Here in Nashville, a heavy emphasis is placed on “who you know.” A lot of name-dropping happens, and networking is important within the music industry. And so obviously, it’s easy for me to feel very unseen here; I don’t have too many connections to the big, “important” people.
But that’s okay.
At work, the FedEx man and the UPS man vie for my affection. I feel like I can’t be loyal to them both, as they are rivals in the mailing industry. But if I had to choose, I would go with the FedEx man. For starters, the signature pad that FedEx uses is far superior to UPS’, and secondly, he has teeth like Bugs Bunny. How can you NOT like someone with teeth like Bugs Bunny? Every day, he has a cute little comment about the weather, and then smiles his Chicklet-toothed grin. He is, oddly, very charming.
Every night after work, I walk the same 5-mile loop. And every night, I walk past Jay. He stands outside of his family-owned convenience store – just stands, I haven’t quite figured out what he is doing – and we’ve started making small talk each time we see each other. So far, I know this: he plays basketball, and works “over there” [thumb over shoulder]. He has an amazingly genuine smile, and diamond stud earrings, and every time as I walk away, without fail, he calls after me, “Have a nice walk!” Except “walk” sounds like “wah-ohk.”
I live across the street from a residence that houses and aids former prisoners as they transition back into society. At first, I was sketched out by the idea: ex-convicts across the street? What is this – “The ‘Burbs”? But my landlord assured me that they act as the watchdogs of the neighborhood, scaring off car prowlers and keeping an eye on things, since they know that if anything happens in the surrounding area, they will be the first ones to get blamed. It turns out that this house is enormously successful in helping these people make the switch from prison back into the real world, and that the men who live there are slowly putting their lives back together.
After my cookie baking binge a few weeks back, I brought the leftover cookies to their house and offered them to the men sitting on the porch. They now wave at me every time I walk out to my car, and yell “hello” from across the street.
Okay, and sometimes there are cat calls and whistles.
These are all odd characters to have in my everyday life. But I am thankful for them. It is easy for me to feel very anonymous here, since I live alone and typically don’t have a lot going on socially. But these people make me feel a little less invisible. I value their presence in my life more than I would value someone who is disingenuous.
But if we’re going to name-drop, I had lunch with Meg Allison today, and she is fabulous.