I love the Bluebird Café. It’s probably my favorite “thing to do” in Nashville. Since arriving here two months ago, I’ve been going about once a week, just to listen and enjoy the writers. If I’m with a friend, then typically we’ll sit and eat (I enjoy their Big Salad with grilled chicken), but if I’m by myself, I find a dark seat in one of the pews in the back. Last night was one of those nights.
The cardinal (haha, get it, like a bird?) rule at the Bluebird is “Shhhh!!” This a listening venue, a place that is all about the song, the writing, the exposing of story and emotion through music. People are expected to sit down and hush, primarily because this is the respectful thing to do, but also because why would you choose to miss out on the unfolding of some amazing songs? I feel like I am given a gift every time I sit at the Bluebird, and I am constantly inspired with ideas, which I rapidly scribble down in a little notebook that I carry in my purse.
Which is why last night, when two out-of-town businessmen at a table behind me couldn’t rip themselves out of their loud and sarcastic conversation, I was annoyed. No, I was more than annoyed. I was enraged.
They were in business casual khakis, each with a Bluetooth attached to his ear. I mean, really? At a restaurant? TAKE THAT THING OFF, YOU LOOK RIDICULOUS. They switched off between conversation with each other, and answering their cell phones. “Nah, man, we’re at the Bluebird. THE BLUEBIRD! Yeah, it’s this restaurant with music and shit. No, I’m in NASHVILLE. Going for drinks later – wanna meet up? Come ON, man! We’ll find some LADIES – hot chicks, you know what I’m saying?”
It was atrocious, and tasteless, and offensive. I felt insulted on behalf of the performers, and on behalf of the audience, and on behalf of myself.
I sat there stewing about it for a few minutes, but when their cackles reached a crescendo and no one was telling them to stop, I whipped my head around and glared at them – a long, deliberate, poisonous glare, first at one, and then at the other. You. And you. Better shut up. Or I will come back there and personally remove your vocal chords with my bare hands.
They both froze, mid-sentence, staring back at me. They were like cats that had been caught scratching the furniture: alert, but no sign of contrition. I turned back around.
But this was not the end of their erroneous behavior. Their voices continued to rise, over and over again, no matter how many times I mentally dealt them excessive violence.
At the end of the show, I stood up to gather my things, mourning the heist of a peaceful evening, when I felt a tap on my shoulder. “Excuse me, are you a writer?”
Oh look, it’s the spawn of Satan.
I mumbled something about “yeah, maybe, I guess, blog, songs about abortion…”
He smiled. “I could tell – you kept writing things down.”
“We’re from out of town – Richmond, Virginia.”
I was being cold. I was so not about to look this man in the eye, for fear of the eruption of venom I could feel building up toward my tongue.
“We’re going for drinks downtown – care to join us?”
OH NO YOU DIDN’T. Did you just hit on me? After I have done everything short of castrating you with my laser beam glare for the past hour? Are you that clueless, that moronic? What makes you think that I would consider spending ONE MORE MINUTE of my time talking to the men who completely violated the Bluebird code of conduct?
“No. Thank you, though.”
Luckily, I get to go again tomorrow.