And then you think of the first time you met. And you remember what babies you were. Fresh out of your own parents’ home. And you think of how you wandered around each other for months. Both waiting for the other to get disentangled from now-forgotten other people. And you think of how long you waited for that first kiss. And you hold on to it. And again, you think of the last time you saw her, and you think of the after-coffee kiss on the cheek. So casual. So see-you-next-time. And you try not to think about how that was your last one. And you hold on to that as well.
And you sit there quietly.
But what if the bear were wearing a trench coat and fedora, and carrying a newspaper in his mouth when he walked into the office?
Think about it. He’d look just like a businessman! Sure, people might be a little confused by the hairy, 1200 lb beast lumbering through the office on all fours, but this is Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce we’re talking about. Those people have SEEN THINGS. You really think an office full of people who watched a drunken secretary drive over a man’s foot with a riding lawnmower — indoors, in Manhattan — is going to react quickly enough to a perfectly disguised bear that Pete would have enough time to grab a bunch of salmon and rub it on his secretary before the bear gets to him? Fat chance, I say. Besides, they’ll probably all think it’s Stan with a really bad hangover.
God, it would be so great. The bear could just march past everyone straight to Pete’s office (“Hey there. Haven’t seen you around before. You the new man on Chevy? Name’s Benson. Bob Benson. Gotta say, love the whole ‘newspaper in the mouth thing. Keeps the hands free. Listen, I have an extra ticket to Sinatra tonight. You want it? You want both of them? I don’t mind missing it. Bring the wife. No answer? I like that. Power move. Did I mention the name’s Benson?”), shut the door, calmly shake off the hat and coat, then just maul the hell out of him. Nothing but Pete Campbell’s blood and screams filling the air for 300 uninterrupted seconds. I would cheer. I would honestly cheer. Out loud. Then the next day I would find a bunch of high-quality GIFs — OH, THERE WOULD BE GIFS — and I would open up so many of them at once that it would shut down my browser. Then I would open it back up and do it again. And again. Andagainandagainandagain.
Sunday’s event was a so-called second line parade, the “second line” referring to all those who join in along the route and follow behind the band, making more of a rolling party than the kind of parade one simply watches. They take place nearly every Sunday between September and May, in the poor and working-class back streets of the city.
Such parades are put on by social aid and pleasure clubs, which function as inner-city relief societies, delivering groceries to shut-ins, buying football uniforms and pooling resources to pay for life’s unexpected invoices, like medical emergencies and funeral costs. They also put on parades once a year in the neighborhood they represent, with the brass bands, Technicolor suits and stops at drinking holes along the way. The parades can cost thousands of dollars, even tens of thousands.
For decades, they happened off the bureaucratic radar, without permits and largely unknown to anyone not directly attached to the marchers. For many New Orleanians — black and white — the parades were, and still are, surrounded by an air of menace.