Day 16 – Thibodaux and Lafayette, Family in Louisiana

DAY: 16
LOCATION: New Orleans, Louisiana to Aunt Linda & Uncle Butch’s (Thibodaux, Louisiana) & Cousin Amy and Charles’ Place (Lafayette, Louisiana)

On the nights when we just need a stop over on the way to a highlight spot, (and there have been many of them),we’ve taken to staying in WalMart parking lots. We love this for several reasons. 1. It’s free. 2. They have this thing in the lobbies called “RedBox Video” which is a kiosk where you can rent videos for a dollar a night. It’s awesome….we can go in, get a healthy supper to cook and a movie…its a great date night courtesy of Walmart when there’s no “Scenery” to explore. 3. It’s very safe, security monitored and Walmart allows it. A few thigns thing we DONT like are…

Its like not traveling at all. When we’ve stayed in a walmart 3 or 4 nights in a row, it’s like we haven’t moved at all. We get out of the trailer, walk into walmart, the redbox sits in the same spot, the dog food…same spot…it’s…de ja vu for sure…(and yet, somehow comforting, little homey, recognizable things…)

Also, I’ve been mistaken for a shoplifter and a homeless girl. Mostly its when you get up in the morning and have to go into the bathroom in your sweats to bush your teeth…that’s the worst. Aaron reports he does not experience this, as he has never encountered a line in the mens bathroom. I however have to endure the horrified stares of “The Walmart Women” as I stand at the sink for an inordinate amount of time washing my hands, hoping for an interval of time where there is no one oogling curiously at me and if I get really desperate and MUST brush my teeth with people around, I mutter “I’m on a road trip” and try not to foam at the mouth while I brush. One particular instance involving an inquisitive (and I will give her…compassionate…) woman went something like this…
She: (After starting with tilted head and craesed brow for far longer than was comfortable for either of us, as I tried to avoid “mirror eye contact”) “How did someone so young end up homeless?”
Me: (Supressing my urge to fabricate a really woeful, outlandish story about my “drugged out” upbringing and how all I really wish for now is a knitted beanie cap and a second chance…) “Oh. No. I’m not homeless. I’m on a 49 day road trip across the U.S.” (Somewhat more defensively) “I work. Own a business actually. I have a home. Two. One with wheels.” (I am rambling defensively…embarrassedly now…until…)
Third Girl – Youngish – Evesdropping: “That’s SO cool! Also, I like your hair!”Now please picture that there is a line of women about 5 deep who had been waiting for a stall, and the stalls have LONG since become available and yet there they stand, gawking. I think the roadtrip explanation helped. A little. I decided to put my deodorant on in the trailer. So there’s some good things. And some…awkward things. But …all is refreshingly real and good.

One of the things we were very excited to do on this trip was see family. We just had the really great opporunity to spend some time with my Rochester family and were now headed toward Aaron’s Louisiana family. After our day in New Orleans we headed West again to see Aaron’s Aunt Linda and Uncle Butch in Thibodaux…we GREATLY enjoyed our time getting to visit and catch up for a while, before heading to Lafayette to see Amy, Aaron’s cousin. Amy and Charles have a beautiful daughter, Courtney, whom I shall henceforth refer to as “Miss Buttons” (Without question, cuter than any button I have ever seen.) …and we thoroughly enjoyed an evening laughing and catching up…Amy, who teaches 6th grade english was telling us about a student in the area whose mother is sueing the local school district for emotional trauma inflicted on her daughter due to the teachers inability to pronounce her name. The girl’s name is Le-a

It’s pronounced “Ledasha” ….in the mother’s own indignant words; “The dash don’t be silent”

It is in honor of this story that I sign off this update using Aaron’s invented pen name for me….


(It’s “Mapostraphe”…The Apostraphe don’t be silent…)

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