Thursday, May 26, 2011
Nashville - Part 2
Let's talk for a few minutes about my love for Groupon. The building above is probably about the most beautiful hotel I have ever stepped into. In fact, I pause for a minute to think that 'hotel' might not be the right word. Yet, I don't seem to recall a more high-class word, so we'll go with that. It's the kind of place that has men dressed in tuxes to greet you at the front door. Once inside, it makes a person like me feel like I have the word impostor tattooed across my forehead. And, even though I was wearing my best, I felt as if I might as well have had my dress tucked into my underwear and toilet paper stuck to the bottom of my Wal-Mart shoe. I even threw a glance behind me to make sure I wasn't leaving any muddy footprints, even though I had only been walking on dry pavement.
Obviously not our normal scene. Yet, Groupon made it possible for us to dine in their fine restaurant one night by giving us a great deal. Even with the great deal, the bill was still in the 'only on extra-special occasions' category. We gave our name to the hostess and she checked our reservation. After finding our names she gave me a cold look that made me a bit self conscious of that impostor tattoo, but led us to a beautiful table at the edge of the dark, cozy room. As she pulled my chair out for me she asked me what I would like to drink.
"Water, please," I replied. I then started frantically trying to remember my manners as she started gently pushing my chair in behind me - - - do you help slide the heavy chair underneath you? do you wait until the chair is in the proper place before sitting down? Well, I tried not to 'plop' anyway... When I turned my attention back to her, I realized that she had expanded upon my 'water, please,' request and was asking what kind of water I wanted.
"....water, or sparkling water?" she asked.
"Um," I stalled as I tried to rewind my memory and play back her question, but all I could hear was mumble...water, mumblemumbleaboutdifferentkindsofbottledwater, or sparkling water? So I finally just tried to look thoughtful and dignified and said, "I'll just have, uh, regular water."
Regular? Regular was the best word I could come up with?!
She gave me that cold look again and walked away without a sound. Moments later the waitress came to our table with a silver pitcher and asked, "Is house water alright for you?" House. That would have been better. I nodded and she filled my glass. She cocked her hip a little when she was finished and asked, "So, do you guys have a Groupon?"
Is it that obvious? Really? Or are you just asking everyone? "Well, yes," I said a bit defeated. She asked for the coupon and I felt a rush of embarrassment flood to my cheeks. You see, I hadn't been actually planning on handing it to her so soon, so it wasn't very 'ready' yet. I pulled out the full sheet of paper and sadly confirmed my suspicion that it was folded in quarters and looking quite a bit like it had just been mindlessly shoved into a purse with the diapers, wipes, cracker crumbs, and bits of stale pretzels. I tried to unfold it, smooth out the edges and wipe away the cracker crumbs discretely as it made it's way through the air into her hand. Brian and I watched carefully that night as other couples were seated around us, and it became was quite clear that they were not, indeed, asking everyone if they had a Groupon.
I'm not sure I have ever laughed so much and so full of heart over dinner as I did that night with Brian (quietly laughing, of course...to appear dignified). There is something fun, adventurous and comical about pretending to fulfill a role that you know you're falling short of.
The next day we visited the Hermitage of President Andrew Jackson. It was there that we found out that Nashville is in a different time zone. This made us laugh quite hard because we had decided the night before, after seeing multiple clocks that were an hour behind, that Nashville had had a hard time with daylight savings. We made a mental note to change the clocks back in our hotel room and realized with another laugh that we had shown up to our reservation the night before an hour early. Maybe that's what the cold look was for...
Anyway, back to Andrew Jackson. I'm not much of a history buff, and found myself struggling a bit with the self-guided tour. The man in my headphones sounded much too much like my old high-school history teacher and I felt the drowsiness coming full speed after only two (of many) blurbs. Thankfully, the audio had a kids version of each blurb (spoken in the voice of the Jackson's parrot, Poll) and it didn't take long for me to swallow my pride and listen to that instead. It was much more entertaining, and I started enjoying it quite a bit. I even learned a little something, too.
Nashville. Who knew it would become one of my favorite parts of the country? And I'm pretty sure the kids would let us go back as long as we promised to bring them more cowboy hats and pop guns.