Now before you start here, you need to make sure you’ve caught up on Anna’s post in her Arena: In Real Life
What I’m going to write isn’t going to be so much a story as random anecdotes from that trip.
For starters, I knew Anna would remember the details on why Pete was a twerp. My mind thankfully deleted some of those entries to protect me and allow me to live in my bubble. Let me add that the little racist made me remember some things I find very painful about being from the South. See, he was a Virginia boy and I guess he thought that all Southerners and possibly Texans thought like he did. Now my family originally comes from Alabama, North Carolina and Georgia. In fact, some were present when Atlanta burned. My family did fight in the Civil War for the Confederates and to this day we do bash on Yankees. Now be that as it may, the Civil War ended in 1866. When I was born the Civil Rights movement was already going strong and Martin Luther King shared his Dream. I’ve never known segregation. In fact, I was a minority at my school and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. In college, the speakers group I chaired worked with the Black Student Alliance and we brought Bobby Seale to campus. For those who don’t know him, Bobby Seale was one of the leaders and co-founders of the Black Panthers and aside from Lady Bird he was one of the most impressive people I’ve ever had the priviledge to meet. When I say I’m proud to be a Texan and proud of my Southern heritage I am equally ashamed of the rampant racism that you still find today. So, being around Pete made my stomach do flip flops and wonder if anyone would really miss a midget racist if he accidentally washed up on the shores of the Mississippi.
I can’t stress enough how Pete made me come to terms with how much a person could hide their true personality over the internet.
Just another quick note on Pete before we return to the trip. Pete had purchased a shirt with the names of many of the bars on Bourbon Street. He liked to think of it as his “hit list” and was on a mission to go to all the bars listed there. Anna and I each had an invisible “Ditch the Loser” t-shirt (or maybe that was our aura) but that became our own personal mission.
Some highlights from the trip: On Gretna, yes the taxi driver did kindly let us follow him up onto the highway to get back to Gretna after we drove around some of the scarier parts of New Orleans. Our elation about being back on the highway was soon replaced by a sinking feeling as we accidentally exited. I say “we” even though I wasn’t the driver – I played the part of the useless navigator. Now how the homeless guy came to be in the car. Anna found a guy on the street selling $10 t-shirts that said something like “God Bless America” since this all took place post the Gulf War. One thing you should know about Anna is that she’s one of the most giving people I know. I, on the other hand, tend to roll up my windows and lock my doors like a good uptight citizen when I find I’m sitting at a light where a homeless person is wielding a card board “Need help. God Bless!” sign. In fact, it’s at the point where at Christmas when I pretend not to see the Salvation Army bell ringers at the mall, I think “What would Anna do?” The answer is always “Anna would give whatever cash she has on her to that nice bell ringer” and then I think, while tightly clutching my purse “that sure is nice of Anna.” So, Anna bought a shirt and gave the guy a lift to his shelter and he supposedly gave us directions in exchange.
Like Anna said, when we finally made it back to the hotel we were so excited we were literally jumping up and down on the beds giggling.
The next day we told Pete the Midget Loser that we were leaving town then we promptly went back to the Quarter and had the best time.
Highlights from that trip for me:
- Sitting in Jackson Square watching some of the most amazing street acrobats.
- Anna’s tarot reading. We never saw that guy again and I’m convinced there was something supernatural about him. I’m also completely convinced he just couldn’t be a real person. If you’ve ever seen the HBO series Carnivale, the guy and the whole situation had that kind of other worldly air.
- Muffalettas – when you only have $50 that is quickly dwindling away, one sandwich will feed two for two meals.
- Every minute after we ditched Pete.