Monday, March 07, 2005

I'm not big on social graces

People, you should meet Salil. He: a) is amazingly tolerant of the chicken with its head cut off-flakiness I seem to have developed lately, b) is funny and nice and has funny and nice friends, c) will advertise for your blog at parties, and d) is not afraid to tell a story that is embarrassing at his own expense.

Since I completely wussed out on Saturday night, and drew a blank on story-telling, I decided I would embarrass myself throughout the blogosphere with this little recollection. When I lived in NJ, I was up for traveling anywhere with little notice. So off I went to New Orleans for a long weekend with a couple of acquaintances. It was a week before Fat Tuesday, so the nightly Bourbon Street outings were heating up, but not as crazy as they must be on Mardi Gras. The first night, we did the usual touristy thing of going to Pat O'Brien's to drink Hurricanes. I took two sips of mine, decided I wasn't going out this way, and passed it to this woman, Cindy, who proceeded to drink the whole thing, and was not heard from for the next 24 hours.

The next night, I found my drink of choice, Hand Grenades. I can honestly say that if I had one of those today, I'd take one sip and need a pitcher of water. They are sickeningly sweet- I'm convinced it's a throwback to the frat party punch of choice- grain alcohol + kool aid mix + dash of water for solubility. Three hand grenades later, all was crooked with the world. We had run into C & M, two guys we knew in NJ, who just happened to be visiting the Big Easy that same weekend. M, your typical belligerent drunk, punched a horse at one point that night. A police horse. Not good.

The other women had ditched us hours back. Cindy & I were walking with C & M. We thought we were walking to a bar, or some place productive. Twenty minutes later, Cindy & I were staring at a hotel facade. We went upstairs. We entered a hotel room, and finally the edges started to appear around the alcoholic blur. I turned to C & M with fire in my eyes, and yelled, "Motherf***ers, we just walked your sorry asses home!"

To which, they replied hopefully, "You can stay." Cindy & I looked at each other balefully. Both of us were well-lit, and were tired of walking up and down Bourbon Street, and then to this crap-ass part of town where C & M were staying. On principle alone, we were not falling for this shit though, and walked out of the hotel, trudging back to Bourbon Street. Cindy was doing better than me. She had learned her lesson from the Hurricane incident, and had been nursing beers all evening. The Hand Grenades had fueled me out of that seedy hotel, but they suddenly shifted their influence, and I was dead tired. So tired that I wound up sitting on a stoop from sheer exhaustion. I told Cindy I just wanted to watch everyone walking by, and she pretended that was true for about ten minutes. Then she talked me into getting up and walking the three blocks to our hotel.

The next morning, my friend Mel decided brunch was in order. She approaches traveling in a military manner. There are places to go and see, and hangovers and sleep deprivation are not impediments to her thinking. She had made reservations at a well-reviewed brunch place (The Court of Two Sisters, for any of you who have been to NO), and we were all going, damnit all to hell. I had just enough time to wash my face, down a bottle of water, and throw on the first pair of jeans I could find. They just happened to be the same jeans I had worn the night before. Yes, gross, but Hand Grenades were involved, and besides, this is supposed to be an embarrassing story, no?

So, we made it to brunch, and it was truly upscale. A jazz band was playing, people were well dressed. But I started to notice that people were staring at me. I wanted to stare back and say, "What, you've never seen a brown person who tied one on the night before?" After ten more minutes of disapproving looks, I finally mention this to Mel. She's behind me in line for the buffet, and all of a sudden lets out a yelp, and then a peel of laughter. I turned to look at her, and she was looking at the back of my jeans. There was a mirror right next to the buffet, and as I looked back to see what had sent Mel into hysterics, I noticed that there were two, large round black marks on my ASS.

Moral of the story: No matter how tired you are, don't sit on a stoop in New Orleans. Also, Hand Grenades are bad.

On a completely unrelated note, on Saturday, because the weather was so beautiful that it was impossible to do all the responsible things I should have done, M & I were wandering around the city and came across an exhibit of Ajay Gulati's work. If I wasn't pondering a near-term end to my employment, I would have bought at least one of his pieces. His web pictures do not give a true sense of the texture he is able to achieve on his canvas. M & I walked out of the gallery with a rabid crush on Gulati, though we both think he might be batting for the other team (not that there's anything wrong with that). Sigh. A fine weather day in San Francisco makes it hard for me to believe I live here, in the city that seems like a permanent vacation if you're not careful.

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