My Hero

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Hey! You can find my coverage of the first hour and a half of this week's installment of "American Idol" here.

I just got back from New Orleans where, naturally, I saw and did many wonderful things. I caught beads without having to show too much epidermis. I watched people smoke cigarettes in bars. I drank a beer (maybe more than one) while walking down the street. I bore witness to miniature floats in a double-pun-titled parade called "'Tit' Rex." I saw a tiny dog wearing a tiny crown serve as the "queen" of a dog parade. I watched a goat on a leash eat fliers off a telephone pole. I learned that dogs, for some reason, find bottles of Super Glue very tasty (but while they may have a hard time passing the bottles, the glue itself isn't too bad.) I went to a bar that served up huge vats of red beans and rice for free. I rode the street car with a guy who told me about a strip club where the dancers also give blow jobs.

But most importantly, I've learned that I have a ways to go when it comes to being a crabby older lady. I like to think that I'm pretty crabby already: I've yelled at kids to get off my lawn and yelled at people for crossing the street wrong and pounded on the hood of cars driven by absent-minded cell phone jerks. And I write a mean complainey letter. But I can still do better.

Before the 'tit' Rex parade in the Bywater, my friend Liz and I were waiting in line for the bathroom at a joint called Bacchanal, which only a single one-stall bathroom. To our dismay, a group of three gals entered the bathroom ahead of us all at once. Not to betray my gender, but there are very few occasions where adding more women to a situation speeds up the process. These women were most likely gabbing it up, changing clothes or doing drugs, all of which spelled bad news for the rest of us who didn't have all the time in the world to pee, get drinks and watch the tiny floats.

Predictably, these women took foreverrrrrr, and all we could do was look at each other and bite our lips and shrug our shoulders as we do, until My Hero stepped in. My Hero asked Liz and me if we were friends with the girls in the bathroom. "NO!" we replied quickly so that she didn't associate us with them and so that we could quickly get to seeing what she was going to do. So, My Hero did what we hoped she'd do and headed to the door and tried to open it. I've done this, the fake-door-open: it's what you do when you want the person inside to know that someone else wants in but feel like actually knocking would be too rude and gross (gross as in "Me need bathroom! Uggh!")

But here's where My Hero became legendary. Not only was she not too shy to then bang on the bathroom door, she started lecturing the girls as they left the bathroom, reminding them that other people needed to use the facilities. And then SHE KEPT DOING IT. "People are waiting and it's really rude of you to all go in there together and keep us waiting," etc. My Hero hectored until they left the premises. None of them turned around and gave her any lip, either: she literally told them off. We never saw them again. Liz (who, like me, is not afraid of letting it be known when the world is not right) and I were impressed and felt like we had learned that when it comes to life, the best is yet to come. Someday we would have the chance to do this.

Then of course those of us in line felt a little extra pressure to make sure we were in and out as soon as humanly possible, which led to one of my other favorite parts of the weekend: leaving a bathroom to a round of applause.