Friday, July 15, 2011

Day Two. Which makes up for Day One. Almost.

Do you remember that scene in the Indiana Jones movie (No, I don't remember which one and I'm too lazy to look it up)with the little Asian kid that Indy "sorta" adopted, before Angelina Jolie could get her hands on him? Remember the scene where he looks off into the distance and says dreamily, "Fortune and Glory"? That's exactly how I feel when someone mentions Memphis, Tennessee. I get all swoony (is TOO a word) and heart-mushy (also a legitimate word).

Day Two of vacation, which as I mentioned earlier, began with buying a new helmet for The Man and and cursing Jackson, Tennessee. There would be better, more powerful curses for them, but more on that later. Once the helmet was purchased we could not get out of that den of thieves fast enough. And the first road sign that looked interesting enough to stick in my addled brain.

Off we go!

Now when I say that Memphis makes me swoony (still a word, yo.) I mean it wrapped itself around my cold, black heart and gave it a little hug. From the lady that let us sneak into the "Members Only" parking garage so that the roving band of thieves that was surely chasing us couldn't take all my precious jewels and fine lingerie, to the homeless guy with no legs that I gave a dollar to and watched him hand it back to The Man and wish him a Happy Fathers Day. It was sweaty hot, laid-back cool, and beautiful. I may have sprained my shutter finger taking pictures of every single thing that passed in front of my sunburned nose. We spent the majority of our time there on Beale Street. Everyone should.

We shopped. We ate. We tapped our feet along with the street performers playing on every corner. We chatted with store clerks and tourists and waitresses. We tried on Elvis sunglasses and hung out in B.B. King's Bar. In short, we had ourselves a ball. One shop in particular stands out because it's where I purchased what surely will become a family heirloom.

My very own voodoo doll! Complete with instructions! (Jackson, Tennessee - you have been put on notice.) Sidenote: I never have to worry about The Man using it on me becuase he will not read instructions for anything. Ever. Which means that I may be in trouble anyway, because he is liable to just go throwing that thing around wily-nily and may likely throw an inadvertant curse on my ass. I think I'll hide it in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator just to be safe.

After some damn fine barbeque, and many dollars spent on buying me foolish trinkets, we decided (read: I decided) to walk around and get some pictures. As we walked down a side street, me snapping pictures as fast as my Nikon could handle, we passed a gentleman sitting in a window sill shaking his head at us as if we were the most pitiful thing his eyes had ever seen. "You meeessed tha most emmpotant ones" he drawled.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Sonny James.

Mr. Sonny, as I now think of him, introduced himself as the "unofficial" historian of Beale Street. He launched into a diatribe covering architecture, music, city ordinances, outlaws, and the fact that every mention of Beale Street in any reference book EVAH was wrong. All this, while launching a bag of peanut M&M's into his gold laden mouth. He smacked his lips and proclaimed "The Oh-Fishul Peoples of this town would have you believing that Beale Street began as a Cull-choo-ral Center, but Nossir. They's wrong. Beale Street wus started by hoddlums an' swindlers."

For ten minutes we sat and talked...or rather he talked, and I tried to get my brain to record verbatim every word out of his mouth.

"See that building over there? The one with the large green braces holdin' it up? Now the townsfolk would have you believin' that they done went and put that up fo' your safety. Lies! All Lies! There ain't nothing worng with that there building. It's all a scam."

(It's lies! All lies!!)

"Did ya'll see that bar with the Diving Goats? Ya'll be careful if'n you go in there. Them goats was raised on al-kee-haul, and they's mean as can be, so don't you go stand near'em with a drank, or they'll attack."

From Mr. Sonny, we learned where we could pawn our watches for the best prices, which bars watered down there beer, and where we could get a hooker if we so desired. (No, Mother. We did not so desire.)

(Big ass beer pic)

Eventually, Mr. Sonny leaned back against the window, took a deep breath that announced that the informative part of the lesson was finished, and finished off those M&M's.

