Thursday, September 19, 2013

Another Man's Treasure

All week long I have been dreading the task of going to the Social Security Administration.  Can you blame me?  It has been my own personal experience that any government run institution is a royal pain in the ass; long lines, unruly and impatient children and an either boiling hot or freezing cold climate.  Almost sounds like a dreaded trip to the Verizon Wireless store eh? 

Well anyway.... I finally mustered up the strength to tackle this errand head on today.  Having been fully caffeinated and determined to accomplish this task, I set out armed an ready for a long and unpleasant afternoon.  

When I walked into the local Social Security office I was surprised.  It wasn't nearly as treacherous as I had anticipated.  In fact, I was only one of three people waiting in line. Thank you God.  

"Number twenty-one please, " the man from behind the window called.  That's my number!!! 

After answering a few basic questions, the man looked down at the paperwork and sighed.  I must have looked concerned because he almost immediately explained his long winded exhale.  He looked at my former address and revealed how much he absolutely loved Nashville, TN.  

Before I knew it, we were engulfed in a conversation that reminded me of my own affection for my former residence.  He asked me why I would leave such an amazing city; what had brought me here, and if I ever thought of going back.  

And over the following few seconds, my entire Nashville experience flashed before my eyes.  I thought of my apartment, my favorite hangouts, my wonderful friends and even a few unforgettable memories.  I swallowed hard and cleared my throat as I suddenly remembered where I was: in a government office about a week and a half away from heading off to New York City.  

I suddenly felt a sinking feeling that I had no idea if I would ever have a real reason to go back to Nashville.  Of course I have about a hundred great reasons to visit.  But the thought of actually moving back there one day, washed over me in complete bewilderment.  

I looked up at the man on the opposite side of the counter and gave him the most honest answer I could think of on the fly; "I would have to have a really good reason."

This guy was enamored with and determined to move to the very city I had just departed.  And I couldn't help but hope the best for him.  See, I loved Nashville. I still do.  Perhaps I always will. 

Nashville is the kind of city you can simply exist within without having too much pressure or strain. It is a simpler kind of life.  There is plenty of the world's greatest entertainment, delicious food and some genuinely nice folks.  It is the kind of city that doesn't require much from its inhabitants.  And to be perfectly honest, that was precisely my angst. 

I am not ready to sit idle in a city that allows me to do so with relative ease.  

Perhaps one day, when I am tired of meeting the demands of the world, I will go running back to the South just as fast as my feet can carry me. And living there, I will feel very little push and stress from the rat race.  That isn't such a bad picture; sitting on the front porch in my later years, sipping on a sweet tea.  

But the conversation did refresh my memory of all that I loved about Tennessee.  And oddly enough, the brief exchange between two complete strangers is exactly why Nashville is such a treasure; it brings out the neighborliness in people... even government officials.  

Today was the first pleasant and dare I say, painless, experience I have ever had while at a government run institution.  It was even more pleasant than a trip to the dentist, which is shocking because I pretty much hate having metal tools anywhere near my tonsils. 

It just goes to show that one man's past, just may be another man's treasure.  It is comforting to know that there are always more people lined up eagerly to experience things I have held so dear.  And maybe, one day, I will go back there and have another go 'round of Southern Hospitality.  

In the meantime, I am hungry.  And I think a Big Apple a day is just the medicine I've needed for a long time.  Well that, and a social security card.  

When I turned around, there was suddenly a very long line behind me.  And I couldn't help but smile as I walked out the door,  having accomplished more than what I bargained for in record time. 


Mint Julep

2 1/2 oz Bourbon
4-5 Mint Sprigs
1/2 oz Simple Syrup

Muddle Mint and Syrup in a collins glass and then
fill the glass with Bourbon.  Stir with crushed ice. 





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