The Athens of the South

So, did I mention that I recently went to Savannah? Seriously, I'll stop with that, I swear; I'm even annoying myself. But one thing about visiting somewhere really awesome is that it gets you to looking at your own hometown more objectively.

Nashville is okay, and so many people move here from other places and love it that I have to believe it's comparatively great as far as cities go. I always thought I would move somewhere else for a little while in my twenties. That's looking less and less like it will happen. Husband and I are kind of locked into jobs that are just okay, but they are jobs and those are pretty hard to come by these days, so we're gratefully hanging onto them for the time being.

Plus, we have a niece who's just two and she kicks so much ass. I would hate to miss her growing up. Seth would like to stay reasonably close to his family; I want to be near parts of my family (the rest I can take or leave, quite honestly).

And I have such close, awesome friends who couldn't possibly be replaced if we were to move. Case in point: what was waiting for me when I got back from, uh, Savannah? An anniversary card from Stephanie with TWO PUGS on it, a little puggy couple looking up at the sky, that said "You two are meant for each other...it's written in the stars." Eee! That card totally made my night.

Anyway, should you ever consider a move, or even a trip, to ol' Music City, USA, here are some pros and cons to consider.

Good Stuff About Nashville

1. The people. We've been voted the "friendliest city in America" several different times by several different newspapers and organizations. I admit that sometimes I don't care for small talk from complete strangers, but it's really not so bad.

2. The food. We've come a long way in the last ten years or so in the restaurant department. You can get some pretty great food in this city, from any ethnicity and in any degree of fanciness.

3. The music. Not just country, I promise. We have a huge local music scene. Any night of the week, you can find tons of bands playing at tons of venues all over the city. And good bands, too, not just goofy fake-punk teenagers who listen to too much Blink 182, though we have a large amount of those as well.

4. The climate. We have had some wonky weather this year, with tornadoes and whatnot, but generally the climate is pretty mild. We don't get much snow (maybe one or two "good snows" a year) or exceedingly cold weather. We do have stifling, suffocating humidity, but we also have air conditioning in every possible building.

5. Lots of free/cheap stuff to do. We have two or three free or very cheap (like, $3) concert series in the summer. We have free movies in Centennial Park for a few weeks in June/July. We have two big lakes, lots of great public parks, a great new art museum, the aforementioned overabundance of music. Just lots of crap to do, all the time.

Not-so-Good stuff about Nashville

1. The sprawl. Lord, the sprawl. We have so many suburbs that stretch so far beyond our downtown area. My husband and I live in one of them, but it's an older area of town, not one of the newer, tonier, suburbs with Starbucks and Garden Ridge and Walgreens on every. damn. corner. We like our little area, but I still want to move closer into the city. Hate. Sprawl. Many Nashvillians will tell you that their biggest fear for our city is to have it turn into "another Atlanta," whose sprawl has pretty much taken over all of north-central Georgia.

2. The people. Those friendly people I told you about? Not everyone is like that. Some people are assholes. Many people, and I would never say this, claim it's all the transplants (Yankees! Carpet-baggers! I do declare!) who are the assholes. Maybe, but there are plenty of hometown, redneck jackasses who've been here all along.

I will admit that I am quite annoyed by people who move here from somewhere else and complain about our accents, the heat, or the south in general. Um, then why did you move here? It's the freaking SOUTH; we talk funny and it's hot all the damn time. Is this a surprise to you?

3. It's where everybody knows my name. Or something. I've always lived here, and so have my parents, and everyone knows my parents. It's one of the reasons I gave up my maiden name. I never thought I would have, but it's quite nice not to introduce yourself only to have someone say, "You must be so-and-so's daughter!" Quite nice. Especially since so-and-so is an asshole to the highest power. I would like to live somewhere where my past doesn't follow me around, where people don't know who I dated in high school or how ugly my hair was. That kind of thing.

4. We have really shitty public transportation. As in, none at all. We have MTA buses, but we have no commuter rail, no mass transportation, and very few cabs. Sucks.

5. The music. I'm really grateful for our musical heritage and all that, blah blah. Here are the problems I have with it: I hate the shit that passes for country that's coming out of Nashville right now. Shania Twain? Sucks it big time. What is that? Electronic robot voices and anime-style videos are country? Is Cher country, too?

Also, because we're all "Music City, USA" or whatever, many people have this perception of Nashville as a big Hee-Haw hay field with people in overalls popping out of barns to tell jokes and spit tobacco juice through the hole where their front teeth should be. That's a fun impression for people to have of you, really.

So, there's a long, boring entry for you.

emiloo at 9:43 a.m.