Castor Oil...sickeningly good

Monday, June 13, 2005

Blame it on the rain

Traveling with the significant other is always a crapshoot. The norms of behavior that those of us unfortunate to have to travel for the job a lot are used to get completely and totally bonered out of reality when our more genteel, patient, sane and otherwise morally superior companions join in on the trip. To wit…..

I view airports as a personal challenge to my ability to control my most dark and murderous impulses. My preferred agenda when traveling: Arrive at airport, check in at self-serve kiosk to avoid any and all human interaction, get through the retardedly wasteful security check, find the bar closest to gate, achieve as drunken a state as possible, board plane and curl my body into a ball so tight my nuts could harden into diamonds on a transatlantic flight. When I’m unfortunate enough to have someone sitting next to me it’s earphones on and head down. I get to the destination, mutter at the offal who take too long to deplane, careen through the airport to the putrid cab stand and look for the most socially inept cab driver I can who I’m sure will not want to chit-chat. Get to hotel, dump bags, find bar…lather, rinse, repeat….done.

My wife on the other hand views traveling as a pleasurable exercise full of opportunity and humor. She enjoys people watching, the charm of cute little children pulling their little suitcases across her path, browsing overpriced bookstores, having a coffee and generally being wonderful to all of those around her. Normally hateful Skycaps fall all over themselves to take her bags, gate agents love her, she has funny conversations about belts and pants falling down with slack-jawed TSA dopes and giggles when she takes her shoes off. She is wholly and totally loved from the taxi stand to the runway.

That is SO weird, (don’t you think?)

So last week we traveled together to New Orleans for the longest extended trip we have taken sans bambinas since our honeymoon. It was her first trip to New Orleans and I told her about the wonderful fun that can be had and the culture (bars), art, (bars), music, (bars), and food (at bars). We flew direct which was a nice change and being the sweet son of a bitch that I am I gave her the window seat and took the middle so she could rest her head. The middle seat on any airplane sucks, the middle seat on an 8:30 a.m. flight when the aisle is occupied by an enormous gospel choir member that smells of dirty laundry and stale Kools is something even Dante’ would appreciate. There was a method to my madness though, my lovely other is way too nice to ever totally ignore someone who prattles at her on a plane so I acted as a buffer between her and Hurricane Gussie on the aisle and at least had silence on my side as I tried to breathe through my mouth and compact myself to the size of a walnut to avoid the sweaty roast beef arms and hamhock legs that were intruding on me to the left.

Mercifully my opossum routine worked pretty well and we got to New Orleans and retrieved the bags without too much psychological destruction from my rotund and aromatic neighbor. We deplaned, got the bags and headed to ground transpo emerging from the terminal into a blast furnace of heat and humidity that I thought existed only in voodoo movies like the “Serpent and the Rainbow” and “AngelHeart”, (I know all you stupids that will say, “that’s in NEW ORLEANS you stupid”….that’s the point of the joke….go piss down your stupid fucking necks you stupid fucking stupids). We took a cab to our very nice hotel on Canal Street and quickly encountered what will forever keep me from convincing the Mrs. to relocate to a Southern city….the absolute horrid line that is drawn between the haves (in this case conventioneers, drunken middle-aged harridans eager to flash their enormous gravity destroyed breasts to frat boys for bacteria covered plastic beads wrested from a Bourbon Street sewer drain, and us) and the have nots, (locals who have been snared in a circle of generational poverty).

On the corner of the street just down from the hotel was a Walgreen’s drugstore where the local have not wrecks congregated to beg for change, act insane, smell like rotten shoes and generally be uncomfortable to be around. Sure that makes me sound like a dick but some guy with matted hair and a pegleg that is pulling his nuts out of his filthy sweatpants and following me around calling me “Captain Love” is just going to throw me off my game….I’m callous like that. Sorry.

We checked in at the desk and found our room was not ready so we headed down to get some chow and absorb the local flavor while our quarters were being made up. Like many people my memories of Bourbon Street are fond and have been built by long dark nights of massive drunkenness and totally idiotic behavior. Seeing Bourbon Street through the eyes and nose of my wife in the heat of the midday sun, well, that’s just not so good. In the light and heat of day the filth is everywhere, it’s wet and the whole boulevard smells like the dirtiest toilet in the crappiest bar in Butthole America. She was a gamer though and took it all in stride, having gotten her higher education in the East Village, (not to mention living with me), offensive smells and dirty drunken motherfuckers were nothing new to her.

We found a reasonably decent place to sit and eat and made good use of the one thing New Orleans has over just about anywhere else….the food. Even the cheap food, is nothing but fantastic. We ate and ate, (OK….and I drank), and watched the odd procession of families walking by the unisexxx and tranny strip bars with dad wistfully looking to and fro and mom shading the eyes of her brood from the amoral commerce happening all around her. Good times, I can just imagine Dad deciding to take up jogging later that evening and showing up from his run five hours later drunk with hickeys all over his pasty thighs and man-breasts. It’s that kind of city.

After we ate it was up in the air whether to walk or cab back to the hotel and I erred on the side of the stroll. Bad decision. We hit the street and immediately the skies opened in the way that can only happen in a semi-tropical locale. Rain of the horizontal variety soaked us head to toe and there was no relief anywhere and nothing to do but laugh at the absurdity of it all and keep on trucking. Thoroughly drenched we arrived back at the hotel and the lady at the front desk giggled at my soaked ass when I asked for my room key. I smiled as I inwardly damned her to suffering in a thousand hells and took the elevator up to 904, our homebase for the next five days. The trip was officially underway.

Next up…Orgasm and the wedge salad.


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