On Tuesday, I called a university in Mobile, Alabama. I got voice mail:
“Thanks for calling. We are currently closed for Mardi Gras.”
So, I called a colleague who lives in Georgia.
Me: “Did you know the university is closed today?”
Him: “Yeah, well, it’s Mobile. They claim they invented Mardi Gras. The whole town shuts down for the day, and usually part of Wednesday, too. Even the public school district closes, and the city.”
Fast forward to Wednesday afternoon. I’m in the car, running to the store to grab some lunch, listening to an audiobook. The Right Attitude to Rain by Alexander McCall Smith, about philosopher Isabel Dalhousie, who lives in Edinburgh, Scotland. Edinburgh, mind you. And I hear this:
“Mobile, Alabama, . . . invented the Mardi Gras. New Orleans thinks they did. But they’re wrong.”