I left Waverley early this morning, ... an hour earlier than I'd intended. Yesterday I'd mistakenly checked the time with a stranger, ... that stranger had been travelling West, I'm still on Central Time, .. I've retrieved my lost hour. On Interstate 40, I pull onto the emergency shoulder, I quickly climb off the bike and began removing my upper clothing. A Highway Patrol officer had pulled in behind me, .. he was out of the car but keeping a safe distance. He didn't look very impressed, perhaps it was my English body, .... I'm officially the skinniest person in Tennessee. I show him the white bumps with red centres that are rising all over my neck and back, I showed him the offending wasps that were still buzzing inside my discarded tee shirt, ... he still wasn't impressed. He reminds me that it's an offence to use the emergency shoulder, ..... he counts the stings on my back, seven, .... plus two on my neck, ... nine stings in total. His mood changes,.. he jokes that I've committed 'Code 586' and 'Code 647 violations, ... Illegal Parking and Lewd Behaviour respectively, .. he lets me off with a smile and a firm handshake. I've now enjoyed a total of eighteen wasp and bee stings on this journey, but this is the first time that the wasps have attacked as a pair. Prior to Poor Circulation, I'd only ever been stung once in my life, .. that had hurt an awful lot more, .... perhaps I'm developing immunity.
It's fair to say that I hadn't fallen in love with Memphis, .... but Nashville looks and feels very different. I wander around 'The District' exploring the stores, flicking through real vinyl records in proper laminated covers, .... music is playing everywhere. The streets and buildings have character, the area feels unspoiled, .. aside form a 'Hard Rock Cafe', there's no sign of any multi-nationals invading these historic streets. I'm hungry, I eat Mexican at 'Elrey', .. I meet Mike and small group of his friends, they buy the beer and I laugh at their jokes. Mike's a 'Xerox Engineer', he enjoys the work, he meets lots of girls, he likes to talk about that, .. loudly.. 'Nashville's a hot place for hot girls buddy, .. Boo Yah' . I smile, .. one day he'll visit Russia. We move on, 'The Stage', 'Baileys', 'Roberts' and 'Legends', all bars with live music. In legends we sit and talk with two girls who work for AT&T here in Nashville. Mike knows them,.. perhaps he services their copiers, .... he has eyes for the tall dark haired girl with a forgotten name, he wants to give her a 'hunka hunka burning love', ... Mike's not the shy type, .. he tells her, .. the girls drink-up and leave.
The singer's good, .. a gravel voice and amazing blues guitar. I'd prejudged country music; depressing, morose. I was wrong, .. it seldom touches on the happier aspects of life, but it's actually very deep and soulful, ... I'm tapping my feet. I wont rush out and start buying CD's, .... but next time I'm stealing free downloads, I might review my 'playlist'. Mike and his friends have to leave, .... it's almost 10pm. I've booked into a cheap motel, the bike is already parked halfway into the lobby, 24 hour security, ... a shower and then sleep, ... I'm no longer used to drinking.