“We need to get out today,” my mom said at the breakfast table, staring at the rainy windowpane.
“And do what?” I asked with a mouthful of cheerios.
“Well we can go to Walmart…We can go to JCPenny, watch old ladies buy polyester pantsuits for Thanksgiving…”
I laughed, but my mother had just snarkily summed up the most thrilling activities in my hometown.
Now it’s possible that I have a skewed perspective; I’ve been spoiled for almost 6 years. I lived and went to college in Nashville, Music City, significantly more entertaining than my small town. Plus I was in college, so there was, ahem, plenty of fun to be had. I’ve been able to experience other cities such as Chicago and New York, and now I live in Dallas, the 9th largest city in the US, a city with plenty to do and see.
I’m spoiled, I know it, and I kind of feel guilty about it. When I come back to my hometown I feel like a snob. I can’t just hop over to a Whole Foods or Central Market and buy my favorite local milk or a unique food I’ve never tried. I don’t have my choice of dining options in all styles from all corners of the world, from taco truck to fine restaurant. I can’t walk to an art museum and browse. Hell, I can’t even browse a bookstore.
I can go to Walmart. I can go to JCPenny and watch old ladies buy polyester suits. Actually I can go to any number of places and watch old white people do things.
When I come back now, I find myself repeating “In Dallas we have this and that. In Dallas I can do this and that. In Dallas I would be blah blah blah. Dallas Dallas Dallas Food Food Dallas.”
Have I become a city girl? Or worse, have I become a Texan???
Jokes aside, I am a city girl. I need variety, movement, diversity, modernity, and some damn good culinary options. My hometown has just always felt too small for me. And though I really like Nashville, Tennessee has always felt small for me too. But people I love love Tennessee, so I try not to sound like a broken record about Dallas for fear of sounding like a snobby d-bag. And there are things I love about Tennessee…but not many are in my hometown.
So what did my mom and I do today? We left. We drove 45 minutes to Cool Springs. Went to Whole Foods. Bought some delicious Olive & Sinclair artisan chocolate, a local Nashville company while there. Browsed Barnes & Noble. Watched Puss in Boots at a once-nice-now-shitty movie theater. And we were still scraping for things to do. If not for the heavy rain, I might have suggested driving the extra 15 minutes to Nashville, but that will be another day. We took the scenic route back home. There are beautiful things here, but today the rain and season casts a depressing pallor over everything and obscured one of my favorite things about Tennessee: the gorgeous sunsets. Something else for to save for another day.