Wednesday, September 3, 2008

An Oasis in Memphis

The days got away from me there for a second, but I put my feet down and stopped my laziness from spiraling into the usual snow boulder of pity. I’m sitting in a coffee shop in Memphis that is so original it’s gone back around to being homogenous, in a good way. Over the course of the last 24 hours we said goodbye to our gracious host Elena in Huntsville and said hey now to our new city of stay, Memphis. But when as much transpired as has, it is best to start were it makes most sense starting.

We woke the morning the day before this eager to leave the comfort and laid back atmosphere of Huntsville. Elena and her house had served as an interesting setting for our stay, and we are truly grateful for her hospitality and accent. As a kind of parting gift to us, she got us day passes to the new local gym down the street, D1.

Elena's shower, songs that should be sung inside include; "Rocket Man" Elton John, "Space Oddity" David Bowie, and "Humans are Dead" Flight of the Concords.

When our soft fleshy bodies walked through the doors of this megachurch of a gym, we were pretty amazed with the facilities. Dallas Terrell greeted us as the door and gave us the tour.

The place was started by former college teammates of my favorite sell out, no chin professional quarterback, Peyton Manning. The name denotes training as if one were in a division 1 collegiate sports program.

As we tried to work out we saw normal people, the kind of people you would see at a normal gym grunting and sweating doing some pretty unique and impressive drills, i.e. flipping giant tires down the turf line practice field, then beating them with sledge hammers. (Not making this up, 50 year old women beating this piece of rubber within an inch of it’s tread life)
The concept is that you show up for scheduled ‘classes’, then train in groups as if you were all on the same team. I think it’s a great concept, and guess what, so does Dallas. We said goodbyes to our muscly friend just as he was posting quote from proverbs on the gigantic white board; ‘A friend who is close is better than a brother who is far away.’

We hit the road hard, determined to reach Memphis under the 4 hours iphone predicted it would take.

I read aloud to Nate from his new book, NIXONLAND, an amazing work on documenting moment by moment, and quote by quote Nixon’s and the rights rise to power out of the ashes and frustration of liberalism’s death rattle following LBJ’s presidency. I think I read it really well, Nate is unavailable for comment.

We were awe struck with the ride and scenery that came with it, not that it was particularly beautiful nor not, it was just interesting and inspired high brow thoughts and monologues of lives outside of our own thoughts and familiarity

We arrived at our Hostel, and I must admit, having had several hostel experiences that I would rather forget but seem to remember inverse to that wanton desire, was trepid. The pilgrim house immediately set my mind at ease, welcoming me with the familiar and comforting air of socialist/co-op/organic/fair trade poster propaganda painting the walls of the homey, laid back and casual hostel.

We put our stuff down and before I had a chance to open my mouth and fuck it up, our group had paired up with a group of transplanted Spanish teachers from Louisiana. And so followed, the natural progression of such a situation.

And so time passed and I find myself at this coffee shop across from the hostel, talking to two more New Orleans displaced. Nate and Gill share some similar frustrations that are also attributed to making the city a unique place for opportunity.

We’ve heard that New Orleans is letting people back in today, sounds like we’ll get silly one more time before reentering the city that expelled us a few days ago, at which point I will have spent more days outside it city than in it.

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