I hate parades. After years of covering the "traffic hassles," the last thing I want to do for fun during my off time is go to a parade.
I hate the crowds (married to a cop too long). I hate people throwing things at me (bad experience as a nerd in P.E.). I hate people fighting over candy and plastic beads (available cheap at any discount store).
But as a person who tries to experience everything life has to offer, I found myself in New Orleans on Mardi Gras weekend.
"You either hide from Mardi Gras or attack it," was the advice of a New Orleans friend.
For some reason, I chose to attack. And I survived, though not without a few battle wounds.
I was with friends who live in the Big Easy, so parking and securing a "home base" on the parade route was not a problem. There's no way I would be in the middle of all of that on strictly a tourist basis.
We went to the Endymion parade – one of if not the biggest of the season. Words cannot begin to describe the floats, the bands, the crowds. It is truly something you have to see with your own eyes.
Our group only had one major casualty – a freshly poured adult beverage knocked to the ground by an unknown parade goer who had obviously began partaking in his own beverage much earlier in the day.
Now, I am not an athletic person whatsoever. But I was doing okay catching my fair share of beads – yes, I was catching them, not picking them up off the ground. It also helps to have tall friends to catch them on the rebound.
Then it hit me. Literally.
A string of large, pink plastic beads came barreling at Mach 2 straight at my face. I didn't intercept and was hit dead on in the right eye. Things went blurry, and it wasn't because of any adult beverages.
I attacked Mardi Gras alright, and it definitely fought back. Seven days later, I've still got the purple eyelid to prove it.