We're currently sitting in the Seatac Airport waiting to fly out to New Orleans. It will be our second year there, and my third visit. We're headed down only one year after we left mainly because one our hobbies holds its big yearly U.S. convention there (incidentally, this is why we always disappear to Canada every year in March, when that country holds its yearly convention for the same club).
The Grand Masquerade, as it's called, is a weekend filled with pretending to be something we're not, whether that's vampires, or mages, or stranger things like Changelings or Sin Eaters. It's called live-action role-playing, or "LARPing", and it all looks a bit silly to outsiders. We grew up playing it, and never really stopped when we turned into (ostensible) grown-ups. At times it's hard to remember why it's fun, or used to be fun, and we spend lots of weekends riding scooters instead, or seeing concerts or movies or whatever.
Occasionally though, it works like it's supposed to work and we are reminded. The right group of players and their fictional personas come together, the right setting and circumstances converge, and everything meshes together to form what seems at times like a Shakesperean play that you are actually living. The tension and adrenalin and excitement is exhausting and addictive at the same time. Other times the mix doesn't work, and it just feels like hard work.
New Orleans is in some ways the perfect place for us to play, because the city knows this complicated dance very well; in some ways it's defined the city so long it's become a cliché. I'm speaking of jazz, of course, that complicated mess that often feels a bit loose and jangly and unpracticed. But get the right musicians together on the right night at the right club, and the result is a sound that will make you tingle and vibrate down to the deepest part of your soul.
That's why we're headed back to the sunken city of New Orleans. We're there to take our shot at playing a little jazz of a sort, with that thousand-to-one chance that we'll make some magic too.