Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Think Fast.

Life is always happening. The omnipresent choice of "do something, or don't" becomes a whisper for the workaholic, a shout for the young graduate, a rhythmic mantra for the artist. Sometimes you're just rolling along, enjoying yourself, and Life screams "THINK FAST" across the schoolyard. You've got three choices: duck. run like hell. or open your eyes, throw out your hands, and catch it.
Now. Where was I?

Tracy and I had arrived at Hand in Hand. Imminently, Flock-of-Forty-Somethings spotted us,
and it wasn't long before one had swooped in for the kill. (note: it's very nice to offer to buy girls drinks. But if you're not literally standing at the bar, a little introductory banter is advisable. When you start with, "I'm buying you drinks," you end up gaged too high on the 'Likely to Rufie my drink' scale. In retrospect, however, thank you, Rufie-Bird, wherever you are.)
As RB leaned in to get our drink orders, I looked over his shoulder and made eye contact with Tall, Dark, and Handsome, who was standing a few yards away. This wasn't your average, awkward, oops-I-looked-at-you-in-the-eyes eye contact....
And as RB disappeared toward the bar, I did what any girl with her wits about her would do. I beckoned.
So, (lucky us), TDH and the gentleman with him (we'll call him...RayBan...) sidled over.
"Would y'all do us a favor?" I said, dredging up the Southern accent that only seems to appear when I cross state lines into Mason-Dixon, Proper. "Can you just stand here with us for a while, and pretend you know us?"
Okay. So the fact that I managed to divert the threat of Rufie-Bird, score the attention of the cutest guys in the bar, and throw out what was an honest plea, but also a great Line - that's just luck. The fact that our little foursome clicked, quick - that was Serendipity.
And the "cutest guys in the bar" comment wasn't hyperbole. I mean it. Eyes like old amber and smiles like the sun. They were cousins, and clearly shared the family genes...
Fast-forward through the "Wow-it's-really-nice-talking-to-these-guys" realization and the first quakes of "Maybe-you-can-meet-a-nice-guy-in-a-bar." I was ticking off a checklist of evening accomplishments: Girl's Night Out? check. Meet boys? check. Talk with boys? check. "Suck out the Marrow of Life"? Thorough Thoreau living was pending. About 2 hours after eye-contact, TDH upped the stakes. He invited Tracy and me to a concert. A concert on the following day. A concert in a cave... in Tennessee... 3 hours away.
And you know what?
I said, "Absolutely."

I'll take a break from the narrative to say: Yes, I fully realize that was crazy. Yes, it was a shaky limb to climb. But I've got good intuition and had a lesson to impart to dear Tracy: When Life is knocking, open the damn door and go play.
"What would your mother say?" you ask? Well, I'll tell you what she said. She said, "Ooh. Sounds fun!" No joke.

Back to the bar.
Our foolish foursome headed to the Majestic diner on Ponce de Leon Ave and stocked up on 1AM deliciousness... like mashed potatoes and chocolate milkshakes. Then we bade each other farewell...for a few hours.

Because TDH and RayBan showed up outside of Christ the King Cathedral right after 10AM, to pick up Tracy and me from the steps of church after morning mass. By this time, we'd spent all of 3 hours with these boys. But don't worry; they met my mother. Next stop was Starbucks for some iced goodness, where we also picked up 6'4", the largest yoga instructor I've ever met.
Scene: TDH and me in the front seat. Tracy crammed in the back with RayBan and 6'4". Neither of us could really complain.
And we were off.
If you've never been crammed into a car with one friend of 22 years and three handsome perfect strangers, with three hours of I-75 ahead of you, I'd suggest you find the nearest opportunity to do so. It was riotous. And three hours + 1 pit-stop later, we emerged on the grassy plains of Tennessee, two clicks over from a cow pasture. The boys sprang for our tickets (Dear South, I love you, and I love the gentlemen you foster. This never would have happened in Boulder), and we found ourselves walking into the earth, feeling the temperature drop from 82 to 55 in a matter of seconds, the soft closeness of underground humidity brushing at our skin. Stalagmites, stalactites, underground waterfalls and pools of water, low ceilings, (-duck, 6'4", duck!) and dirt in your flip-flops. After about a 1/4 mile trek into the mountainside, the ceiling lifted into a huge cavern, with folding chairs set in rows, with stage lights set into the walls, with a soundstage beneath a natural arch, and a giant crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling.

And then the real magic began.
Caverns have built-in sound systems, and it was a matter of moments before we were awash in the sounds of Bluegrass Underground. Monty Montgomery, and then Darrell Scott, then the unforgettable lyrics of Will Hoge (who asked the startlingly apropos question: Where do we go from down?), and the quirky-isn't-quite-the-right-word Justin Townes Earl.
It. Was. Amazing.
I'd try to describe it more, but those moments belong wrapped up in that earthy cocoon, deep beneath the root systems of Tennessee Pines, some distant echo of Orpheus singing to Eurydice.
You know that feeling when you're coming out of The Mineshaft Ride at SixFlags, or finishing the It's A Small World caves in Disneyworld? After the concert, we emerged from the subterranean haven, back into the hot and sticky world of the South in Summer. We stopped in Chattanooga for dinner, and at about 10:30 PM, RayBan hollers from the back seat, "Hey guys! We've known each other for 24 hours!"
"Think Fast!" screamed Life.

"I got it! I got it! I got it!!"
photos: The Year 2008 in Photographs -The Big Picture- from, seagulls {rose-coloured-rain} Happy (pretty) Monday from, NicoliNiki image from Phototree, Clock by Ejfel Utan Zita, Old door by Bogdan Dascalescu, Nighthawks by Edward Hopper, Harkness Tower clock face, open road from 500px by Yuriy_Nezdoiminoge, Cumberland Caverns chandelier, Cumberland Caverns concert image, Tennessee Hills at Sunset, North of Knoxville by sky scooter at, University of Rochester clock, Goodbye by Zara J


  1. Love Will Hoge! And why can't my visits to Atlanta result in that much fun??

  2. Wow, I hadn't read this until today. I LOVE it, and of course it sounds very familiar. You made the day sound so much more glamorous and fabulous than when I try to tell the story myself. I'll just have to refer everyone here so I don't have to try to explain!