It had been nine months since Hurricane Katrina; I finally sold my crusty, mold-soaked home and car in the soup-bowl city of New Orleans. With the population cut in half and businesses not open, a single, middle-aged woman with gray hair and decorated arms displaying Goddess tattoos can only equal spinsterhood forever. Exhilaration permeated my senses at the thought of meeting numerous contractors owning no immigration papers with many unidentified children in Mexico. I mean, could it possibly get any worse? Of course it can and it did.
Bicycling around empty streets of post-Katrina New Orleans, I noticed a paper sign stapled to a wooden post. “SINGLES MIXER FOR THE MATURE SET – POST KATRINA. THE KINGSLEY BUILDING – SATURDAY. CANAL STREET.” I was overjoyed at the thought of socializing with two-legged humans after spending a year petting my cat while reading National Enquirer’s. The only missing connection was a mate, possibly equipped with active brain cells.
It was Saturday night and I parked my scrappy black VW Beetle while praying for immediate cocktails. A small, glass interior store was on my right. Two yellow neon signs above full-sized mannequins read “LADY” and PARTNER.” There was an old handwritten cardboard sign pointed toward the dance floor: “REMEMBER HOW CLOSE YOU’RE GOING TO BE TO PEOPLE ALL EVENING. PLEASE SHOWER AND USE DEODORANT SOMETIME IN THE NEAR FUTURE. START OUT CLEAN… IT’S GOING TO GET SWEATY!” Oh, hell.
Please don’t tell me there are fiddles, accordions and bales of hay. Better yet, dear God, please send in some gay men with black leather yokes bejeweled in chains dancing to Patsy Cline songs. Those guys could at least entertain me with some yee-haw. What could possibly be better than a gay guy swinging into an unknown person’s arms?
“Howdy, welcome to singles night, madam. Tonight we have the “Aunties and Uncles” performing! Two left feet? Don’t worry; we have a lot of “Misters” to choose from. The single ones are wearing a yellow neckerchief. To make it easy, you know.”
“Um, thanks…well, where’s the bar?”
“Well, we don’t serve alcohol, just coffee and Jell-O. Lots of Jell-O, all colors of the rainbow, matter o’ fact. Now, come on, meet and greet your squaremates.”
OK, this guy must mean Jell-O shots. Right? Alcohol and Jell-O in tiny white paper cups like in New Orleans? On the dance floor, was a long folding table with clear plastic cups of wiggling gelatin placed in neat rows of six. Another printed sign…
”DON’T DRINK OR USE DRUGS WHILE DANCING.”
Some hoe-down dude approached me. He smelled like breath mints and sweat and had low rent hair plugs.
“Howdy, the name’s Dan. You new here? Haven’t I seen you dance in Tuscaloosa?”
“The name’s Roxanne and I have strep throat and dyslexia.”
“That’s no problem; I’m willing to bet some dancin’ practice will cure that dyslexia.”
“I really need to go…my cell phone just rang and my child’s on fire. Oh, and I’m unreliable, unpredictable and have STD’s.”
“Lordy, woman, it must be terrible being you.”
As I ran right through the square-dancing crowd, I realized I would rather sleep in a coffin than attend another square dance.
Oh… it’s just about 3:00 AM. Maybe the SPCA is open; there must be a ton of kitties calling my name!