New Orleans is like the main hive for weird and unconventional conventions. Aside from the annoying way tourists can never seem to figure out our convoluted downtown one-way street system (okay - I have never actually figured out our convoluted downtown one-way street system, but the constant brake hitting from the beat up car with the Oklahoma tags is still annoying), I usually appreciate the business and the amusement.
During my law school years I led a fairly sheltered life Uptown, and had few occasions to hit the CBD / Quarter and its amazing magnetic tourist field. Of course now that I work in an office with a god-like view (from which I have often taken the occasion to make god-like pronouncements while standing at my window on a Saturday at work), my tourist exposure is sure to give me some sort of cancer at a later stage of my life.
My first exposure to the convention season happened as I was walking back to my garage one night after a long day at work, and who happened to stumble out of the cheesy tourist bar across the street, but Jack Sparrow himself. Well- Jack Sparrow after the hard living had caught up to him, but yeah, a genuine pirate nonetheless.
Unfortunately, he must have sensed my penetrating and mocking gaze because he wheeled around so quickly our faces were about five inches apart. At which point, hoping desperately he had left his cutlass behind, I grinned amicably and said "hi."
"Argh!" he growled back.
At that point I noted two things. One, pirates do not smell very nice. I always thought pirates smell like Old Spice, but it's really more like a combination of cheap rum and body odor. And two, I needed to get my head checked -- particularly when I walked into work the next morning to find the entire food court covered with Jack Sparrow's shipmates.
At some point later in the day, I was informed (by a co-worker who was admittedly not a licensed practitioner of medicine) that I am still probably nuts, but yes, there ARE a bunch of pirates running around New Orleans right now because the Pirate Convention was taking place that week.
Since then I have been exposed to the Vacuum Inventors' Association, the American Dental Association, the Keystone Club, the Red Hat Society ... you name it. And all were fairly tolerable.
Except for the fucking Lutheran Youth Convention.*
Lutheran Youth everywhere - fuck you. I am working a ridiculous amount of hours and all I need every evening is to be stuck in the CBD for hours, missing my chance to cross intersections because you travel in hordes of forty, wearing identical flourescent t-shirts, smacking bubble gum, ignoring the walk / don't walk signs, blocking traffic and taking your sweet-ass time getting across the street. It's like you think God is on YOUR side or something.
After three days of this, this bitch had frankly had it. So when a group of about thirty young women decided to start across the street I had finally managed to turn onto while patiently waiting through THREE green stoplights while their cohorts performed a migration, I did what any reasonable 30-year-old attorney who never gets to see her dog or home would do. I accelerated, slammed on the brakes, blasted my horn and giggled with delight to watch them scream and scatter.
Yeah, if there's a God, he probably laughed too.
*Message to parents of Lutheran Youth: New Orleans is not really the place for young Christians. I observed that more than a few of your mini-WASPs definitely sneaked a hurricane or two in. You may want to avoid sending them our way again, lest they start turning into Sodomites or something.