My mother-in-law Ms. Larda blames the pandemic on goat yoga.
You ever hear of goat yoga? It’s this gimmick where you get on your hands and knees and the yoga teacher perches a little bitty baby goat on your back. According to Google, it “brings levity into the classes.”
The yoga classes I been in got plenty levity, if you like Bean-O jokes.
Anyway, Ms. Larda saw Sheba Turk demonstrating goat yoga on Channel 4. She had never heard of such a thing, and for some reason, maybe because she been isolating too long, she goes berserk.
She emails Channel 4 and says what she thinks, “The Lord saw goat yoga and said, ‘Time to shock humans back to sanity. A pandemic should do it.’”
Then she calls to tell me about it.
After she’s done ranting, I try to explain that the pandemic actually started because somebody ate a bat in China.
Which makes her decide I am crazy.
“A bat,” she says. “Did you see a Bat Signal in the sky, Modine?”
I tell her I read about it. It is one of them cases where truth is stranger than fiction.
“Maybe you should read less. Get busy. Work from home. Keep yourself sane,” she says.
Now, I am a French Quarter walking tour guide. Try doing that from home.
I live in the Quarter in an apartment behind my gentleman friend Lust’s bar, the Sloth Lounge.
Before Katrina, I lived in Chalmette my whole life. The Quarter ain’t Chalmette, but it’s gotten to be home, with live music and historic places and dirty jokes and laughing and everybody knows where you got them shoes.
Until it stopped.
And we started hearing a different kind of live music—- birds singing. Birds. Who knew?
Things started to smell better.
But we still need to eat. The Sloth Lounge had to close, but thank God, Lust owns a half-interest in Sloth Gas 4 U, a filling station and convenience store his brother Larry runs in Chalmette. So we got a source for unhealthy snacks and restroom toilet paper, which is more than a lot of people can say.
We actually have a whole lot of toilet paper, because Sloth Gas 4 U has indoor restrooms, and in December Larry got a sweet deal on a truckload of those gigantic toilet paper rolls – you know, the rolls that are so big you can hardly turn them when you are sitting in the stall. Two or three squares max. I guess that’s the point.
He had them stacked like truck tires in his storeroom, but he hauled over five rolls for us. I got nothing better to do, so I start re-rolling them into normal-size rolls. Lust finds some cardboard and my daughter Gladiola cuts it up and makes the center tubes.
After we finish a dozen rolls, a light bulb goes off over all our heads.
We drag a table to the Sloth Lounge’s front door, prop it open, stack our re-rolled rolls on it, and Gladiola writes up a notice on the what usually is the happy hour drink of the day chalkboard.
Take what you need;
pay what you can.”
And we put out a pint mug for donations. Gladiola spreads the word on Snapchat and whatever else she communicates on; I post it on Facebook, and Lust makes a few calls.
In 30 minutes, the paper is gone; the pint mug is full, and I am re-rolling more as fast as I can.
That afternoon Ms. Larda calls. She talks very slowly and gently, like you’d talk to somebody who is – um – a few squares short of a roll, if you know what I mean.
She says she knows she told me to work from home, but now she hears that I am selling recycled toilet paper, and that don’t sound very sanitary to her.
Dear Gawd. I explain, it’s re-rolled, not recycled. There’s a difference.
Then she inquires if I seen any bat signals lately? Done any goat yoga? I say, “No, ma’am.”
She exhales. “Okay then. Stay safe, Modine,” she says.