple glasses of water the night before probably had a little to do with that recovery. Or not. Maybe I'm a lightweight and yet invincible drinker but I doubt that.)
11.) Seeing Rex in loverly weather. The weather cooperated the whole time, actually. It was mild and slightly overcast most of the time. (Once early in the morning, it even rained buckets which I thought was most helpful because nothing is more cozy than sleeping in to the sound of a rain storm.)
12.) Taking the streetcar home alone. (Dem boys bravely marched all the way down St. Charles after Rex to the French Quarter to take pictures of breasts. They felt it was their duty. My estimation of them shot up, I must say when they returned with stories of apparently disfigured female flesh. I must needs wonder why the possessors of said flesh would want to flash strangers. (I guess exhibitionism as a tendency is not necessarily linked to attractiveness or youth). But I will say in those breasts defense that they were rather harmless, had never hurt anyone and must not be held responsible for their owners' lack of good judgment. Poor things. They are obviously in need of a good home.
13.) Working my way through a bottle of vodka (interspersed with Sobe Tsunami- yummola) with the other appreciator of the smelly fingers joke. Yep, peaceful hours on my front porch talking smack as only women can.
14.) Introducing a number of my guests for the first time to Boursin cheese and roast beef sandwiches. And yes, they are tasty. You have my word on it. I think people liked that cheese more than they liked me. It's okay. I know when I'm beaten... by a cheese.
15.) A couple of people passed out at this point and one delivered my favorite moment of this three day visit. Somebody was taking this particular personage's shoes off while I flipped open a sheet in the air above him. And as it floated down, he smiled. Eyes closed- happy. No idea why he was smiling but it was beyond adorable. (Perhaps the shoe remover was tickling his feet.)
16.) She of the vodka and Sobe Tsunami's, and I decided we should shave one particular person's face. (It seemed like a good idea at the time. I can't remember what time that was, but I can tell you that it was late.) Having thought of this person as an adorable and sometimes annoying little brother the entire time, I can tell you that this got weird fast. We were certainly not all on the same page as to why we were doing this. That bathroom was way too small a space for such foolishness. I kept having to walk out because I couldn't keep a straight face. I told Bloggles later and he said, "Well, what did you expect?" (For the record, Bloggles thinks like a guy. I, on the other hand, think like a girl. Which means I expected something different.) Still, we had much improved this fellow's appearance and I am not sorry. (Except that I did describe his previous appearance too harshly in trying to convince him of the rightness of the decision. Smack my paw.)
17.) Back to Bourbon Street a little before midnight to experience the craziness and watch the parade of police horses and cars and garbage trucks and street cleaners. Everyone applauded and then piled back into the street to party. Saw vampires, as my friend calls people who dressed up jest a tad too much in a fine video game player style. Headed to Camelia Grill for late night "breakfast" and chocolate pecan pie flipped upside down on the grill to warm and then topped with ice cream. (Yes, L, that pie is proof that God loves you.)
18.) Eating lunch at Commander's Palace with her (we had become infamous by this time and I suppose infamy calls for italics.) And DAMN that food was delicious.
19.) Checking out the offerings at Funky Monkey (vintage store on Magazine). Have become enamored of little, teeny, tiny square dancing skirts. Didn't buy one there because I didn't like the colors they had. Must order one soon, though. Way too cute. Bought a cool, stretchy orange t-shirt thing with lots and lots of extra fabric to it that allows the wearer to tie it in a million different ways. Fun, fun. (Of a girl sort.)
20.) Picking up my dog from the kennel and dragging him around Audubon for an hour. The park was gorgeous, my dog was cute and my iPod loves me. (To this day.)
21.) Dealing with a good friend's crisis which caused me to miss dinner at Jacques-Imo's Cafe. (I will make that one up soon, I can tell you.) But I did get sweet potato pecan pie out of the whole deal so I'm pretty happy. (This one seems very un-Mardi Gras-esque, but life happens.)
22.) After some excitement at the thought that the dog had peed on a guest (he yerped apparently- far lower on the gross out scale, but still pretty gross) my guests left. Which is what guests do. Eventually. Whether you like it or not.
23.) I like my friends immensely, but I must confess to having become tired and cranky at points. Let's be honest- if I'd ever had to live in a college dorm, par example, I would have imploded. Bloggles points out that this was college-ish fun and that I am, at heart, a 70 year old lady. (Bloggles is so helpful.) Next time I will serve tea and watercress sandwiches so there will be no confusion. At least not for me.
24.) An hour after they left, I experienced a huge rebounding of fondness for them. (Which is not to say that I was not feeling fond while they were here, just that I felt even more fondness for them after they'd gone. What does that say about me? If it's not nice, don't tell me. I have experienced all of the personal weakness I can stand for a while.)