Expanding For The Sake Of Expansion

Trip Start Jun 19, 2010
Trip End Sep 01, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Tennessee
Monday, August 16, 2010

           DAY FIFTY-SIX:  It's so insanely, devilishly hot to where it has influenced every aspect our lives, now!  Whoaaaaaaaa!  Duuuuuuuuuuude!  What does mine say?  Dude!  What does mine say?  That you made a deal with the devil to have had any success at all in this life!  Oh Seannn Williammm Scottt, you are so dreamy…and really, just quite the talent.

            Laundry is on our minds, as we’d been wearing the same garments for a full and sultry week, and with a swab of Internet we set our sights just south of Vanderbilt University.  It advertises Free WiFi but does not boast it, and soon we’re all just sitting around on vinyl seats across from tattooed couples and pale, oblong single men, reading like all these really cool style magazines about new ways to mould foodstuffs and wear cotton textiles, and Fox News is on TV criticizing Oboom’s latest moustache faux-pas and I’m reading Newsweek’s attempt to sound disinteresting and soon everyone’s going to the gas station across the street getting chocolate milks.  I get a cherry lemonade slush, which The Beard calls, "very LA of me," and I take slight confused offense to this, but in an hour our clothes are done and we’re all sweating buckets down the street in our new gear; we drive to a church across town after having searched for some diesel, and in there I buy a peach and a garlic globe from a produce tent whose owner hates me for my hair or similar, but I end up taking a couple fists of free bell peppers from her and it’s all even.  Cornbread and I are throwing the baseball around behind the apse-ward garden, then kicking a football, talking about our families and how they define us, and I’ve broken two pairs of sunglasses in one day while The Beard and Shmark are cooking up a hash-like breakfast of egg, quinoa, cheese, pepper, and tomato that is good and especially good with hot sauce.  I’m only sweat, no more Hick-rick, dripping onto the tarmac everywhere I walk, but the long-haired members of the troupe are boiling up a pot of coffee and I think they’re stupid for it.

            We get a call from Mr. X, whose flight has arrived an hour early, and, happening to be nearby the freeway, we swoop in, blasting DeVotchka! through the terminal.  We’re all grins and high-sixes, completely amped to have a new member on the group, and Mr. X is also involved, but soon a policeman is knocking on my window, telling me to drive within my own lane and I punch him in the face, steal his badge, and urinate in his revolver with my foot cranking the gas all the while, and in no time we’re holed up in the town reservoir, back against a cliff, waving bananas in a threatening manner to all the helicopters and tanks that close in on us.  Once the fuzz cools off our backs, we dive in fully to the water, but it’s oily and stinky and warm, feeling like a vat of some trucker’s sweat, and Cornbread doesn’t even go in as it’s not the slightest bit refreshing.  Mr. X is here, and does as we do, because he’s a real person with thoughts and tendencies.

            Oh, so we go to a visitor’s center just west of town to ask for a good place to spend our time – one that feels not of Vegas or Surfer’s Paradise or Canadian Niagara Falls – and as The Beard’s talking to them, the rest of us go to a honky tonk record store called Ernest Stubb’s (I think), partly so I can buy a new string for Mr. X’s guitar, which I broke in a fit of passion (I mentioned this, didn’t I?  You obviously weren’t listening).  They haven’t strings, only records, which is why it’s called a record store, and while Shmark’s asking a kindly older counter lady for advice on where to see proper and good live music, and in response to her genteel old twang I decide to knock her water bottle over the entire counter, into the credit card machine and all over her paperwork, but she’s so kind, and says, “now, that there’s the boss’ water.  If it were mah water, if y’all spilled mah water, now then we’d have us a problem.”  I was going to buy a set of Ernest Tubb matchbooks to have for our grill, but I’m too embarrassed now and instead leave on the counter them and the money with which I was to pay for them.  A fun experience.  Ernest Tubb was a country music singer and now he is dead; I am not dead, but I will be dead soon, maybe even sooner than soon, if I get cancer or fall off of a cliff or similar.  I am not sure of how Ernest Tubb died, but he has a really cool tour bus in his shop.  I am very thirsty.

            We go, very much indeed so, to a convenience shop somewhere in Nashville and buy a few boxes of beer to quell the thirst of the six of us, though our water supply is long since exhausted, um, and Mr. X recommends that we buy Milk Stout, which is the best beer in the world, and thereafter we go to some neighborhood in the East Side and park the bus obnoxiously in the middle of everything.  She’s garnered a bit of attention, has old Pearl, and the old rocking chair folks come out to take a looksee, as do some drunken passersby, who are so friendly and invite us to hang out at their house, but we’re all a bit worried that the girl peering at us through her kitchen window, she in front of whose house we’re actually parked, is not appreciating our gallivanting.  Once we’ve given some of the neighbors a bit of a tour, we start playing a little music, and in time the young woman comes outside to learn a bit of our story.  Astonishingly, she – named Reba – is incredibly appreciative of Pearl, wholly enthusiastic about our experience, and, all told, seems to be one of the most genuinely kind people we’ve met on the trip.  We try to play some music with her, but with the new additions (Kuntz is back on the bus, I might have mentioned, having failed to get the job in New York City), we’re all a bit disjointed and don’t get the music off the ground until our mainstays, CB, TB and Shmark, start a little blues jam.  Reba bids us goodnight, and is so kind as to offer us her floor to sleep on, were we needing to cool off after a night at the bar.  Finding such kindness and generosity from strangers is always the most uplifting part of travel, especially when we’re all clogged and sweaty.

            Once we say goodnight, then, we go up the street to a bar called 3 Crows, a modest wooden place halfway past dive, and en route Kuntz hands me a tallboy to smuggle in my pocket.  It’s an okay place, slightly unmemorable, but I don’t take the wallet out of my pocket and even get to eat a plate of nachos that arrive after their orderer leaves without them.  That orderer is a female resembling a Scooby-Doo character, and, having been chatting with Shmark for a while (while I talk to her friend, Jess, a die-hard Lakers fan and a Jew, no less, and once they’ve left and I’ve eaten their food (thanks, though they were the WORST nachos I’ve ever had), I get a message from them inviting us to sleep on their floor, too.  Shmark and I head over via taxi, in part desperate for air conditioning, in part basic young men at a bar at the end of the night.  The taxi gets lost on the way, but we get there eventually, and she’s waiting alone in the dark for us at the door.  So that’s awkward for me, yay, as she makes eyes at Shmark and we talk about her love of her home state of Florida, how she never desires to see the west coast at all, how it’s a contradiction to like another place, whatever, and eventually I fall asleep on the throw rug, stretching out in the air conditioning.  There are more interesting stories to tell from here, but I don’t think it’s worth going into at this point as it was neither a positive nor an interesting story to weave.  Actually, it’d be interesting, but I’m mostly skirting it out of respect for Shmark; we wake up come morning and dart the hell out of there as fast as we can.  Weirdoes in that house, man.

*********QUIZ TIME********QUIZ TIME*********QUIZ TIME***************

“What is Nashville resident Jack White’s birth name?”  I’m getting lazy with the quizzes by now.
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Evan on

Ohh Shmark...

nearhelsinki on

Haha, I assure you it was a horrifying experience...but at least we had air conditioning!

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