Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Five Feet High and Risin'

About two weeks and twelve years ago, an F-3 tornado ripped through downtown Nashville. It destroyed my little historic church and much of the little historic neighborhood where I now live. At the time, I was in school in Ohio and I spent several days parked on my futon in front of the news and watched friends and relatives being interviewed by national reporters.

From this past Saturday evening until last night I had to do the same thing all over again. Only this time it was flood waters that inundated downtown Nashville instead of wind, and I was in a hotel room in Colorado instead of the futon in my apartment.

The other difference this time, it seems, is that my city has had to share the news cycle with car bombers and oil spills and wingnut immigration legislation and maybe it's received less of the spotlight than it should. Maybe. Many people around here certainly think so and are outraged. I'm not sure I'm in the same camp. If we were swarmed with reporters 24-7 it would just create a shortage of actual news and leave them with nothing to do but ferret out the most ridiculous situations and even more opportunity to report things incorrectly. As it is, I'm already annoyed by the news: "That's not the symphony hall - that's the Country Music Hall of Fame!" "That's not how you pronounce the police chief's name!" "The Opryland Hotel isn't downtown - it's nowhere near downtown!"

I also don't have a lot of faith that they would show the real Nashville. The whole Nashville. The Nashville that I know - grungy, beautiful, absurd, welcoming, tacky, funny, annoying, gracious, ridiculous, wonderful, and weird. They would miss the fact that when it snowed a few inches this winter we were completely incapacitated, but with a devastating flood everyone (it seems anyway) has come together and quietly gotten down to the business of helping their neighbors and reminding us why we're the Volunteer State. On Monday my mother called to say that my next door neighbor had gone out in his boat to help evacuate people. When the mayor put out a call for people to help sandbag the levy near my office, 300 people showed up within an hour. A friend called on Tuesday and said Hands On Nashville (right) already had offers of help from more than 7,000 people. Last I heard, that number was up to 20,000.

And in case you were wondering... by the grace of a little bit of elevation, and a lot of luck, my church and neighborhood that were so ravaged by that tornado, managed to escape the worst of the flood. The rest of the city and its outer suburbs, however, did not. Many people have died. Interstates turned into rivers within minutes, deep enough to cover a semi-truck. The Grand Ole Opry, the Titans' football field, and our main water treatment plant were under several feet of water.

While I am happy and thankful that my little corner of town was spared, it also has caused some guilt. Guilt of not having been here; guilt for only suffering a couple of fallen gutters and a house that smells like soggy dog; guilt for not realizing at first how bad the flooding was. Another friend expressed similar thoughts in a much more poetic fashion here. She also shared the following video.

What's the most fitting music to put to images of the great Nashville flood, you ask?
Why, Johnny Cash, of course.

I hope all of this doesn't mean we'll be suffering a plague of locusts in another twelve years and two weeks. That's bound to test even the strongest of Southern resolves and hospitality. In the meantime, while I'm kind of glad not to have Brian Williams and Wolf Blitzer beating down our doors, I do hope we can still find a way to let the rest of the country know what is going on and that they keep us in their thoughts.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Home Sick

I was in Denver for work the end of last week and over the weekend. And while it was a great trip - and I have all kinds of crafty things to chat about - I also had to sit by the television and watch my city flood on CNN. I'm very fortunate that my home, and the homes of my friends and family are all okay, but many, many others are not. Its a real - and surreal - mess down here.

So... more about this later... here's what I would have posted otherwise...

Rocky Mountain High
I was in Denver for a gigantic conference for work and was also there with two of my main gays. So, to add to all of the hiking around their convention center (but look, isn't it the cutest convention center you've ever seen?) I was also galavanting around the city in the evenings and plied with cocktails until all hours. And when you combine those activities with a new time zone, a different climate, and crazy altitude, I'm now totally exhausted and have a cold. HOWEVER, on the plus side, while in Denver, I was served drinks from a bartender that looks like Michael Phelps, rode in an elevator with a mini Evan Lysacek, and one of the presenters at a session I attended sounded just like the Count from Sesame Street: "ONE cognative learning research method! TWO cognative learning research methods! Bwah-ah-ah!" (made the presentation waaaay more interesting, BTW.) So really - two olympic athlete look-alikes and a muppet impersonator - what more do you need to give a trip two thumbs up than that?

Last Supper

I had one of the best $*#@& meals of my life at this place. Mostly organic, locally grown yumminess. It's in a old service station, which they've managed to pay homage to nicely, and most of the interior is from reused, salvaged and recycled/repurposed materials. If you're ever in Denver, you must go.

No Mary Ann Either
My only cons of Denver: 1. people can be a little gruff and inconsiderate with your personal space. 2. There's apparently no gingerale available in the entire town. I tried to order a Jack and Ginger on more than one occassion, only to be met with a quizzical look or blank stare as the bartender replied, "uhhh we don't have ginger..." Thinking they thought I meant actual ginger, I would clarify, "gingerALE." When met with another "no," accompanied with a look of "I knew what you meant, dumbass," I first went in the opposite direction and settled for a lemon drop. The second time they had already poured the Jack Daniels in the glass so I just went with that. Made my scratchy throat feel much better.

Familiar Feel

While wandering around downtown Denver, I stopped into sports memorabilia and souvenier store. Now, the city of Denver has been good to my boys in orange and I was therefore tempted to buy either a Todd Helton / Rockies shirt or a Broncos shirt in honor of Al Wilson. You've heard me speak of my love of Al Wilson before, but for your amusing bit o' sports trivia for the day, I will tell you about the other. Todd Helton attended the University of Tennessee on both a football and baseball scholarship. Legend has it, he was debating about whether to switch to baseball full time, but couldn't make up his mind. In football he was one of two backup quarterbacks and early in the season of his sophomore year (I believe), the starting quarterback suffered a season-ending injury. At the next practice, the two backup quarterbacks vied for the starting position and Helton's mind was quickly made up - he would leave football - and went on to an amazing baseball career with Tennessee and then the Rockies. The other backup quarterback: Peyton Manning.

Resistance is Futile. Cue the Dirge.
It was decided that my new place of employment does not have enough of an online presence, including social media. It was also decided that I would be responsible for improving that presence, finding ways to market our organization through social media, and keeping an eye on what our competitors are up to out there in the interwebs. So, guess who had to join Facebook against her will and better judgement? And guess whose time has been heard loudly sucked through the tubes of said interwebs in the mere 24 hours since she opened an account? Kill me now. That said... if you want to "friend" me and don't already know my real name, just click over there on the right and send me an email.

And finally... speaking of clicking over there to the right... if you've got any money or time left, what with all the other craziness in the world, my beloved city is under about 10-feet of water and we could use a hand. Many thanks.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Nashville Flooding
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party