Mardi Gras or bust? - Justin Boron

Indecision and fear mounted. At first, I cracked under the pressure, backing away from a trip to New Orleans, for Mardis Gras. It would be the first missed in awhile.

It took some convincing but through repeated counseling sessions with friends, coworkers, and bartenders I was reconsidering the implications of missing one of the biggest days out of the year.

I wanted to wander out onto the edge of a dock at the beach and stare out into the distance, hoping the great beyond would help with this critical decision in my life.

But there is no beach in Atlanta, so I reserved that moment of irrevocable self-reflection for when I took out the garbage at my apartment.

Looking down at a heap of fly-ridden trash and realizing my apartment was an abysmal place, I resolved to fly down to the Crescent City if only for one last bash with my friend who would be heading back to his confidential military assignment in Germany in no time.

He would dissolve into the mist of a foreign land. Who knew when he would resurface?

There was a lot more at stake too. Pride was one thing. I could hide out in my apartment this week and pretend to ignore the carnival going on 420 miles away. But resentment and jealously would persevere when my friends returned with a lifetime of memories. I would permanently be excluded from their bar side talks about all the funny things that happened.

I would be that left-out guy, and the cold feeling of personal insignificance would prevail. It would be easier just to go I decided.

It was decided. But these last minute decisions are hard to deal with. I had been leaning toward New Orleans for a few days, "waiting for the Universe to show me a path," as Tobias Funke said.

No action had even been taken. I finally made the reservation the night before. That was the full extent of my planning. It wasn't even a full commitment because I hadn't paid for my ticket yet.

I woke the day of and still considered reneging. I could cancel the reservation and avoid the stress of last minute packing and rude airport employees sifting through my belongings.

This was truly a Swingers moment. I felt like Mikey being pushed toward Vegas despite his reservations. I too was being pushed. My entire argument for going was based on other people's advice and incessant coaxing.

Some of what had placed me in this precarious situation was insidious convincing aimed at my benefit but in fact, the encouragement was secretly given because my editor craved the succulent taste of a King Cake. I would be given the time off. But I also would bear the onus of waiting in long lines for the sought after King Cake.

The whole time I had been egged on by co-workers under a false pretense. They would enjoy the King Cake upon my return without having to suffer through airport security checks, parking, and nightmarish police looking to quash the spirits of the thousands of tourists in town for the parades.

I had been foolish. Nevertheless, I was still going. But it was against my instincts, and I recognize it could have dire consequences.

It's like that moment at the poker table where a fold seems necessary, but something tells you stay in. You fold anyway and find your opposition was bluffing the whole time.

What would this city have in store for me? Would I be allowed to quietly pass, or would I be beaten to death because I went into the wrong club without a collared shirt on?

Justin Boron is the government and politics reporter for the News Daily. His column appears Monday. He can be reached at 770-478-5753 or jboron@news-daily.com .