Dear Adam Powers:
It is upsetting to me that I cannot buy hooch at the gas stations in this town. I am from New Orleans, where there are Drive-Thru Daiquiris shops. But yeah, no Jack Daniels here. Only beer. And wine, which I do not drink too often. I mean, I’m drinking some right now, but that’s only because the only other alcohol in my house is a collection of High Lifes I found under my bed and I don’t know if those are okay to consume.
Mandey. Ever heard of water? Apparently not.
Anyway, so the other day I go to the BP to get a case of PBR for band practice. I approach the kindly-looking Ethiopian proprietor. I don’t know if he is Ethiopian. It’s selective xenophobia, not racism.
I got myself a NC ID, but I still keep my Louisiana one in the car in case I need another form of identification. No bouncer, gas station employee, or waitress can ever find my birthdate in under twelve minutes so I have a habit of putting the ID on the counter wherever I am, with my finger already pointing to the “10/11/1980” in the bottom left corner. So I did this at the BP, and Ethiopia looks at me and smiles. Slyly. Smugly. His eyes narrow slightly, as if I am trying to put one over on him.
“What? 1980,” I say.
“Ahhh. Yes. But yoo need to geet a valeed ID, one from the Uniteed States,” he says triumphantly. He thinks he’s got me.
I was stumped. “Louisiana. It’s a state. In the united states,” I reply.
“NO.” and Slap! goes his palm on the counter next to the very valid license. “Eet need to be from Uniteed States ID!! Thees no Uniteed States ID! Must be Uniteed States!”
“It is from LOUISIANA. It is SOUTH of here. DOWN,” and I point at the floor. “SOUTH.” I have no clue where south actually is, no matter where I am. I could be standing in front of a goddamn compass. I always just point down.
“Where ees Looeesiana?” He’s starting to falter, to doubt himself.
I hesitate. My brain is frantically searching. I am trying to figure out if the BP station has WiFi so I can MapQuest Louisiana. I look around, and then I figure What the Hell. This dude works in a gas station, and so he must have seen a newspaper or two.
“It’s in New Orleans, man. Louisiana is a state in New Orleans.”
His face is immediately stricken with apologetic horror. “Ooooohhhhhhh. Katreena! Katreena! I am very fameeliar weeth New Orleens. Katreena! I am so sorry about your rain! Of course. Loueesiana is in New Orleens!”
Yr beer’s in the mail, dude. Katrina sends her love.
As do I,