"Now if'n you folks found this info'mation at all helpful, any donation that you would like to pass my way would be much obliged. This is how I pay mah bills. The city don't condone it none, but they can't stop me from talking, now can they?"

Best five dollars I've ever spent. Thank you Mr. Sonny. You're all right in my book.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Ready, Set...Go Away

I have a bad habit. Actually I have several which my mother can list in alphabetical order for you, but there's one that I would like to talk about. I am currently the Queen of Unrealistic Expectations. I will build something up in my head to be so wonderfully fabulous, that not even Willy Wonka or the Great Wizard of Oz or Her Royal Oprahness could fulfill my plans.

This year I put forth an assload of effort into NOT being that person. Everytime my brain would get all "IMMA GONNA PET AN ALLIGATOR!" or "I CAN SPEND FOUR HOURS SHOPPING AND GET GIFTS FOR SEVENTY TWO PEOPLE!", I would make myself go sit quietly in the corner at work and stare at spreadsheets.

And you know what? It worked. Apparently it isn't very hard to trick my brain. No one that knows me would be very surprised to hear this information.

So...We packed up some clean underwear and got the hell outta town. As I've mentioned before, The Man works night shift, so we left on a Friday at the crack of noon. Because falling asleep while driving me around on a Harley can lead to uncomfortable roadrash. Our first stop? Kentucky. Yes, we made it one whole state away.

My favorite picture of Kentucky.

There's a place in Kentucky called Land Between the Lakes. The scenery is beautiful, the road is idyllic, and there is an Elk and Bison reserve. Now since The Man is a hunter/gatherer/Ted Nugent fan, this was ideal. I could sit back and take beautiful pictures that National Geographic would swoon over, and he could stand at a fence and imagine shooting things. Wins for everyone.

Bison are kind of stand-offish.

After this was taken we headed of to the Elk Reserve to partake more of nature's beasts. Antlers are a priority for The Man. As we enter the Elk Area (Arena? Habitat? Hood?), we aew greeted by a large gate and a sign saying there is a charge for driving though the Elk Reserve. Fine, whatever. Just bring on the large mammals. As we approach the gate we see a second sign. "No motorcycles."
So, I guess Kentucky is kind of an asshole, what with the profiling and whatnot. But it was still purdy.

So while I told The Man over and over that the brochure said nothing about cars being required, we loaded back up and got the hell out of Kentucky. We decided to make our way to Somewheresville, Tennessee and get a room. It really didn't matter where, we just wanted to get out of Kentucky and closer to something fun. A few more hours of riding brought us to Jackson, Tennessee. It seemed like a good place to stop for the night, get a good dinner and prepare a game plan for the next day. We stopped at a well known chain motel, parked near the front door and went inside to hand over some money in exchange for a key to a hopefully clean room that didn't smell like a retirement village.

Now, everyone has done this. You walk in and are greeted by someone dressed as though they are impersonating an airline stewardess. You list your requirents for a room (single, king bed, smoking, first floor) and hand over the money. In return you get a plastic key card which will not work until the fourth time you try it, and a lecture on what additional charges you *may* incur. Total time for the process is what? Four minutes? Five, tops? We did all this, and returned to move the bike and take our bags inside. That's when we noticed it. Some asshat had stolen his helmet! Now lest you not be familiar with the motorcycle laws in the great state of Tennessee, let me inform you. Approved helmets are required for all motorcycle drivers and passengers.

After searching several times and taking to the airline stewardess, I mean front desk co-assistant manager Tammilou (who was entirely unhelpful), we resigned ourselves to walking to dinner and trying to figure out what to do over a couple of plates of barbeque. (I think much better when there's food present, don't you?)

Long story short, we called the police and got a weird sort of almost permission for The Man to ride to the Harley shop the next morning helmetless.

New helmet purchased with vacation monies. Thanks to Bumpus Harley in Jackson for commiserating and making me giggle while you called the thieves Motherfuckers.

I'm gonna leave off here, becuase this post has gone on way too long. Chalk up Day One of vacation to the thieves and assholes. Tomorrow will be better, I promise.