The three appropriately named parades we attended tonight at Mardi Gras. I have so many mixed emotions in my head right now. We spent almost six hours sitting on St. Charles Avenue tonight, at least half of which Mary’s six year old daughter Ari spent crying and holding her ears. Her school sent them on a field trip to Mardi Gras World so she was excited but also on the road to worn out by the time the three back to back parades started. And once the parades start, there is no leaving, traffic is stopped for miles all around the parade route. She did fine last night with several hours of parades in the pouring rain, but tonight she was miserable. In the end she was given a Muses shoe, probably the hardest throw in the entire season to get so she went home happy. And I got another LED tambourine, courtesy of Mary. I had to buy one last year on Ebay (I collect tambourines), so that was the highlight of the evening for me. But I was acutely aware of poor Ari’s misery all night. She eventually fell asleep thank goodness. And Mary couldn’t understand how a child who got a Wii and a dozen Monster High dolls for Christmas could fail to be impressed by the cheap (but pretty) beads and the random stuffed toy, since she grew up in a time when catching one toy in a season was a miracle.
I dressed up in my tackiest, brightest parade clothes (and a jacket, it’s a night parade, I’m not stupid). I can’t find my wigs, they’re buried somewhere in my storage room so I had to wear my own hair. And even though the weather was perfect, we had great seats, good parking, we lots of friends attending, and were watching one of the best parades in the city, I was numb by the end of the night also. I don’t know why, or maybe I do, but I realized about halfway through that I was kind of ambivalent to the whole thing tonight. I’ve been off of Celexa for weeks, but it was kind of the same numb feeling you have on SSRI’s, like your face is numb and you feel like everyone knows it. Maybe it’s my MS, wish I knew… I’ve noticed after going to the parades for three years now I often feel a weird mixture of pissed off, annoyed and left out, wondering how I got here. Part of it is I’m hanging out with people who grew up going to the parades, who are bead magnets that can catch them with their eyes closed. There is also something akin to a religious frenzy, bordering on what feels like, but really rarely is, a dangerous mob mentality when the float stops moving because of a kink somewhere ahead and the crowd swarms the floats, screaming at the riders for shoes and stuffed animals, knocking each other out of the way to retrieve the items thrown from the floats before they hit the ground. Then there are the thousands of teen marching bands, dancers and natives strutting like they’re on Soul Train, which can also make you feel older and whiter than you ever thought you could possibly be 😉 Though it’s funny to see all the girls, in every shape and size you can imagine, in their skin tight sequined, spandex outfits marching along proudly as if they were all picture perfect. Which of course, they are with that amount of self confidence.
And while the child cried, another of our friends listened to her mp3 player, completely ignoring the parade, wishing she were elsewhere. I tried to get into the spirit, I brought two Dr. Pepper’s mixed with Jager, but still didn’t feel the rhythm of the music playing, even though I could feel the vibration in my bones. Mary and I observed after we got home how hard it is to actually get even a little bit drunk at real parades, even if you try, it’s nearly impossible to even get a little buzz. Our theory is it’s the mixture of the crowds, being outdoors, the constant movement and noise, and having to maintain the necessary hand/eye coordination to achieve the combination of catching things for fun and not getting physically injured at the same time for hours on end that keeps you sober. Oh well.
So I was quiet on the entire ride home while Mary chatted nonstop about the traffic. I heard everything but felt so detached it worried me. And not the least bit drunk. I kept having flashbacks to several weeks ago when I had an accident in the same area that had cost me the front end of my car. And I suddenly realized how much one of my back teeth was hurting, which I think I’ve lost a filling in and feels jagged and suddenly painful after several weeks of not attending to it after I first noticed the roughness with my tongue.
When we got home, I found a package on the porch for me. A gorgeous aqua negligee I had ordered a few weeks ago when Mary and I were shopping in the Galleria in Nordstrom’s the day we left town, after a five day visit to Houston for a friend’s wedding and to pick up a computer and a gun (a birthday present for me) at my late brother’s apartment. We had ran into Aaron at Numbers unexpectedly that weekend after we had been broken up and been apart for several weeks after a miserable Christmas visit where everything seemed to progressively go wrong and it had been like old times. He was fit and happy, had noticeably lost weight and looked great, he had been exercising daily, he was sober and we talked and danced all night and had what was probably one of our best dates ever. I had spent the night with him that morning before we left and we parted on good terms, and Mary wanted to stop at the Galleria to shop for shoes before we left town, and she wanted to shop for lingerie, a ‘requirement’ for her husband to compensate for the trip, so we went to Nordstrom’s and I decided to look around also. I found the same chemise in black and pink, but fell in love with the aqua, which was not in stock in my size so the salewoman ordered it for me.
But Aaron and I attempted another more extreme visit last weekend, a boot camp of sorts for me to join him in his daily workouts, including getting up at literally dawn, and everything went wrong again. So the arrival of the tiny bit of silky blue fabric in a box that could have held a dozen of them just made me sad.
I somehow took exactly 666 photos tonight, which is weird in several ways besides the numbers. It means that I obviously spent way too much time as an observer instead of a participant, which I know adds to the detachment I felt. I have it down to a boring science, step out on the street, take a photo of the beginning of the float (the artistry involved fascinates me and I feel neglectful if I fail to document even one of them), lower the camera as the float approaches while trying to alternately catch and dodge the throws, once I’ve ascertained whether I have a chance at catching anything interesting of not, then raising the camera and snapping some of the riders and crowd. Rinse and repeat. I do try and get some candid and artsy photos too, but my new camera is
slow to focus at night and that adds to my frustration. Also the
thought of downloading and editing through so many photos is both exhilarating and kind of
depressing. I’m actually looking forward (as best someone with OCD and a photo fetish can) to a ball we’re attending Sunday night where there are no photos allowed.
Then there’s the apartment. It’s so close to being competed it’s driving me nuts, and the construction guys have loyally shown up almost every day, which is unheard of in this city during carnival. The only major thing left to do is lightly sand and revarnish the floors, which means all my furniture is still stuck in storage till after the parades have stopped. And Mary’s cousin and her husband will be sleeping there before I get to (albeit on an air mattress), because I am living in the guest quarters they have permanently reserved for Mardi Gras. But ironically they’re bringing their dogs (we’re refinishing the floors because of the damage done by the previous tenants dogs), so that worked out well. I love them both and can’t wait to see them again, but it’s still feels weird. Last year I was sleeping on the air mattress, though, so yay me.
On the upside the washer and dryer have been installed and the water was turned back on today and I got to do my first load of laundry in the new dryer and semi-new washer, which are fabulous and much higher quality than my apartment or the ones I owned in my house.
I got my first real mail today, addressed to me and not ‘current occupant’, the new issue of Gothic Beauty.
And I got to decorate my porch in beads.