Plastic is the new mortal sin.

It used to be sex, but now it’s plastic grocery bags. That’s what my daughter Gladiola says.

Well, I hate to tell her what I am going to Hell for. It was not my fault, but God won’t believe me.

I was in my cups (34-B) and had also drunk too much.

I got to explain. I was at Belle of the Bras, where you get a perfect fit, but the ladies room was occupied, and I had drunk three cups of coffee that morning. So I paid for my new bra and dashed over to Dionne’s art gallery, but it ain’t opened yet. So I  run across the street to Laylady, this new little gift shop. There is a sign that says “Restroom for customers ONLY!!!” on the door.  I grab something off a shelf labeled “$4 Sale”  —  I am desperate enough to  pay $4 to pee —  and look at it — and immediately drop it like a hot banana. I look around. Laylady is an adult toy shop.

I assume that is Laylady herself standing behind the big red counter, glaring at me behind her fur-lined glasses. No way will she let me pee for free.

A sign on the counter reads “S-s-s-special! Cool Down After Hot Action!” over a row of  little purple mini fans mounted on water bottles that squirt cooling mist on you. I say, “I’ll take this,” shove my credit card at her, and hustle to the ladies’ room. When I come out, my fan-mister is in a plain brown wrapper and I owe Laylady $8.99. This was a expensive bathroom break, I  think. But it turns out I can actually use this thing.

I am a French Quarter walking tour guide, so my job is extremely hot this time of year, and I don’t mean the same kind of hot as Laylady is talking about.
Everybody in New Orleans either stays up to their neck in a pool, or sets in front of a air conditioner, or else temporarily goes to Alaska in the summer, if they can. But I can’t. I got to walk around outside with tourists who love to sweat. But now I can carry my purple fan-mister.

When my daughter Gladiola asks where I got it, I tell her the health store, being as I am not about to bring up Laylady. Now, Gladiola is into essential oils these days, and she says I should put a few drops of lavender oil in it to make me smell nice while I sweat.

So I do. And it turns out, she’s right. Misting myself as I lead keeps me cooler, and I like the smell so much, that when I see a bottle of purple lavender syrup at Rouse’s, I buy that. When my grandkids, Lollipop and Go-Cup, come over, I pour some on vanilla ice cream and they love it.

I got to run out and lead a quick tour — a group of nuns from Minnesota— while the kids are here, so Gladiola says she will take them to the show. I am rushing around getting ready, and little Lollipop says  she will put my lavender in my mister-fan for me. I thank her and grab it as I leave.

Since the bottle is purple, I don’t realize anything is wrong until halfway through the tour when I start feeling  sticky. Then I notice the nuns have stopped chatting amongst theirselves and their eyes are big and round behind their rimless spectacles.

Turns out Lollipop didn’t exactly understand about the lavender. Instead of two drops of lavender oil, she poured half a bottle of  lavender syrup in my bottle.

I thought the nuns were paying close attention because my tour was so educational. It was evidently because I am gradually turning purple.

I escort them into Dionne’s Art Gallery, so I can wash off in the restroom, but would you believe, it’s out of order. So I slip out a side door quick and into Laylady’s. I zip past Laylady, into the bathroom and take a while washing off. But when I come out,  there, clustered in the middle of the shop, are my nuns, and their eyes are VERY big and round.

I shoo them out of there and finish the tour, but I don’t think they are paying a bit of attention.

They have seen things they can’t unsee, and there ain’t nothing I can do about it.

I hereby promise I will never use plastic grocery bags no more. I hope God takes that into consideration.