Neon, Hot Chicken and “It”: A New Year’s Salute to Nashville

You don’t have to be staring down the neon pantheon of Lower Broadway in Nashville to know one incontrovertible fact.  America’s Music City (as country’s most powerful radio station calls it) is a funky, bizarre place.

And whether you love country or Anything Else, whether you know where to get original hot chicken or couldn’t care less, whether you think we’re “It” or all the hype is just nonsense–if you’ve spent any time here, you’ve encountered the eccentricities that make our city a place like no other.new-years-14-on-broadway

Those of us who live here get lots of questions these days from distant friends and family about all things Nashville.  In homage to the weird bits I love best, and a few ongoing headaches, I started a series of Facebook mentions about the everyday experiences of Music City life.   As a New Year’s salute to my adopted metropolis, one of the best places to live on the planet (all kidding aside), I’m sharing a few here that generated the most comments and questions.  Enjoy—and come visit!

You’re so Nashville++ if:

You can immediately think of a country song featuring the first name of your friend’s newborn daughter.   Not that they chose it for that reason…but welcome to the world, Baby Ruby, from Kenny Rogers and me.

Your new bank offers the option of a debit card featuring a photo of the Ryman Auditorium.  And you take it, and proceed to show it off.

You wait your turn at the Whole Foods salad bar along with Steven Tyler from Aerosmith.  And no one around seems to notice or care.  (He’s a little dude, by the way.)

You’re in the TSA line at BNA behind a guy with a guitar strapped to his back.  Swear I don’t know how they keep their livelihoods from getting smashed on planes.  The guitars, I mean.

An informal chat about Thanksgiving plans with neighbors reveals they are traveling to New York for the holiday, to watch their son the country star sing in the Macy’s Parade.

Your favorite radio station for the inbound commute offers an ad for a funeral home that will stage services in the garage where the Harley is.

You can hear the bass thumping 19 floors up in your downtown office from the open stage across the street during the annual Country Music Association festival.  You tap your feet during your conference call and don’t bother to turn off the speakerphone.

You’ve eaten a great dinner with a friend while watching a long line of people excitedly waiting to take selfies with not Taylor Swift—but her mother.  (I, of course, had to ask someone who the woman was.)

You have recently lost a tire to a roofing nail or some other object from a construction site that is not anywhere near your house.  It’s EVERYWHERE.

You know the genuine honky-tonks on Broadway from the fake ones.

You have gone through the first three names on your list of reliable plumbers, only to discover they are all working in new residential development and unavailable for weeks.

The fill-in assistant teacher in your yoga class is a movie star.  In this case, Ashley Judd.

You have fielded requests for restaurant recommendations in Nashville by inbound co-workers or visiting parents of college students six times in the last 30 days.

You know the location of and story behind this reference to the top of region’s most famous radio tower: “That’s a funny place to build a city.”

———————————————————————

++Complete credit for the concept “You’re So Nashville if….” goes to our excellent alternative weekly, the Nashville Scene, which holds a submission contest annually for similar observations.  I’ve never entered, but obviously love the idea and am a regular reader. if you really want to know what Nashvillians think about Nashville, it’s great fun, and you can see the most recent one here.

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