When my wife first got transferred to Nashville we knew she'd be spending most of the time in Tennessee by herself while I commuted from southwest Florida. We found a swell high-rise condo on the 29th floor of a building called The Viridian, and, because of the heavenly views, we named our place the SkyLodge. This worked nicely for awhile....until we sold our home in Florida.
Suddenly, 1,000 square feet had to hold not only Carol but me, full-time, and our two cats, who proceeded to take over the condo as if it were their own kitty condo. There are two couches. Each cat claimed one, which means we find ourselves shooshing and angering felines every time we want to sit down. There is a cat box in one bathroom, a cat box in the bathtub of the other. Every time we open the refrigerator door they come meowing and begging. They have basically ruined high-rise living for us. I joked with our friend, who is the condo association president:
"I know it's a $500 fine to throw a cigarette butt off my balcony, but is it still only $500 for something significantly larger? ... Or does the size of the fine increase with the size of the object?"
"Like what?" he asked.
"Oh, I don't know ... like a ... like a cat, maybe?"
"Same fine," he said. "Cats and ciggies will cost the same."
Instead, we bought a house. It's a swell place in the Green Hills neighborhood, with a huge screened-in porch that overlooks a ravine of trees that are atwitter with birds. Though I certainly won't miss the aggressive homeless folk, I'm reluctant to leave downtown. We're surrounded by countless interesting people with jobs that take them all over the world. Lyricists for some of the biggest names in music, for example, live here. Last week the head singer of Lady Antebellum was eating meatloaf with friends on my floor. I also believe that our building, though I can't prove it, also is the center of Nashville's gay mafia, which means the Christmas decorations are faaaaaabulous and we know everything cool within 20 square miles. I have worn a pink cowboy hat while drinking Cosmos and joined friends shouting out at the TV as we watch Glee.
I'm afraid we're going to be bored with the folk in our new leafy neighborhood. Imagine this scenario:
"Oh, it's really nice to meet you," I'll say to Bill Blah. "What do you do?"
"I'm a stock analyst," he'll say.
"And ...?" I'll ask. "Is that all? Anything else?"
"What do you mean?"
"Don't you write music for anyone famous?" I'll ask. "Do you run an entertainment company of some kind?"
"Uhhh ... well ...."
"Do you perform as a drag queen somewhere on the weekends? That would be cool."
"Uhm ... no ... but I do collect stamps."
Just kidding. I'm sure I'm gonna love the folks on Wentworth Avenue. Each time we've driven down the new street someone has waved at us from a driveway. I'm sure that Green Hills, like downtown, is filled with interesting people -- because this is Nashville, one of America's top-ten-favorite cities in just about every travel magazine.
A promise to my new neighbors: If I venture out in my underwear to get the mail, I'll promise to run so as to minimize disgust.