Broadway is Nashville’s central entertainment district that encompasses the five blocks of the eponymous street, starting at the river and ending at Fifth Avenue. Other venues, bars, and restaurants line the intersecting streets. There are about thirty bars, four boot stores, one candy shop, one ice cream parlor, a hot dog stand, a psychic, and several tourist trinket shops. Live music emanates from the bars, generically called “honky tonks,” sixteen hours a day every day of the year.
There are about sixteen venues in five blocks. There’s not usually a door charge; the bands play for tips all day. And they are really quite good. That’s 1024 hours of music every day, for those of you who know your powers of two.
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.
I often wonder what people think about the place I live. The people staying here for AirBnB right now seem neutral. As a rule, I’m often unaware of how my guests really feel. Today presented a very special opportunity for my housekeeping skills to be judged by the religious right.
I have often concerned myself more with becoming instead of merely being. I thought the future was going to reveal some amazing secrets about me. I confess that the promise of a better me or a better future distracted me from the opportunities of the moment. As I’ve aged, and I’m no longer confronted by endless possibility, I’m better able to see how well I might live right this very moment, with no self-improvement necessary.
Last night, I went out blues dancing at Cumberland Park, Nashville’s new riverfront park. Many of the parking lots and streets next to LP Field and the Shelby pedestrian bridge were cordoned off to accommodate a autocross festival that will take place starting today.