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Thursday, June 14, 2007

My Very Own Series of Unfornate Events Ever Since I Crossed That Dad-Gum Mississippi

I have bounded into Louisiana, Cajun Country, the Bayou State, Little Old France, Whatever you would like to call it...and it has not been pretty. Hoodoo or Voodoo or some other ill such luck has attached itself to my sojourn here. Nearly every couple of hours I feel that ghastly, phantom pin-prick. I'm mishap's doll...that's what I am. It's amazing how we tend to tie inanimate objects to the mercurial outcomes of this incongruent life. A favorite pair of shorts or underwear, a baseball glove, a pair of shoes. I'll even catch myself doing it the other way. With bad objects..that if you use this or wear this...this catastrophe could very will be the outcome. But I guess I'm revealing to you all, with shame you understand, how superstitious I truly am. But then there is location-luck, you know you'll go to a town or a restaraunt and everything will just flow. But then you'll go to other places and everything will just sink. So far Louisiana has been a rather consistence experience of sinking. Almost getting quaint in its regularity. (Not as loathsome as my time in Poland, however;which was a horror story in its own right.)
My first exposure to everything not being right was when I crossed that Mississippi. I can't remember what Parish it was, something French sounding and something in the middle of nowhere. My destination was this little town called Leesville where I was to build the Walgreen's store there a rack. Well, naturally, I get lost. County roads (excuse me, parish roads)have a way of dissolving into each other. So many intersections. So few attention on the driver's part to see all those signs and numbers whizzing by. I guess this is my fault, being highly engrossed in an audio book about the Civil War (the kind you find at Cracker Barrel)...so instead of seeing road signs, I'm envisioning Confederate soldiers and Union generals. And somehow I wind up where neither one of these would dare to trod. -Desolate Swamplands, while the night turns purple deepening into dusk. Eventually I come upon civilization and it is the city of Alexandria (Little did I know, I should have returned to the swamp). This city I shall not spend too much time grumbling about, but educate the reader that if you are passing this way go straight through it until you get to Baton Rouge...don't even stop. The way the roads are designed(or not designed) really makes you have to think of driving as more of a chess game than a source of transportation. The city's main streets straddle the main Louisiana highway and its like dodging sprinklers when crossing the street. I don't know how many illegal turns I made in this city. My arrival was sort of late and nearly all the hotels were booked. Inn after inn, I was turned down as I darted back and forth all over these jumbled up roads like an anxious nativity scene, but without a star to show me the way. Finally, I came upon a room.
But I couldn't sleep. It was a slightly cheap room and the air conditioner was very vocal about this. Making its presence surely known every time it switched on or off. Every time I was about to doze off, it would do one or the other and I would be jarred out of my slumbers. I soon developed a complex called the air-conditioner turning on or off complex, (it's not a very fun complex to have) and just the apprehension of this noisy interruption kept me awake. Well...sort of. I dozed in and out of sleep. So I can't even tell if I slept more than 2 or 3 hours. That night's a mystery to me. I just remember about 4 o'clock I got really mad and decide to confront this vocal air conditioner, so I begin pushing all types of buttons very hastily (I may have even banged on it a couple of times; like I said that night was a blur; and you see this is embarrassing for me, you guys seeing my temper)but I end up breaking the air conditioner. Or maybe (and this is what I suspect)it just decided to scorn me all together and stop working. Well, its Louisiana. And there's no way a person can sleep in a room without air-conditioning. So I storm out and decide to check out a bit early. And the sad thing is that only 30 minutes before, I had taken a Tylonel PM which helps me get drowsy. For some reason, the computer's downstairs were deciding not to work either and so it was announced to me that I couldn't be checked out. So I just sat there...my jaw dropped at the hotel attendant (I was too tired and already had my explosion to vent in any further) until suddenly the computer starting working and I could check out and leave that dreadful hotel.

