That’s my friend Elizabeth, charming her fellow revelers at the Saint Anne ball a couple of Carnivals ago. I believe she was a garden fountain that year (those are birds meant to be bathing in the spray). It was a pretty spectacular costume.
Anyway, Elizabeth is an amazing person: smart and quirky and forthright and always smiling and surrounded by dogs. She genuinely loves life, and she’s an outstanding cook. I guess you could say that she’s similar to a lot of people you find in New Orleans, but also totally unique.
Elizabeth was recently laid off from her job–her dream job, no less. The position is being held for her, and she’s still doing things for the company here and there, but to pay the rent, Elizabeth has returned to her pre-dream-job gigs, like teaching for the Princeton Review. It’s been a weird and unpleasant couple of months for her, but so far, she’s come through with flying colors.
Yesterday, Elizabeth sent me this email, which perfectly encapsulates her personality and some of my own feelings about life and dogs and everything else. I asked to reprint it, and she agreed. Enjoy:
So I came home from Princeton Review LSAT training feeling very woe is me, even though I asked it in the “Why this?” instead of “Why me?” way. Anyway, I opened a can of butter beans, ate them and then poured wine and crawled in the tub and started reading an old Food and Wine from July because I am very behind. And I started reading this article by Lettie Teague about how people only drink cheap wine and rosé in the summer and how everyone should be drinking “better,” and she made “reasonable” suggestions including a $40 bottle! Hmmm. Then I read about how Jean George Von whateverhisnameis was cooking a spit roast pig that he ordered from some organic pig farmer, on a spit from some special website that sells pig roasting equipment for only several thousand dollars, at his house that was not in the Hamptons, but close, and everyone sat at a teak table, drinking cocktails made from fruits I’ve never heard of and then wandered off to the dock to fish for trout. And I thought of my 8 hours of logic games training, and my canned butter beans, and I looked at my glass of wine from the $3 bottle that I bought at Suda Salvage, and I started feeling very very sorry for myself. And I hated them. I hated them all. And I started descending to that place, you know, that place. And I tried to be grateful for my life, that I am not some tortured sex slave in Thailand that I read about in the Times, and also not some oblivious fool on MTV’s “My Sweet 16” who is unhappy because I didn’t get the Porsche I wanted, and I tried to find balance and peace and and and.
And then all of a sudden, one of my dogs (I’m not sure which, but it was probably Maddie) farted a very big dog fart. I heard the hiss first and then smelled the powerful diamond-cutting smell. And of course I had to ask aloud , like an 8 year old, “WHO FARTED?!” and they both came up to me and started licking me, not understanding or caring. And then I didn’t care anymore, either. I am so glad I have these creatures who find such happiness just because the pack is together. I come home and it’s like I’ve been off to war for 10 years. “She’s home!” and it’s all licks and sniffs and “Look at me!” And they are happy even if it’s only chicken liver, as long as the fleas aren’t too bad, as long as they can lay in front of the AC or the heater and occasionally on the bed, and as long as they get to the dog park every day, well, life is pretty damn good.
And I remembered how not so long ago all of my pack wasn’t together, scattered in Baton Rouge and Houston and NY and Mississippi and Alabama and whereverthefuck. And even now, the whole pack is still not here. And now there’s new parts of my pack, too. And I just wanted to say that the powerful smell (the last sense that leaves you, thanks Proust) nudged me, reminded me to just be present here. And not ask “Why?” Or “When?” But to just be glad that the fleas aren’t bad. And that the heater and AC are both working. And that I have ways of paying for the chicken livers, and some are even good and interesting ways. And mostly to count on my hands over and over all the friends and loved ones I have, both near and far, who pour me drinks, feed me good food, and help me not to worry. And best of all, who make me laugh, almost as loudly as a dog’s fart can.
And I gazed on the twinkling lights of my Mardi Gras Christmas tree and the shiny pink fabric waiting to be turned into my ham costume, and listened to the gentle snores of the dogs as we half-watched Ben-Hur (and boy am I glad I’m not him!) and I am glad and so grateful for my lovely, lovely pack, both four and two legged.
I love all of you.