Thursday, March 10, 2011

Unconditional Love

Mardi Gras is over and I'm glad. There I said it. I tried to give it a chance but have figured out that I just don't like it. I will say that I do enjoy Mardi Gras Day (Fat Tuesday) which has a great local vibe and so many beautiful costumes (I envy the creativity of some people!) but the weekend leading up to the day is pretty awful. During that weekend the city is crowded with people who's main goal is to see how much they can drink and still stay alive. Not all who participate in Mardi Gras are of that mentality, I hear there is a large family atmosphere at the parades, but in the French Quarter drunkenness seems to be the goal. The idiocy is tiresome. And it wears on you. Now, I'm not saying that I never drink, but I can say that I drink MUCH less than I used to. And when I do get drunk I annoy myself at times, so I'm certainly not going to enjoy a city full of out of control drunks. With that being said, it only happens once a year and I can always choose to spend it in the house watching movies, as I have before, while staying open to the possibility of a one of a kind experience if it is offered. Mardi Gras is great for the city (financially) and it ain't goin' anywhere. An easy thing to accept in a city that offers you so much more.

Further thoughts on drinking.........I guess I've grown out of it to an extent or maybe I'm just getting old but I don't see the allure of  not being able to "get right" for two solid days after tying one on. Again, not saying that it doesn't happen, just fewer times and far between. And when it does happen, I try to annoy as few people as possible with my antics and just go to bed when I need to. It didnt used to be like this, drinking was the life of the party and I enjoyed doing it. It was no problem drinking on consecutive nights of the week, I actually wanted to! Now, if I overdo it I can't even THINK about alcohol the next day. I don't love it like I used to. But there are just some afternoons when walking through The Quarter, passing the open door of a barroom, that smell just hits you....that perfect combination of stale beer, booze, and cigarettes that makes you want to just drop everything and grab a stool. I usually can't do this, but the want is still there. I prefer afternoon drinking in grittier bars where your company is usually older "gentlemen" chain smoking and drinking shots with beer chasers, and something like "Bonanza" is on the tv. A small neighborhood bar offers a sort of escape from the daily grind. But then again, can also become part of the daily grind. And this is what always happens for me, that line is always there. I enjoy the atmosphere of certain bars....the darkness, the characters, the sound of the ice in the glass, the camaraderie, the swirls of smoke, the jukebox. But I sometimes don't enjoy the results....the hangover, the regrets, the unhealthiness of it all, the questions - "Did I make an ass out of myself?" was always popular, the losses - money, keys, credit card, license, phone. In most cases, for me, the bad outweighs the good and I don't "get loaded" nearly as often as I used to. But there are some days in The Quarter when the lure is too strong and I gotta give in. I just prepare myself for the regrets. And the shame. Because the shame is there, though not always warranted. I find that in New Orleans, shame is mostly in your mind. Because New Orleans will always accept and forgive you. She loves you unconditionally.

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