I decide "This is a perfect early morning for WaffleHouse. Kind of makes it all worth while." But wouldn't it have to be....that there's not a single WaffleHouse within the vicinity, only an IHOP. So I drag my tired, despairing self to IHOP. I sit in the booth trying to read, attempting to write something, while smacking on some sausage links. I guzzle down coffee. But to no avail. I was so tired. I thought for sure I specifically asked for Caffienated. But I was almost using my Swedish Crepe as a pillow. Something was wrong here. I'm normally very stimulated by caffiene but it almost had the opposite effect. I went to my car, drove to a nearby parking lot, wrapped a blanket about me, and reclined the seat back. Nearly 2 hours later I wake up in a sweat with the Louisiana sun much higher in the sky, beaming down on me. The air conditioner had been off and I was seating in this oven asleep the whole time. And then I'm itching. And this is where I'm really going to embarass myself, but I think I sat on some poison hemlock last weekend at the Highland Games, while I was wearing only a kilt. So I believe I sat on some sort of poisonous plant completely bare-cheeked. And so I have that itching going on back there. (Of course, I didn't notice this until I got into Louisiana.)

I drive another hour until I get to Leesville and find out that the shipment had not arrived yet. So I have more time to kill. And I must check email. I had to find out what stores I needed to go to down here in New Orleans. I had no clue otherwise. So I go to the Leesville Public Library and try to run off copies but they don't have Excel, so great...after I set up this store, I have no clue at where in New Orleans I'm to drive to. The shipment finally arrives at that Leesville store and it takes me all afternoon to set it up.

So I'm tired, I'm clueless, and I'm itching and there was nothing for me to do but drive further down into the bayous of Lousiana.
I opt on a night in Baton Rouge at a better hotel. I find a computer with a printer. And I have some country-fried steak for dinner. (Things are looking up again). But then on a whim to drive to the store later that night, I happen to swerve a tad off the road right where the road is broken up and jagged. Had it been a few feet ahead or behind, I would have missed this razor asphalted bear-trap. But no, I hit it dead on...and my right front tire immediately rips. Fortunately, I wasn't far from my hotel. So I just drive the half a mile back to my hotel, my car sort of lopsided. It's much like the lyrics of that great Janis Joplin song..."Busted flat in Baton Rouge..." (How many people do you know can say that they lived out that very lyric?) However,at that time I didn't have such thoughts. I was ticked. It meant that the next day I had to get a new tire...which meant getting up early...again. I was in a dark, bitter cloud and dang it, I needed some cortizone creme to rub on my backside. I thought to unwind a bit. So I go to this hotel bar and decide that I really need to loosen myself up. All I get is a margarita. I do not know what kind of tequila they put in the thing. But I do know, and yet this is also to my utmost embarrasment, that I have the weakest constitution when it comes to alcohol. This stems from complete lack of experience in drinking; (it may also be that tiny shred of Native American finally showing up somewhere; either ways my Scotch-Irish nor German genes didn't contribute to this side of me.) I guess the good thing is that I was no longer angry. The bad thing was that I was half drunk. I know...I know...its girlish. Laugh at me if you will. The fact that I only had ONE margarita and i felt my feet were almost walking on the ceiling. I went to my room and passed out.

The next day, I get up and change my tire. All the while this Mexican is staring at me, wrestling with the lugnuts to get them off. I go to Walmart and get a new tire. $100 gone. And I make sure I buy some Cortizone Creme. So there I was in the back stall in the Men's room at a Wal-Mart, applying cortizone to my itchy hindparts on a muggy day in Baton Rouge while my flat tire was being replaced. Could life get any worse? Folks, the next time you undergo hard times...remember this. Compare your situation to this and feel good that you have not stooped to this level.

The rest of the day goes by and I get to New Orleans. Things get better and still are. But last night, I went to this Vampire Tour in the French Quarters and to be completely honest, and once again to my severe chagrin, I admit to you...that I could not sleep last night again...because the willies was scared out of me. Don't laugh. I think I have some sort of phobia of the undead. Nothing scares me more. (Only when I'm trying to sleep) So everytime I would turn the lamp off, my vivid imagination would come out to play...and I would see phantoms sitting in the room with me all covered in blood, waiting for me to doze off so that they could feast on my own blood. Yes, silly, very silly. But I guess, if you haven't picked that up about me that than you are not very literate. So it is now 6:30 in the morning and I have not slept a wink. I wrote this instead. I guess, its time to go to Wafflehouse.


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