At 8:30am yesterday I was running while laughing hysterically down the street, splashing beer all over my brilliant white gear, trailing a bright red sash and getting intermittently smacked on the ass by large women on roller skates with whiffle bats.
In other words, it was San Fermin in NOLA.
"I am the artful dodger!" I yell gleefully at a particularly hefty rollerbull after performing some Matrix-like move to escape her flying weapon. "I heard that!" she responds, and I am rewarded for my smart mouth by being chased down the street where I hurl shrieking in that gleeful not quite terror you would have as a child playing tag.
And yeah, she totally got me. I would've lasted about twenty seconds doing the real thing.
"What time is it?" asks a friend about an hour later. We are sitting in the shade on a sidewalk where we have collapsed following impromptu Salsa lessons with our souvenir Pamplona-themed cups strewn emptied around our feet. No one is feeling like pointing out the cultural confusion.
"Uhh ... noon? No, it is 9:30. AM."
"Ah. Hey, can you take a picture of me with that guy dressed like Spiderman?"
And I remember why I love New Orleans. And I now know why when, a few months ago I was thinking of leaving it forever, something stopped me. A little voice asking for a chance, and reminding me maybe I should meet it halfway.
"Let us remember how light our hearts can be," it said.
And I acquiesced.