It was bound to happen, I guess.
I’ve been warned many times about walking the streets of New Orleans, but much to my chagrin, I didn;t pay much heed. I should have listened. I should have quickly turned down another street when I saw them approaching, but I felt confident in myself. I was on my way to work dressd in my tux, and was walking at a brisk pace – not someone who gave the aire of a tourist or idiotic Mardi Gras reveler, and I had only a couple blocks left to go before I was safe – but i didn’t make it.
There were about 50 of them coming at me, and as I walked the opposite direction I stole a few glances, but nothing to obvious – and then it happened.
A couple of this strange group of people, dressed as grapes and bottles of wine, along with many other interesting and odd variations on the same theme noticed me. All I could think about was the movie “The Warriors” – when, out of the blue and with no provication from me, I was pelted with long strands of beads in many colors. It was difficult to figure out what their gang colors were, but they seemd to be predominantly be blue and gold – and purple grapes. With little plastic wine bottles attached to their weapons.
I found it odd that cheap plastic beads were their weapon of choice, but unfortunately I was greatly outnumbered and it was one of the few days I forgot to wear my knife, so all I could do was keep walking and catch the beads as they were viciously tossed to me in light lobs. I quickly learned that if you catch them, they smile – as if you have passed some sort of trial – and walk past looking for their next victim, who hopefully will be as fortunate as I in the decision not to run screaming, or dive at them with an open blade. All it takes is that small understanding and all remains peaceful.
I breathed a sigh of relief when they had finally passed, and noticed that probably the main reason their behavior was so un-confrontational was that a police car was following them with it’s lights flashing, letting them know it was there to shoot anyone of this strange crowd who crossed the line.
I made it to work, unscathed but weighed down with beads, and described my harrowing experience to my coworkers, much in the way I have described it here. I’m not sure why I did – perhaps I was looking for sympathy, perhaps understanding and a nice consoling hug, but boy, was I in for a suprise – they *laughed* at me!
I tell ya, these New Orleans people – they’re hard as hell. Time to channel the attitude I had in the Lower East Side of New York. It seemed, for no reason i could figure out, that most people I didn’t know gave me a wide and respectful berth there, but then again, maybe it was the people I knew. I had one person shot (in the ass, twice, as instructed) for ripping me off after I let him stay at my apartment. There is no way anyone mut myself and Harvey (the shooter & my room mate) should have known that, but people talk…
New Orleans is a bit more harrowing – I don’t know the proper people yet to exact vengance on the bead tossers – but i will.