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Fewer Than 73 Questions
A conversation with two NOLA girls
It occurred to me the other day – not for the first time – that I spend more of my waking hours with my coworkers than my family. In particular, I spend my days with my officemate, Angie, and together we drink lots of coffee, bitch about the patriarchy, talk about food, soothe each other through anxiety attacks, yell about politics and current events, share links to Buzzfeed and New Yorker articles, tag each other in memes on Facebook, listen to new music (she introduced me to Cardi B; I introduced her to Steely Dan; neither of us was exactly an immediate convert), and basically solve the world’s problems – all from 9 to 5.
One of the things we both love is Vogue’s “73 Questions” feature, so we decided to re-create it, although we stopped counting after a while.
(And yes, somewhere in the midst of all that, we manage to get our actual jobs done.)
Me: So, Angie, you work as a social media manager. What's trending in your world?
Angie: Black Panther – all day, every day. I’m listening to the original score now in the office.
Me: I know! I can hear it! What's your favorite thing about Wakanda?
Angie: The fact that it hasn’t been colonized is a big one. Watching it gave me a glimpse of what could have been for my ancestors. It brought me a little bit of joy. Also, T’Challa, Killmonger, and M’Baku live there, and I’m just smitten by all three men.
Me: What would you bring to share our New Orleans culture with Wakanda?
Angie: I would bring a second-line umbrella. And my iPhone to play Rebirth’s “Casanova.” Then start dancing, and they’ll see that our dances and their dances are the same because that’s how history works in this city, ya know?
Me: I do! What's your favorite New Orleans tradition?
Angie: That’s a tough one! The language. I love hearing New Orleans people talk to each other and how French seeps in and accents depending on the neighborhood. I can always tell if someone is from the Seventh Ward. Or Uptown. Warms my heart. Also, crawfish boils. Oh, and Jazz Fest. Best. Time. Ever.
Me: Favorite Jazz Fest foods?
Angie: Mango freeze. Crawfish bread. Jama Jama. Soft-shelled crab po’ boys
Me: Favorite crawfish boil food that's not crawfish?
Angie: Turkey necks, hands-down.
Me: Really? I've never had that in a boil!
Angie: WHAT?! That needs to happen.
Me: Is … is it a black thing?
Angie: I think it might be. How … it’s amazing how we can have completely different New Orleans experiences!
Me: Have you ever had pineapple? Pineapple does seem kind of gentrification-y
Angie: I haven’t, but I just heard a family friend puts pineapple in her boil, and I got pretty excited. I’ve had sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts, which I enjoy in and out of boils.
Me: OK, OK, so: Your Twitter bio says you’re the high priestess of brunch, so speaking of gentrification, talk to me about brunch spots.
Angie: HA. Well, my favorite is Messina’s at the Terminal out by the Lakefront Airport. And Cake Cafe in Bywater is my No. 2 spot. Service is always great, and I once heard a waitress tell a young woman that she was a fool for walking in and asking for king cake outside of Carnival season. I knew I was in the right place.
Me: Yes! That’s how you bring the Mardi Gras curse! OK, favorite parade?
Angie: I love Zulu because it was my favorite parade as a kid! We used to wake up so early to see it, but it was worth it. I got to see St. Aug (where practically all the men in my family went and/or played in the band) and the warriors who march were always so nice, and it was just a good black time on Mardi Gras.
Me: So a big thing in New Orleans is where you went to high school. That was, like, the first thing we asked each other. And we make assumptions based on that. Our high schools, Dominican vs. Ben Franklin, what are the stereotypes, do you think?
Angie: DHS stereotypes: Jesuit groupies, saditty and uppity, not as smart as the other Catholic high schools. [Ed. note: We could not find a standard spelling for “saditty”; we deferred to the Urban Dictionary spelling.]
Ben Franklin: Smart kids, but that’s because they do drugs. Like…hard drugs. Weird kids go to Ben Franklin.
Me: We’re both writers. What are some of your favorite words?
Angie: Persnickety, saditty, magnificent, joy
Me: Last great fancy meal you ate?
Angie: My roommate made it. Sous-vide jerk steak and black bean-and-cheese stuffed plantains with cilantro sauce.
Me: What's the best part of sharing an office with me?
Angie: Your jokes. I love jokes, and yours are always so bad but good.
Me: And what's the worst part of sharing an office with me?
Angie: It’s lonely and boring when you’re not here. If we didn’t share an office, I’d never have to miss you. So that’s the worst part. If that makes sense.
Me: It’s not how I talk about arsenic poisoning and other weird ways to die constantly?
Angie: No. Because I’m usually over here Googling those weird ways to die and then spend a good 15 minutes thinking about them. You keep me on my toes, Kidd.
Me: What have we taught each other?
Angie: You taught me what “raconteuse” means and all the grammar things I never wanted to know. I think I’ve taught you about edges, Michael B. Jordan, and “Knuck If You Buck.”
Me: Future kids’ names?
Angie: Joy Adalaide, Ava Danai, Jamison George
Me: And can I really be their auntie? I buy great presents!
Me: Best Jazz Fest memory?
Angie: Watching the sun sit in the sky at the most perfect time while Frankie Beverly ft. MAZE perform “Golden Time of Day” at Congo on the last day of Jazz Fest. I tear up every time it happens. They time it so right.
Me: Current favorite songs?
Angie: “Evergreen” by YEBBA, “Moon River” by Frank Ocean, “How Deep is Your Love” by PJ Morton, “Stir Fry” by Migos
Me: It was just chance that we were put in the same office. Why do we get along so well? Is it because we're perfect?
Angie: Our anxiety. And yes. Also, we’re both writers and NOLA girls and are always curious about things and both adore your kids.
Me: You’re a lot younger than I am. Do you think you want to live in NOLA forever? Will you move back if you move away?
Angie: I don’t want to live in NOLA forever. But NOLA will always be my home base.
Me: Finally, to end us on a high note, can you give the readers a taste of a patented Angie pep talk to last them through the weekend?
Angie: You have never failed. Even the things you considered a failure are not a failure because you’re still here, still breathing, still learning.