Clearing my head in the smelliest place in America

This blog is stream of conscious. I apologize to those that are bothered by this style, but I knew of no other way to write it.

I had a panic attack at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. There were just so many kids there, buses full of them swarming everywhere. It didn’t help that I was coughing like someone with consumption and hadn’t slept for days. It was one of two touristy adventures while in New Orleans, and a repeat of a much-enjoyed experience with my sister 14-years ago. When the docent found me hiding behind some plant life and digging desperately in my bottle of sedatives, he merely said, kids, and walked away. Even after the drugs kicked in, the trip was rather ruined, and there were still swarms of children. I walked back to my hotel shaking my head and lamenting that nothing is ever as good as you remember it.

I am a realist and have never placed any stock in psychics and the like. With the exception of ghosts, I definitely believe in ghosts. So it shocked me when I was drawn to stop at a tarot reader on the northwest edge of Jackson Square. I sat down in front of him, and not wanting him to “read” me, said nothing and took a neutral body posture. His first question was, “Are you descended from an Indian tribe?” I answered simply, “Yes.” He looked at me again and said, “Creek” I shook my head, yes. He handed me a deck of cards to shuffle, and when I handed them back he said, “I don’t need to read these cards for you. You know what they say.” As he placed the cards on the table, I felt impressions. As he read the cards, I realized that he was absolutely accurate. Then he said, there is a man in your life that you must get rid of forever.

Sitting in the chapel of Christ Church Cathedral waiting for the 12:15-weekday service, the vicar told me about the church, when it was built (1840), and how it had to be built outside the city limits of New Orleans. Episcopalians were not welcome in a city filled to the brim with Catholics, but evidently, there were enough of them that they built a magnificent cathedral.On the trolly ride back from the Garden District, I reflected on being an outsider when your beliefs were only slightly different. I mean, we are the Anglican Catholic Church after all. As someone who has always been an outsider, I found sitting in that church strangely fitting. I could imagine myself a hundred odd years ago worshipping in a way that my neighbors would not approve. The only place that I ever “fit-in” was in Austin and that is because no one “fits in.” We are all a bunch of misfits who find other misfits that we like enough to tolerate.

If you can’t sleep because you are coughing so much that you are afraid that the neighboring room is going to complain about the noise, you might find yourself reading and watching a great deal of television. At some point, though, you have to admit to yourself that you are getting sicker and call your insurance for permission to go to urgent care. And what an urgent care that it was! It had 18-foot ceilings with plaster walls, marble floors, ancient wooden benches, worn smooth by wear, and leather chairs. I saw a doctor within 5 minutes of arriving, was given prescriptions for an antibiotic and the good cough syrup and was out the door in 15 minutes. Lesson learned, you are not invincible at 40, and if you are coughing like a crazy person then you shouldn’t be walking 8

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