Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Memphis part 1 (long)

Ahh yes, the kids are out of school, allergies are horrible, gas prices are on the rise, and it's hot as hell… must be summer time.

And we all know what summer time means. Vacation! And with us vacations are not taken for granted. There is a group of us who all go on vacation every year. Each year we take at least two vacations as a group. Typically we take at least one summer trip, which is usually to a coastal destination and one to a major/mid-major city for New Years Eve/New Years day. Now this group could be/has been as little as four of us and as big as 16 or so.
One particular New Years trip we took was to Memphis. Damn, I love Memphis. Great music, good atmosphere, and we always have a good time. But this trip was one of those "adventures" that I have spoken of before.
It was cold as hell in Dallas the day we left. I mean it was one of those icy days where the wind would make you stop in your tracks. It was one of those days when you don't mind waiting to check-in because at least you're not still outside. We checked in got to the gate and boarded the plane without any problems. Then the announcement I was waiting for happened. "Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking. We are going to be a little late taking off. There is a line backed up to take off." Sounds like nap time to me, since we are going to be here for a while anyway. I come to some time later and we are on final approach over Little Rock. Of course I ask the typical first question you ask when waking up on a plane "where are we?" and I was happy to hear the answers was not "Still in Dallas". I take a look out the window after we landed and I see nothing but ice on all of the trees near the runway. In an effort of praise for the fine job landing I say "Man that ice looks kind of scary, good thing we landed safely" to which my wife (girlfriend at the time) says "Yeah, you should have been awake when they de-iced the plane, twice." Now I feel like the plane goober. So we let the people off who are getting off in Little Rock and other people get on. Shortly after they get on we take off for Memphis. Back to sleep I go. You see, I am a fantastic flyer, I am either sleeping, listening to music, or so hammered that I just enjoy being. Not afraid to fly or anything like that, just get bored sitting there looking at the back of someone's head.
We land in Memphis with no problems, except for the National Guard. This trip was post 9/11 and we were walking to the baggage claim when I got something in my shoe, so I made my way to the side and went to get the rock or whatever out of my shoe. I guess I did this on the day that this Guardsmen old lady told him she was banging the whole neighborhood or something because he was well beyond pissed. "KEEP MOVING" he says. Dirty look, empty my shoe, some tacky comment under my breath and off we go get our bags and head out to the taxi line. Since I am not a tool I know that you should walk to the first car in the line, not the one directly out the doors, so I walk to the first cab in line and the guy just kind of sits there, listening to the radio and ignoring me. So I ask him "hey buddy, are you working?" and he says "yeah". So I say "Well don't get up, I will put these bags in the trunk myself". He must have been listening because he didn't move a muscle. That's fine, it's your tip homey! We get the bags in the trunk, hop in the back seat and tell him where we are going. In an attempt to make small talk with this oh so personable guy, I ask him if he thinks it will snow on New Years Eve or Day and he replies simply "It don't snow in Memphis". Fine, I want try to make your piss pour career choice seem a little better, just drive us to the hotel. After a couple of minutes I start to pay attention to the radio show he was listening to, this guy was listening to the Black Panther Hour or something, no wonder this guy didn't want to talk to me. Now don't get all down on me and say stuff like "you must be a racist". Hardly, I don't dig hate groups of any fashion. It is also about this time that I realize we have been on the road for quite some time now. I look over at my wife and jokingly say to her "You know he is going to drive us out to the middle of now where and kill us, right?" After a while I started to believe it myself because we just kept driving. Then I figured it out, this dick was just taking the longest route possible to get us to the hotel. So I say "hey man, what way are you going?" It was about this time we made a couple of turns and we were there. Asshole. So he got the big "thanks" tip when we got out stuff out of the car and went into the hotel. We knew this hotel was not on Beale, but was listed as close to Beale. Man we were 5 freaking miles from Beale. Ok, everything is relative, but isn't that a stretch? Not only was it not close to Beale St. it was not what they advertised either, kind of ticked about that because of how much we paid, but I chalked it up to being NYE and just left it at that. So in typical tourist fashion we get the group together and make our way to the Peabody to see the world famous Peabody ducks. Well F'ing yippee. We got to watch some ducks come out of an elevator and into a fountain. That's it? They don't do any tricks or anything like that? Just walk to water, like Mother Nature designed them to do? Well I can see why all of the people have gathered around. With the amount of flash bulbs going off you would think that Elvis was actually there. But it was for a group of ducks, who just walked into a fountain. Whatever.
Ok, we did the whole Peabody thing now let's go see some real entertainment. Let's go see some good ole' Memphis blues! We made our way down to Beale St. and went bar hopping most of the afternoon, since it was early we didn't see as many live bands but that was understandable and it was like December 29th. So I was not upset about that. But we did find one bar that had a band playing, the world famous Black Diamond! So we make our way in. I must give props to the manager because that was the only club on Beale that was serving food and had live entertainment. Smart move. And this place was PACKED. We work our way upstairs to find one tiny little table and we snag it quickly. Although it was small, it was right by the rail upstairs and we could see the stage, works for me! This band was pretty good, they were playing a lot of stuff everyone knew and there was a good party atmosphere. As time passed people came and went, except for these four people, who I would not have even noticed had it not been for this one guy. You know the guy, loudest guy in the bar, making an ass out of himself, usually the butt of jokes but doesn't even realize it. Usually it's me. Anyway, the band strikes up "Mustang Sally". I USED to like this song, until Helen Keller's tone deaf son started signing it. Well not all of it, just "RIDE SALLY RIDE' over and over and fucking over again. The band caught on that this dude was an idiot and kept playing the chorus. I think they were hoping he would give himself laryngitis. I know I damn sure was. So this goes on for a while. I mean over and over "RIDE SALLY RIDE, RIDE SALLY RIDE". I was about to let him ride the air-express to the first floor if I could have gotten to him. Finally the band takes a break and William Hung and company decide to leave. We finish our drinks, shoot the breeze for a little while and decide we should start to make our way towards where we were going to eat dinner. Pretty much the end of that night and we went to bed early because it had been a long day and we were going to see Graceland in the morning.

More to follow...

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