Reluctant Townie: More adventures from Music City
And now for the death-defying conclusion to last week's cliffhanger, "Reluctant Townie Goes to Nashville ... and Doesn't Pack His Cooler Properly":
When we last left the author of this column, he was sitting alone in his room at Red Roof Inn in Nashville, debating whether or not to eat packaged string cheese that had been left out all night at room temperature.
Did he eat the cheese stick? Did he die? Is that why this introduction is being written in the third person? Did the sound of my voice just change in your head? Am I the coroner? A crime scene tech? Scooby-Doo?
Could I be the ghost of Ryan Jackson?
If I were a ghost, would it be grammatically correct to refer to myself in third person? By all accounts, having an out-of-body experience is a dissociative ordeal — which one would assume to be very similar to ghosthood, given that being a ghost more or less entails having a permanent out-of-body experience, plus bedsheets and rattling chains.
Am I stalling by asking you all of these rhetorical questions? Is there any other type of question one can ask in written form? Will any of these rhetorical questions be answered by the end of this column? Would they be rhetorical if they were?
Are you tired of reading questions? Do you wish that I would just go ahead and get on with it already?
Alas, as you may have guessed, it is I, the Reluctant Townie, beady-eyed and still quite very much alive. That is, if you can consider sitting in a Red Roof Inn making bologna sandwiches out of a flip-top cooler that is losing ice faster than the Arctic Circle to be living.
I stopped buying the 10-pound bags of ice from the store three days into the trip, after I realized I could just as easily take a garbage bag down to the ice machine by the check-in desk and fill it to the brim, and all it would cost me is 10 minutes of my time, a little bit of my dignity and as much mean-mugging as I can muster when a line starts to form behind me.
"Hey, calm down back there. I've got bologna on the line, people!"
Sorry about all the questions earlier, but I wanted to build a little suspense. And also I'm super bored in this hotel room and looking for ways to entertain myself.
I've been all over Nashville, and it's a pretty great city to visit, provided you're into boot-scootin' boogies or bachelorette parties.
This place has to be the Bachelorette Party Capital of the Nation. The downtown area has a circle drive next to the river that appears to serve solely as a concourse for pedal taverns that play "Before He Cheats" by Carrie Underwood on repeat. Alternately, there is a competing party barge industry — the two often passing each other on the street, battling for noise supremacy.
But it's really the local characters that give this place its flavor.
The first night I went downtown, I ran into a Chris Angel wannabe street magician complete with a personal camera crew. He appeared to have drunk heavily before his show — unclear if this was part of his stage persona — but it resulted in him bungling one trick, simply giving up halfway through and following up with a completely underwhelming illusion where he asked someone in the crowd to shout out their favorite number (which turned out to be "11") and then he produced that exact amount of spare change from his within his own pants pocket.
On a street filled with street performers, a majority of them musicians trying to catch the ear of talent scouts in Music City, two stood out above the rest.
Standing in front of the American Apparel store on the Honky Tonk Highway, backlit by neon pink and blue, were a man and a women with a dozen teeth between the both of them (and I'm being gracious in that estimate) selling two dirty jokes for a dollar. They couldn't carry a tune, but their punch lines were their own sweet music.
Ryan Jackson would like to reiterate that he did not suffer any adverse affects from eating the string cheese that sat out for days, so you can send that off to WebMD or whatever, and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.