To any Southerner, last Krewe De Vieux Saturday felt insanely cold. Inhuman. 60-degrees at least. Later someone told me 29-degrees. My god, where am I?
I felt cold on the inside as well, this being the first Mardi Gras event Id ever attended solo, without Mizzy, my girlfriend of six-and-a-half years. We broke up finally, this New Years Eve. I'm unready for Mardi Gras like this. But assuming I would live, I forced myself onto my bike. Everything would be OK, I hoped. I would surely crash into some friends to distract from my woes. Pedaling past Marky Park from Bywater down to Mimis in the Marigny, I definitely noticed I'd forgotten my gloves, but a pint of $7.92 whiskey from Schiros would help combat the air, and everything else.
As I locked to her front patios iron rail on Royal, an old balding woman wrapped in a bathrobe and blanket sweetly bemoaned to me how the parade used to pass right by her door. She wouldn't walk that one block tonight though; she could see the giant papermache penises well enough from her stoop, she believed. Ten steps from her, the crowd of friends I'd hoped for all hugged me and passed around my whiskey and already I felt warmer. We proceeded to hoot and howl through the best high quality Krew De Vieux parade Id yet seen -- seemingly more ambitious and together, though a gyp on time, no more than 20 minutes. We all unanimously decided though, that a short-but-great parade in the freezing cold is better than a too-long one. And I did snatch the best throw of my seven-year Mardi Gras career: a necklace with a giant light-up flashing dollar sign. I was also per usual for Krewe De Vieux -- handed canary yellow condoms. Knowing that somewhere else along the parade route, Mizzy was being handed colored condoms too, I shivered again, before tossing mine onto the ground. Time now, to really drink.
Inside Mimis was an overbooked madhouse. Mimis is usually my bar, but tonight it was everyones, too many people's. The dense sea of partiers barely seemed to shift, until some neighborhood dealer would sneak in, at which point suckers made for the ATM. This is New Orleans. Self-destructiveness gets boring. Gotta go.
After escaping the madhouse, I followed St. Roch Street down to the Noo Moon compound. For many years before VooDoo Fest ever hosted a BINGO tent, the Noo Moon guys curated VooDoos only secondary stage, without any direct patronage from the festival itself. During my years here, the Noo Moon guys have done more to entertain the Bywater than any other collective. Or they've tried to, at least; tonight the cold kept folks away. In the cozy Noo Moon livingroom, five people sat on couches watching two guys pound crazy techno music out of ten keyboards.
I then stopped back off at Schiros for another whiskey pint, though Id already drank enough to not shiver pedaling alone again, over to R-Bar -- which I hear is now owned by Los Angelinos Greg Dulli of Afghan Whigs and his partner Dave Neupert, who put out the last Morning 40 Federation album. People at the door warned me the inside was too tangled. So outside I attached to a crew of blond girls in their early 20s. I myself will be 34 the day after Mardi Gras. In my one month of bachelorhood so far, the several women I've hung with have been an average age of about 24. To some this may sound ideal. I dont know how it sounds. I dont have the heart right now to listen close and decide.
More and more whiskey and a Jude Matthews sighting later, two young girls accompanied me on their bikes to Mod Dance Party at Saturn Bar. Though Ive lived here long enough to have become completely sick of celebrating the past (Id always boycotted Mod Dance Party, as well as 80s night [I'm old enough to feel like Ive lived through the 80s three times already], in hopes that some DJ would some day bravely spin modern music) I was excited to go and dance. I've rarely ever danced, but have found myself doing so often since that fateful New Years Eve. Mostly with very young girls who, though very intelligent, are for the first time experiencing the 80s.
As two such girls rode behind me, my bike threw me off hard onto the tar. Scraped me up beneath my clothes. Not due to drunkenness; just a rickety old bike (to which I'd previously felt nothing but benevolence). I swear I'd been sober and lucid enough to at least land on my hands and knees. My hands smacked the pavement, zapped totally numb. My giant dollar sign necklace cracked and stopped flashing. Knees screaming and again wishing I'd worn my gloves, I limped about in the road for a bit, bending over, wiping my nose, breathing the frozen air. Oh my god you made my heart stop! one of the girls said. Thanks, I replied. Ill take what I can get. Riding on in the extreme cold, I could not feel the handlebars in my raw, corpse dead hands.
Then I danced for like two hours. With cute young blonds who shared my new whiskey. The music at Mod Dance Party was OK: oldies that were nonetheless mostly new to me and featured killer drums. I recognized the girl DJ, who used to work at Circle Bar. Whenever Id buy a drink from her and attempt small talk (in the days when Mizzy and I were more than content), she would would treat me like I were the type of fellow who might try and slip her rohyphnol. I believe firmly in Southern Hospitality: even if you dont feel like being nice, you are here, so you best fake it. For example: I never tell unfriendlies that they're socially retarded, because that wouldn't be hospitable either.
After two hours dancing to rude girl's retro records and emptying that second whiskey bottle, I abandoned the night to ride very slowly home, now oblivious to the weather -- ignoring Mimi's as I passed, when I always at least peak in the window.
At home I slept soundly at first, but soon woke with a start, obnoxiously early, missing Mizzy terribly. My legs throbbed from last night's fall. When I pulled the covers back, my right knee looked to have two kneecaps, as gory as James Cahns feet in Misery. Misery. Mizzyry. Oh Mizzy Between her, and these knees, and this hangover, the pain provoked small tears.
I tried unsuccessfully to fall back asleep, and have faith that Mardi Gras heals all.
God's speed, Rodrigue
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