We went to Athens, GA but it was a football weekend which attracts amateur drinkers from the suburbs and usually there are fights and always there are DUI checkpoints. We opted to visit an old friend on the outskirts of town to weather this afront to all that is holy and decent (which is to say, us going down and bar crawling town…bastards).
Instead, we visited many of our old haunts and a dear old friend from Atlanta (both me and Jackie have known her about a month longer than we have known one another). She does some fine wood carving, plays a mean round of whiffle ball golf, and remembers outrageous shit we’ve done together that should have gotten us killed or worse…and now causes us to giggle uncontrollably and thank the government for the statutes of limitations.
I got a run in at Sandy Creek, the length of Cook’s Trail which I ran end-to-end-to-end noting that many of the exposed roots and hidden sinkholes were exactly where I remembered. This wasn’t surprising as I ran this route 2 or 3 times a week from the day it opened anytime I have been in Athens…having lived there 11 years I can claim at least 10,000 miles on this path and 8 more last Sunday.
Athens is full of eccentrics as is the entire South, but Athens eccentrics are a special case. As a bona fide southern nutcase, I have to say that I have never felt more instantly at home anywhere else as I have in Athens. I had this theory a few years ago, as we got even stranger than we were when we first moved there (and watched perfectly normal folk move in and quickly deteriorate into babbling messes), that there had some sort of military experiment that polluted the water supply–everyone drinks from the aquifer a few hundred feet below you–and slowly turned you into a mildly hallucinating weirdo. The other theory is that most of us actually were tripping all the time. Both seem plausible, from the evidence I have.
Case in point is the friend we stayed with. Since our last visit she has developed an addiction to nicotine gum, and chews more than 170 of the 4 mg doses per week–the equivalent of two-and-a-half packs per day even though she has never smoked tobacco in her life.
That story was dredged before the end of our first five minutes of “catching up” and somehow segued into Jamie’s mom’s prediliction for death stories. Although she doesn’t do it as constantly as she used to, she still can interrupt a perfectly good conversation with a comment like, “right over there is where them boys cut that man’s head off and rolled it down the mountain,” [2:45 pm, Sunday 10 October 2010]. It’s hard to say which makes you feel like the trip home is more real: Jackie’s ma telling a decapitation story when you’re trying to enjoy the Autumn colours or laughing your ass off about it at Debra’s whilst trying to keep abreast of the insane level of her stories.
Speaking of nutty people, we stopped by T’s house in Atlanta on our way out of the country. The pictures of clutter and cool junk are all from there and if you check Atlanta’s Craig’s List you can find out how much of it is for sale. I would’ve bought the Tahitian lamp if I had room in my luggage…