Photo essay: West Nashville, Headquarters Coffee, and shit

Headquarters Coffee wouldn’t take any of my shit. They had a sign up that said “Our plumbing is over 100 years old. If you have to go #2, don’t use our toilet. Our pipes can’t handle your pipes.” I had to take a shit really badly because I just drank coffee, and coffee makes me shit. I asked the counter worker, the barista, what I should do. I said “I can’t use your bathroom. Any idea where I can go?” She told me that I could go next door to Cool Things and Weird Stuff. So I go over there.

 

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So— what do you do?

This morning, I’m thinking again about what I’d do if I had no need to earn money. It’s easy to give a fanciful answer involving charter jets, mansions, luxury goods, or endless cruise ship vacations. It’s easy to make some equally unlikely scenario involving sainthood: opening a homeless shelter or volunteering to save the rainforest.

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Your mother is not your friend

My parents suddenly appeared in San Francisco one weekend in January 2006 with a desperate plea that I become more involved in their lives as my dad expected to die from cancer within the year. My residence in Sodom-by-the-Sea, so far away from them, had not been an accident, but rather where I ended up when I fled.

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The Tennessee-Alabama racist tchotchke and Confederate dreamcatcher emporium

There is a lovely road that leads out of Nashville and into the hills. Before the hills, there are suburbs all the way to Murfreesboro. Then there is a place in Manchester where they’ve widened the road to accommodate the yearly music festival there. The road climbs about thirty miles to Monteagle: from there, if the weather is good, you can look down in either direction upon Tennessee’s finest, who enforce a low 55 miles-per-hour speed limit both directions up the hill.

This road, I-24, continues then on over hills and plateaus and lakes to Chattanooga. From Chattanooga, I-75 stretches southward into the sprawl of the ten-county metropolitan Atlanta area, the residents of which are largely unable to list all ten counties. I have driven between Nashville, TN and Atlanta, GA at least once a month, on average, since I moved to Nashville in 2009. In the three years before that, I did a much longer drive from Normal, IL, that also put me on 24 from Nashville to Atlanta. All of these things I have done for the sake of taking care of family.

I know my exits on this road. I know where the rest areas are. I know where I might get good food, coffee, or cheap gas. I know where it’s fun to stop. And, most of all, I know an amazing fireworks store where they sell racist tchotchkes and memorabilia.
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Frequently Asked Questions about me (FAQ), May 2007

Nobody actually asks these questions of me, but I wish they would. That’s what an Internet FAQ is. No one actually has ever previously asked the questions that have been compiled into a FAQ. The FAQ is merely a compilation of the desired conversational topics of the person compiling the list of questions. It’s an agenda for the future conversation instead of a chronicle of past queries.

Everyone knows this is the true nature of a FAQ, but no one writes I Wish These Were More Frequently Asked Questions. IWTWMFAQ doesn’t serve the purpose of brevity.

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Who was she?

What was that woman’s name? She saw me at her job at the sandwich shop in Asheville, and later told me that she had been so turned on that she went into the bathroom and masturbated, thinking of me. I didn’t pay it much mind, but that might have been the first time that I had to admit that women could actually be interested in me, or that I didn’t always have to be the perpetrator or pursuer.
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