Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Get Your Kicks on Route I-55
As the old saying goes "Work hard, play later." After a week of rigorous manual labor, and refraining from all of what Bourbon Street had to offer, we decided it was time to kick our shoes off and put our hats on. Well, I at least decided it was time to put my hat on. The fedora barely made the cut on the trip, but thankfully we were able to make some space for the little guy. Even though it got a lot slack for being of the old-fashion style, everyone eventually warmed up to it and it soon earned the name of "Fun-Dor-A." It is sung in a trio just like that as well.
Out to the French Quarter the five us, plus Fundora, went in search of anywhere that was showing the NCAA Tournament. With two Mizzou students on hand (Alex and I), we had to watch the Tigers battle it out in the Sweet Sixteen. One would think in an area with hundreds of bars, with many open 24 hours that there is bound to be a couple ten or twenty sports bars. We thought this, but after a tiring search the best we could find was a small restaurant on Bourbon. Of course they didn't have televisions on the first floor, we had to go upstairs. Normally this would not have been a problem by any means. However, in this case the staff was serviced by one woman (who happened to be our waitress) that thought we were making up Margaret and Emilie's food alergies, and another waitress who had-well let's just call them anger management issues. New Orleans was supposed to get huge thunderstorms starting that night and going through the weekend, and this other waitress was absolutely terrified for the city because of them. So much so that she felt it necessary to take the remote from our table and switch all three televisions upstairs from the Mizzou game to The Weather Channel. After being emphatically informed by all three televisions of the possibility of flash flooding in the area, she proceeded to stand right next to our table and call everyone in her cell phone ranting in obscenities about how it was going to flood. Dinner was a little tense.
The game was not though. Mizzou blew the number two seed, Memphis, out 102-91. After finding another reason to celebrate, and for other obvious reasons, we decided to change locations. But where to go? We decided to ask some upstanding citizens and fellow tourists. The first we found was a group of middle-aged men in town on a business conference. They were lead by a scholarly looking man named Hylton, who directed us to a cozy little, literal hole-in-the-wall bar. The men thought so highly of this bar that they decided to stick around and treat us to a round in honor of the work we did all week. Now before you make assumptions on either party, I will say the outing was purely one of networking and life coaching. They all worked for GE Health Care, and Emilie received contact information as a result of the meeting. In addition we were given some invaluable post-graduation advice on life and love. It was a great closing conversation and meeting of characters to our NOLA experience.
The next morning we were planning on exploring the city all day. That was until I woke up in tears from being so sick. All week I had been battling a sinus infection that I tried to cure before I left. Unfortunately the antibiotics never kicked in. With being around all the dust, materials, and knows all what else I only became worse by the end of the week. An executive decision was made to leave that day. My friends were nice enough to let me lie in agony while they packed my bags. Once everything was packed up, including the third bed we drove down on our own, we hit the road with me on a makeshift cot in the back.
For most of the trip I forced myself into sleep so as not to think of the fact that I was on a ten hour car ride while incredibly ill. Of course I did wake up for our daily Frostee stop at Wendy's. It was probably about six hours into the drive, one mile outside of Vaiden, Mississippi that I woke up to Tracy (who was now driving) yelling "I can't move! I can't move!" Not moving is what we did for an hour on the side of the highway. We were out of gas as a result of water damage to the computer system that the gas gauge was run by. We called Highway Patrol immediately, and after much discussion convinced the state trooper we were probably out of gas, and sent Emilie into Vaiden to get a couple of gallons. In the meantime Sonny, of Sonny's Towing, showed up. Apparently he was a fan favorite of the state trooper's, and he soon became ours as well when he got us up and running once again. Back down I-55 went, and back to sleep I went. Well at least I tried to. I was too itchy to ever settle down. This is because I had broke out in a full out body rash. I was having an allergic reaction. This was on top of the other illness I was currently battling (after going to the doctor the next day I found out I had pneumonia). I tried to get comfortable under the circumstances, but with the computer system down we were also without air conditioning for a good portion of the trip.
It may seem like this was a miserable car ride. Quite the contrary though. Through all my heaving coughs, Margaret and Emilie's food allergy issues, and Alex's struggles with the pronunciations of such words as "praline," we provided ourselves with entertainment that you just can't get anymore. One of the important lessons I feel we learned that week is that it's the help of others that get you through the day. So after a couple great dance moves that should be hitting a local scene near you any day now, we helped each other get home with some semblance of sanity left. Oh my NOLA, what a trip it was.