Monday, June 20, 2011

Scattering the Pieces of My Heart and Soul

A funny thought struck me recently.

I was sitting on my couch watching TV and I realized that I missed Tennessee.  Yes, I was only there a week ago but I was missing it.  Which got me thinking - why?  How do I miss a place I haven't spent much time in?

I also miss New Orleans.  And Florida.  And Memphis.  I can close my eyes and am instantly transported to these places.  What is it that happens that makes it feel as though I am right there?

I think it starts when I get to go out and see the area around where I'm staying.  When I get to know the state and it's geography.  Sitting at an intersection and looking around.  Seeing it's lumps, bruises, bulges and valleys.  Watching the way the sun reflects off the stream or hides behind it's hills.  How the wind whistles through the trees or glides around the buildings.  Listening to the birds sing and the cars rumble by.  Feel the way the heat bounces of my skin and the humidity makes my hair stick to my neck.

It's having my best friend next to me and laughing.  Making our own inside jokes and surviving heat and terrible storms.  Eating fabulous food.  Seeing and hearing things that I can't experience at home.  Learning how people drive in cities other than your own.  Smiling at people you don't know.  Being a little loud.  Trying a new cocktail.

And then I realized: it's all these things that make me leave part of my heart behind and have a fragment of my soul stay without me.

People talk about travel making you feel more whole.  I disagree.  If you're traveling correctly, you should leave parts of you behind (no, not your toothbrush).  The more you travel the more you should have pieces of yourself scattered about.  To me, that's what travel is about.

Friday, June 10, 2011

CMA Music Fest: Day One; Or How I Almost Became A Statistic

Oh, dear Lord.  So many stories to tell.  So, so, so many.  But, I will try to keep this (relatively) short.

For those of you who don't know the CMA Music Fest is an outdoor music festival where all the country singers come out and there are concerts, meet and greets, and autographs.  The city of Nashivlle, TN is overrun by a bunch of crazed country music fans.

A bunch of sweaty country music fans.  But I digress.

This year my best friend and I went.  I've actually been here since Monday, but the festival officially started yesterday.

I was so excited.  Gary Allan was the first one I was going to see.  I looooooooooove Gary Allan.  So, of course, do several hundred other people.
Mmmmm....nothing like the smell of sweat and beer at 10 in the morning
Amy and I stood patiently as several other people shoved their way by.  I don't know's not like we were standing in the back for fun.  Eventually, Gary Allan took the stage.  And I was excited and started taking pictures.  Except, well, due to the sun I couldn't see my display.  So I had to use triangulation to try and find him.  I think I got a few decent ones...

This is a game I like to play called "Find Gary".  He's in the bottom left corner.
 Hmm, okay.  No.  Not so much there.  Jesus, it's hot out here.  Maybe I can get a water bottle....Oh!  Oh!  He's playing a favorite song! can see him but he's not in the middle
 Good, God.  It feels like I've been standing in the sun for hours!  It's had to be at least...15 minutes.  Splendid. 
Ignore the man's shoulder and - BOOM!  Pretty good pic!
Okay, I can do this.  It's his last song - another favorite.  I can make it.  The nausea is perfectly normal.  I can do this, I can do this, I can do this.

I can't do this.

I knew something was wrong then.  I took off to find water or Gatorade.  Anything, really. As I walked away from the river and old, familiar feeling creeped back.  I was going to pass out.  In the middle of a crowd.

Immediately my mind began to concentrate on what I knew: Gatorade, shade, food.  Preferably in the order, but any order would do.  So I kept walking as my vision faded.  And, by faded, mean was practically gone.  It would flicker in like cable during a bad storm.  I had to use various things to guide me and keep me upright.  Which was tricky because I was going down.  As I was walking I kept saying to myself, "You can do this.  You are not passing out here.  Amy will kill you.  You can't afford to go to the hospital.  You can do this.  Just get some sugar and liquid in you."

I found a shady corner that I could duck down in.  So I did.  While the people around me started talking.  "There's going to be a lot of people suffering from heat stroke today."  "Yeah.  Look at this one.  I don't think she's going to make it."  "Yeah, she doesn't look so good."

Yes.  There was a group of adults looking at a young woman who was not doing well and all they could do was comment on it.  Not offer a chair or a bottle of water.  Now, there is one more helpful thing to do when you're about to pass out (or are 99% there in my case) get your blood pressure up.  Well, my friends, this got my blood pressure up.  I grabbed money out of my purse and stumbled (yep, still have practically no vision) and found SOMEBODY that was selling food.

Those were the best damn fries I have ever eaten.  [Side note: the guy selling them was super nice.  They were $5 and I got them for $3 - probably because he could tell I was not okay.  Unlike the weasels in the corner.]

Oh - Yes, Mom, I'm OKAY.

I get some Gatorade and head back over to Amy.  Who then left to get her own Gatorade.  Which is when I had my brief brush with fame.  Which I'll tell you about later.

For now, I have to hop in the shower and get ready to do it all over again!