Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).
Oh man. I had a few that came to mind, really, but I think the one single moment I truly felt most alive was when the Saints won the Superbowl. I still remember everything about that moment and I want to continue to remember it. Because no, I'm not a Saints "fan" per se...I'm a Patriots fan. But I don't like the Colts. And we happened (literally, by complete chance) to be in New Orleans on Super Bowl Sunday.
We had watched kick off from one bar in the French Quarter...a place filled with locals. Then we rushed back to the hotel to mix some drinks and change before heading over to Bourbon Street. We ended up in a bar I'd wanted to visit anyway--the Old Absinthe House--and proceeded to watch the game and make friends with some locals (including one of the bartenders). Toward the end of the fourth quarter when they decided to let those last seconds of the game run out, it was as if a blanket had been thrown over the city for a moment. Everyone wanted to believe it, you see, but there was that split second of being unsure.
And then everything seemed to explode.
A cheer, the likes of which I've never before heard in person (and doubt I ever will again) erupted from what seemed like the very earth of New Orleans. Even if we'd wanted to remain in the bar, that would have been an impossible feat. We were carried out onto Bourbon Street by a warm, welcoming, friendly swell of locals and tourists alike. We were jostled, but it was the jostle of pure excitement and amazement and joy. I was hugged by more random strangers than I can recall. I felt the wring of sweaty palms and the embrace of exuberant arms over and over and over again. Of course I wasn't about to explain the truth--that I was just a Patriots fan in the right place at the right time. I let the ecstasy, the elation of the people of New Orleans wash over me like a beautiful flood.
I remember the smells of hot dogs and alcohol and people. That's really all there was to that night--a hot dog card on the corner nearby, the sidewalks and road sticky with beer and liquor as Bourbon Street probably always is. But I've heard tell that Bourbon Street was as crowded--or possibly even more crowded--that night than it is even on Mardi Gras.
The noise lasted long into the night. We headed back to our hotel sometime after 2 AM and there were still people cheering, singing "When the Saints Go Marching In" and chanting "Who Dat!" as we stumbled, in a bleary drunken jubilant haze, back to our room.
To be completely honest, I'm not sure I'll ever again feel the same amazing wave of sensations that I felt that night. I can only be happy that I did feel those things, once in my lifetime.
|Sorry for the blurriness--as you can imagine things were a bit crazy, as this is what Bourbon Street looked like about 30 seconds after the Super Bowl was called and it was obvious that the Saints had won!|