I LIVED 18 YEARS in New Orleans, so I know Mardi Gras.
Now I’ve lived 18 years on my Mexican mountaintop, on the hardscrabble outskirts of town. My new paisanos do Mardi Gras too. And of all the neighborhoods, mine embraces Carnival the most. It goes bat-shit crazy.
Carnival is best if you’re a drinking man, which I was during most of my time in New Orleans. Some events are best enjoyed while sloshed.
I embraced the bottle for almost precisely 25 years, from age 26 to age 51. Not coincidentally, that quarter century, which should have been my best and most productive, was precisely the opposite, and booze did it.
I’m going to list the pros and cons of boozing. First the pros:
- You feel real good for the first hour.
- There is no No. 2.
Let’s move on to the cons:
- Your life lacks focus.
- Your relationships suffer.
- Your job suffers.
- You lack concentration.
- It’s expensive.
- It’s dangerous.
There are others I could put on the cons. Going on the wagon was my best decision ever. My life changed overnight, literally.
But being sober, I don’t enjoy Carnival anymore, especially how it’s done where I live now. We try to get out of town, and we’ll be hightailing it tomorrow to a suite hotel in the boondocks between San Miguel de Allende and Dolores Hidalgo. The place is called the Grand Las Nubes by Inmense. La-dee-dah.
So while the neighborhood plaza at home roars with nightly concerts, we’ll be in the boonies sleeping blissfully with the only sounds being the occasional coyote singing in the moonlight.
And there will be no morning hangovers.