I've been flying all over the place. I sort of feel like I'm living this magical life, full of crazy ups and downs with a pinch of who-knows-what's-going-to-happen.
The downs are hard. Being sick for my first week of real work. Always missing Tim and Bruce, usually missing holidays and special events, almost losing my badge, definitely missing my flight, and overall, generally losing my composure A LOT.
But the ups are this: Flying into Nashville, Tennessee, a place I've never been. Throwing my stuff in my hotel room and going downtown to wander. Finding BBQ and fried chicken and honky tonks galore, settling into a dingy exposed brick establishment with a girl who looks sixteen wailing away about a boy in a trailer park. Drinking the coldest beer imaginable at noon because I can, walking along the river in a haze, hearing people saying ma'am and bye, ya'll and men tipping their hats when I get in the elevator. And then the hotel bar, where the night gets hazy and comfortable over a pulled pork sandwich and another beer and a trio of ladies singing their heart out on stage about single moms and makin' ends meet.
At a certain point I wander out of the crowded bar and into the hotel lobby. The sun is beginning to set over the pool in the back patio, perfectly framing a family of four, dripping wet from their recent pool excursion, now hovered over the lobby TV, watching a spelling bee, entranced. I feel pulled into this charmed moment, and rush to the elevator to reach the highest floor, knowing the sunset is eminent. When the door opens on the top tier of the building, a magical scene awaits: a banquet room full of old men in top hats and canes, tuxedos and coattails. A ruddy faced gentlemen approaches the elevator where I stand, frozen. Tipping his hat, he asks me if I care to join the party. I politely decline, embarrassed to intrude.
"But it's no trouble at all! You see, we are the Royal Order of Jesters. We are just throwing a party!"
And with another tip of his hat, he skips off. I stare, open-mouthed, as the elevator doors close and I go back to my room. The sun is a ball of red sinking below the hills, and I lay in my bed, wondering what adventure tomorrow will bring.