So I was out on this date, of sorts, on Saturday night, with a personage who, in my insecure opinion, far outshines me in talent and accomplishment. Not that I'm in any competition or anything, but still, it's rare to find someone in New Orleans who is doing things, sad as I am to confess it.
We went to the annual Decandence Ball, a gathering of freaks and underground regulars, which takes place each year in a gravel pit alongside the mighty Mississippi in the sketchy 9th Ward. It's primarily a costume ball, and the costumes rival those of Halloween's.
For some reason completely unbeknownst to me, I chose to imbibe upon a hit of one of those dastardly "gravity bongs" that are all the rage this season, and, being one who generally abstains from pot, I got super-nailed, super-fast.
My IQ was halved. No, quartered. And if I were on a date with some quick hook-up, it shouldn't have bothered me, but I actually did hope to have some of my fading cranial facilities working that night.
Instead, I alternated between long bouts of silence, or frenetic eruptions of stream-of-consciousness, both of which do not make for good company.
Marijuana is BORING! (At least, when I have anything to do with it.)
The coup de grace that night occurred when I was chatting with the fabulous miss Patti Cakes who was bartending the event. I was lingering around her post and suddenly, I felt very weak and my vision began to checkerboard. I was about to say something to Patti, along the lines of, "Oh god please help me," but then a thought came to my mind that was overwhelmingly attractive. "Hey, Marquis, why not just nap! RIGHT NOW!"
A few minutes later I came to. I noticed my head and chin hurt, and noticed also that my costume (a micro-mini black velvet dress, sans culottes) was hiked up around my waist. I also noticed I was somehow lying prostrate in wet gravel, and my admirable, patient date was slapping my face with a look of unadulterated fright.
Way to make a good first impression!
I went off to work shortly thereafter, feeling like the incompetent boob I always suspected I was, and spent most of my working hours at my bar clutching my face in embarrassment of the memory, and wincing at the pain when I touched my chin, which had, Patti told me, smashed into the bar before I whiplashed back and fell onto the ground.
Yah, queue up for a date with the Marquis! He is most certainly a Hot Commodity!
Around dawn, miss Patti Cakes came to my bar, having been released from Decadence Ball, and urgently told me, "I know why you passed out!"
"Yah," I replied, "because I was stupid enough to hit a bong."
"No," she explained, "about twenty minutes after you left, I started wobbling around. I couldn't make change. I had to grasp the bar to keep from collapsing. Others starting feeling weird."
"Yes?" I prompted.
"The generator. The generator behind my bar. It was pumping out huge amounts of carbon monoxide," she explained.
I felt somewhat better for this bit of intelligence, as it took some of the blame off of me, though I still felt like a Super-Tit.
Luckily my date is the sort who seems to be very understanding of Unfortunate Circumstances, so all might not be lost.
As for me, I am never, ever, ever smoking that Devil's Weed again, but that's just me.
When I arrived at work around 2am last night, I was making a wake-up drink when I heard my name called. I turned around and scrutinized the person who called me. Something very, very familiar about the face, but it was completely out of context in my bar on Decatur Street. It took fully ten seconds before I started screaming, "Dimitri!?!?"
Dimitri is one of my oldest friends, having gone to college with me in London in the late 80's. We took a memorable holiday to the little Spanish Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco once together. By the merest of coincidences, we have lived in many cities at the same time: London, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and I'm probably forgetting another. He is a member of what I can only refer to as my Core Group o' Friends, which consists of about ten people whom I met and befriended in England 14 years ago, and whose paths are constantly criss-crossing. We all seem to move to the same cities, unbeknownst to each other at the time, or bump into each other in random airports or trains stations in New York, Paris, Topeka or Tierra del Fuego.
"What the FUCK are you doing in New Orleans, you mutherfucker!?" I shouted something like this to Dimitri.
"I'm looking for Melanie," who was his girlfriend when we happened to be neighbours in Philly several years ago. "What are you doing here?"
"Well," I explained, "I moved back down here a few years ago, and I've been working in this bar for a year."
"You mean … I just stumbled into your bar."
"It happens," I said, and didn't add, though rarely like this.
I wasn't even supposed to be working last night. Filled in for a co-worker. Glad I did. Melanie found us soon and we spent a little while catching up. She's just about as rockin' as a girl can be, and I was inordinately fond of her when I lived in Pennsylvania. Turns out the band they were starting in Philly several years ago, Burning Brides, has since flourished, they've signed a phat record deal, and they are on tour with Queens of the Stone Age, Stone Temple Pilots, and probably some other bands with geological origins.
I am the webmaster for the Shim Sham Club site, and I recall about a month ago updating the show listings on that site and seeing "Burning Brides," and thinking, "Aw shit, someone stole Dimitri's band name," never coming to the obvious conclusion.
The world is this <-> big.
I have to work again tonight. Burning Brides are conveniently playing El Matador tonight a block from my bar. What a lovely way to crank up the evening.
Be there or be rhomboidal.