It’s one of those days where everything goes wrong. I am counting.
I wake up late (#1) and rush around and grab a stick of Icy Hot and smear it on like deodorant before I realize, so I got to walk to work holding my arms like Koko the gorilla to air out my armpits. (#2)
I am a tour guide and I am supposed to meet some bigwigs from Up North that think they want a walking tour of the French Quarter in September. After half a block, they are going to glare at me and tell me it’s hot. (#3)
While I am thinking about this, my iPhone dings. I look at it and see the underside of a chin. “NO!” the phone squawks. “I hit FaceTime by accident. Hang up!” I see a ceiling over the chin. “I’m in the bathroom!” the phone wails. “Go away!” (#4)
I shove it in my purse. A minute later it gives its normal ring. I hold it at arm’s length and squint at it, careful. It’s my sister-in-law Gloriosa again, but not on FaceTime. “I hope you washed that phone,” I say. But I understand. She got three kids. Naturally, she got to get in the bathroom to talk.
One of these kids is a baby named Flambeau, who is adorable, being a baby, but also cantankerous. You don’t get much rest around Flambeau. Gloriosa is temporarily a zombie. By “temporarily” I mean for the next 20 years. That baby is really cantankerous.
Anyway, Gloriosa went to some Uptown civic meeting, and everybody had to fill out those stick-on name tags. She met this gorgeous man named Albert while she was filling out her name tag, and being zombified, she wrote “Albert” on it and stuck it on her left breast.
Now Gloriosoa’s bosoms are pretty eye-catching, so everybody must have noticed, but nobody told her. She didn’t find out till she got home.
The next meeting is tonight at Gloriosa’s house and what can she do? She is happily married. People might talk. “Hand Albert the baby,” I say. That’s my advice.
I meet my tour group. They tell me it’s hot. (#2, like I expected.)
We start walking, ogling the historic and non-historic sights. Then, when we pass Nola’s Naughty Novelties, I almost step into a water meter hole. (#5) Somebody stole the cover. Somebody else thoughtfully put a orange cone over it, but another somebody moved that cone to one side. I glare all around until I spot Bubba, Nola’s eight-year-old kid, smirking through the store window. I put the cone back and yell in his direction, “There’s a giant snake lives in that hole, and the only thing keeps him down there is this cone!” This is an alternative fact, but one of the people in my tour group immediately makes a phone call. “Reporting this,” he says.
We continue on and after awhile, they tell me I pronounce New Orleans wrong. (#6) Now, everybody pronounces New Orleans different depending on things like what neighborhood they grew up in and what high school they went to. And everybody gets mad at each other for pronouncing it wrong.
It’s like this: you say New Awlins, you’re from mid-city. You say New Aw-le-uns, you’re from Uptown. You say N’awlins, you listened to Frank Davis when he was on WWL-TV. You say NOLA, you’re new in town. And if you say New Or-leens, you’re a tourist, telling me I am saying it wrong.
This city got more names than Stormy Daniels.
Finally this tour ends. On my way home, I pass Nola’s, and what do you know, there’s a city crew staring down that water meter hole. Turns out they got word there was a snake down there. So they are replacing the lid.
Something good, for a change. (#1)
That night, I am putting soothing lotion on my armpits when Gloriosa calls again from her bathroom.
“You know,” she says, “Flambeau got a little reflux problem? She spit up on Albert. Strained spinach. He left early.”
“You’re welcome,” I say. (#2)
Sometimes a few things go right.