Drinking vodka out of a sippy cup all day while I clean the house and do my taxes? Yes. Party all day and night with more hip people than me? No.
So this year, for some strange reason, I decided it would be an excellent idea to attend the Mardi Gras festivities in St. Louis. I think the “strange reason” may or may not have been liquor induced, but whatever.
For those of you who live in a more glamorous portion of the world than the armpit of America, let me tell you that St .Louis has the second largest Mardi Gras party in the world.
Second only to New Orleans, and we can’t outdo them…yet.
The St. Louis Mardi Gras festivities are ridiculous and hundreds of thousands of people flock to the historic Soulard area of St. Louis to drink, dine, and then vomit in the streets.
It’s a St. Louis tradition and one I never missed when I was single. Doesn’t that explanation sell itself?
I’ve sat out the last few years of Mardi Gras for several reasons, but mostly because I like to do my drinking in a civilized manner; one that involves Bailey’s in my coffee and rum in my morning Diet Coke. I’m classy that way.
But this year I got invitations to a handful of parties that I couldn’t say no to. I decided to gather my posse and head down to Soulard for yet another year of embarrassment.
In that aspect, we are soul mates.
The difference is that I couldn’t fit one thigh into her tiny jeans. I want to hate her but her ability to keep up with me drink-for-drink is just too impressive and I can’t turn her away.
When I called The Nudist a few days before Mardi Gras, she sounded like death and told me she had the flu and wasn’t sure she could make it. I reminded her to stop being so selfish.
It was not an option for her not to attend, as I needed her support for the party. And by “support” I literally meant support…as she would most likely have to hold me up at sometime during the festivities either due to an injury, intoxication, or both.
Since she’s a true party girl, she agreed to go to Mardi Gras with me, despite her flu. I also think the emails I sent threatening to raid her stash of Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies if she didn’t go with me may have had something to do with her commitment. I’m not afraid to blackmail. I’m just not above it.
I called Pajama Jeans and her husband, The Funniest Man Alive (not their real names), and they agreed to the festivities as well. I also realized I needed to ask my husband if he wanted to attend, just so I would be p.c. on the issue. He agreed.
With the large number of people in such a small area of the city at once, cell phones never work during Mardi Gras due to the overload on the cell towers (or something technical like that).
You need to have a small group to keep track of, or you will have to locate your friends the way our parents used to….by utilizing human contact. Not good.
Secretly, I think they turn off the cell towers on purpose in an effort to prevent embarrassing texts and calls involving boobs and booze. They wouldn’t be wrong if that was the reason.
The morning of Mardi Gras I checked in with The Nudist, who confirmed she was ready to hit the streets. I headed to her condo to get the party started.
When I arrived, she greeted me at the door with a hangar full of Mardi Gras beads, arranged by color and length.
She offered me beads, and I took the most appropriate ones. They were colored beads and every 10 beads or so there was a figurine of two pigs doing it. Classy. I was ready.
I also knew if I was going to vomit later, I’d rather vomit up a quiche Loraine than a donut from the gas station.
After all, I had an image to uphold.
We ate our breakfast and headed outside to catch a shuttle to Soulard. The bus arrived, and a woman who couldn’t have been a day under 90 was in the driver’s seat. This was the woman driving a shuttle bus?
I checked the side of the bus and realized this wasn’t the classiest of operations. There was a sign taped to the outside of the bus that had “Mardi Gras Shuttle” written in block lettering.
Either she wrote it, or her 3 year old grandson did. I suspected their penmanship was comparable.
She asked to see our wristbands and we told her we didn’t have wristbands for the shuttle. “Oh dear,” the woman said, as she gasped for oxygen and the sweet sight of death.
She said she would write her initials on our hands, and tell the bus driver that night that “Carol said it was okay” to ride the shuttle.
Yeah. That sounded totally legit. I’m sure the convict on parole that is driving a nighttime Mardi Gras shuttle bus is going to know Carol and be totally okay with giving us a ride back.
Since we knew she had to have been on her last prosthetic leg of life, we agreed to the plan, and Carol took out a pen and wrote “CW” on both of our hands.
I wanted to ask her if she had any updates on the most recent episode of Gossip Girl, but I had a feeling she wouldn’t understand that her initials were the same as a television network geared toward 14 year old girls (and this blogger).
We arrived at the first party location, and immediately high-fived each other for being so directionally astute among hundreds of thousands of drunk idiots. We obviously were going to have a great day.
We walked up to the house and noticed there was a golden retriever out front.
We commented to each other that we didn’t remember our friends getting a golden retriever, but obviously we were mistaken. It happens every now and again….Don’t tell my husband.
We walked in the house, greeting everyone with a loud “hello” and my standard greeting of “what’s up bitches?” yelled in a high pitched voice. A sea of strangers looked back at us.
Obviously this party was bigger than we thought.We arrived at Mardi Gras and exited the bus. We headed directly to our first party and started walking. Since we couldn’t use our phones we couldn’t use GPS or Map quest.
Rather, we were left to our own devices, which included a Tootsie Pop, Immodium AD capsules, and a sliver of common sense.
It was a long walk. Somehow, we made it to the first party in tact. As we arrived, a woman in a long dress demanded we play hopscotch on the sidewalk where she drew a hopscotch area.
Since we aren’t 6 years old, we declined. Fortunately, 3 drunk people approached and we were able to escape before she assaulted us further and attempted to eat our hair. (She just looked like that type.)
And then I looked around. It was like slow motion. I saw a child’s bike, kids’ shoes and framed school pictures. Nowhere did I see the regular Mardi Gras tools like beer bongs and puke bags.
We realized at the same time our grave error. We went to the wrong house! We turned around as gracefully as we could, and walked out the door.
I considered grabbing a beer for the road, but was afraid the hopscotch lady would take me hostage, so I ditched the beer and hit the street. If this was a sign of how our day and night were going to go, we knew we were going to be in trouble.
If only we knew what was in store for us in a few short hours….
TO BE CONTINUED….