Fat Tuesday

My friends in New Orleans are celebrating Mardi Gras. I am celebrating another day of sobriety.

I used to love making lists of party destinations. I wanted to experience the greatest festivals around the world. Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. St Patrick’s in Dublin. Full Moon parties in Thailand. Oktoberfest in Munich. I have been to some and made drunk mistakes while living it up. I now wonder if I could still attend the ones I missed and enjoy them sober.

Mistake #35- I was on a cross-country trip with a friend and we planned to stay in New Orleans for two nights. We stayed with a family she knew in Metairie, a suburb of the city. We were in luck that this was the beginning of the Mardi Gras season. The first night I went to bed early because I was tired from driving. The next night we were going to the French Quarter to celebrate!

Before we went out, I was had lunch alone and was checking Facebook on my phone. It was Valentine’s Day. I noticed that the guy I recently stopped seeing changed his FB status to “in a relationship.” We only broke up the previous week. And in the two months we dated, we never had that status. I texted him asking if that was why he wanted to stop seeing me. He replied “sort of.” I asked if he was seeing her while dating me and he said “kind of.” I was furious.

I went back to the house we were staying to get my friend and get ready for the night. I needed to get trashed. We were going to hit Bourbon Street and I was gonna forget about him. We dressed up fancy and I put on a Venetian mask that I bought that day. It was beautiful and about $25. We began to hit the bars at happy hour. I think we had dinner in there somewhere. We watched mini parades of people playing music. We went to bars that had balconies to get good views of the people.

I began “earning” beads. My fancy black dress was easy to flip down for quick flashing. I drank a lot of shots and would toast to the ex-boyfriend “FUCK HIM” with each one. He was from Los Angeles so I started to bash all Californian men. “SCREW THEM ALL!” My friend said I was pretty funny but she was worried about me cause I kept falling. And I was getting serious about earning my beads.

I woke up the next day in a hotel bed. My dress was laying on the floor next to the bed. My pile of beads (at least 30) was laying on top of my dress. I found one of my earrings on the nightstand. My Venetian mask was missing. No one was in my room. I sort of remember kissing a guy from a local university in one of the bars. I put on my dress and searched for the missing earring. It was a pretty, yellow amber one I bought in Germany. As I was searching, a guy walked in. I looked at him and tried to piece together if I knew him and what was his name. He must have noticed my confusion cause he laughed and said “A. went out to lunch. He will be back soon.” Oh yes… that was college boy’s name. I thanked him. He said something about my huge collection of beads. I gathered them up into my arms. I wrote my number and email on hotel stationery and said “if you guys find my earring, please send it to me.” I had no plans to really stay in touch with this guy. I just wanted my earring. He took the paper and said sure.

I got a taxi back to Metairie. The family was pushing their baby in a stroller on the way to see a parade. The mom laughed and said “oh the days of the walk of shame!” She actually was the same age as me. My friend filled me in more on the night. Yes, I was kissing the college guy in the bar. She wanted to leave and I refused. So she left me there. I told her about the missing earring and she said “you will never see it again nor hear from him. He used you and that is that.”

I felt ashamed but I defended myself with “I used him! I got over one guy from LA but getting under a different guy in a different L.A.”

Sometimes humor is my best defense.

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