Saturday, February 25

Dear Nashville,

We can't go on like this.

I never see you. I think about you a lot, and I still miss you. But I can't wait for you any longer.

I'm here with Memphis. I will be for I don't know how long. But while I am here I need to stop loving you, because it's not fair to me, or Memphis, or you. I know you don't love me. I'm not sure you ever did. True, I can't say that Memphis loves me either. But at least Memphis is here with me. Memphis pays my bills and gives me stuff to do when I'm bored. You give me nothing but heartache. Good memories, sure, but that's not enough to build a future on. And while Memphis may be forever indifferent to my feelings about every mundane detail of life, so were you.

You, Nashville, with your myriad obligations and distractions, will never be able to give me the happiness and the meaning I crave. You've got so much going on, and you're already loved by so many people who are actually there with you. So I can't put that burden on you any longer, especially since you're so far away and it's so hard to maintain this relationship without seeing you every day.

You see, I've started to care about Memphis. It hit me today as I rifled through posters and mugs at the big Wonders closeout sale in the Pyramid. While getting eight souvenir shot glasses for $1 and a beautiful Egyptian papyrus print for $5 is a sweet, sweet deal, I was filled with sadness and concern that the Wonders series was to be no more. I remember a school field trip to see the Catherine the Great exhibition back in 1991. I bought a wooden Russian nesting doll pen. And it was so exciting, going to the big city to see with my 10-year-old classmates to see a glittering carriage and rooms full of golden accessories.

And now there won't be any more Wonders exhibitions. And the Pyramid is going to be a Bass Pro Shops mecca. It's depressing.

The point is, I care. I tried not to, I really did. Sometimes it was easy not to care, with all the frustrations Memphis provided for me during my first year here.

But Memphis needs my love. And I needs Memphis' love. And I know Memphis won't give me its love unless I love it first.

Sure, there are still a lot of assholes who hang out around Memphis, just like I complained last year. A lot of crazy people who yell at the sky, too. But you've got your fair share of crazies hanging around you. All cities do, I guess.

I hate to sound shallow, but Memphis, unquestionably, has better taste in music than you, Nashville. I would much rather feel the constant pulse of the blues than have to suffer through the incessant, glossy twang of nu-country.

And Memphis may not have as much money or clout as you, but it has substance. And soul. And drama. And a raging inferiority complex that lends an air of defiance and attitude to every possible thing.

I don't think I'll be with Memphis forever. It's conflicted and ambivalent and, in many ways, old-fashioned and behind the times. And so tired. Memphis has a lot of emotional scarring that feeds a seething resentment. And I can tell sometimes that Memphis would just as soon be rid of me as have me. That's just how it is. And I accept that, because I would just as soon be with Memphis as be without it. That's the kind of relationship we have. Not too close, but not too far away, either.

Some day I might change my mind and come running back to you, aching for a glimpse of your Batman-building spires and the shimmer of sunlight on the river as it snakes through downtown. If that happens, you can say I told you so, and we'll go back to loving each other the way I had always dreamed we would again some day.

But until then, as long as I'm here, I've got to give my heart to Memphis. Starting now.


Blogger oskiesmom said...

Good God what inspired that? Did you get laid last night?

Sun Feb 26, 01:09:00 AM  
Blogger theogeo said...

Nah, I just figured it's about time I started being present where I live instead of just living here physically but pretending I still live in Middle Tennessee.

Sun Feb 26, 01:20:00 AM  
Blogger J. R. said...

God damn it, LAT, I hate it when you write these letters to cities. I want to do that.

"Dear Newquay,



J. R."

Sun Feb 26, 01:42:00 AM  
Blogger Brandonian said...

This is truly brilliant. You made my night.


P.S. I came to a similar conclusion about 30 minutes into my time here in M-town. What took you so long?

Sun Feb 26, 02:15:00 AM  
Blogger oskiesmom said...

Speaking as a reluctantly made Memphian, that's kinda sweet. This misused ol' river town needs all the love it can get. It took me five years to get over Little Rock, not to mention my East Tennessee biases. You're working up some kind of ardor already, and you haven't even been to the Elvis Vigil.

Sun Feb 26, 02:26:00 AM  
Blogger theogeo said...

J.R., O'Mom: Thanks. Now here's hoping Memphis doesn't piss me off too bad next week.

Brandon: It was rough moving away from everyone I knew. Memphis had nothing for me but a job. And then it got rougher. The past year was a challenge to even get through, and a lot of what happened I just put under the category "More things that suck thanks to Memphis," which was unfair but helped me cope so I could move on.

And now I'm trying not to think of my life and the things that suck about it in those terms.

Also, I think being originally from around Nashville helped fuel your desire to get out. For me, Nashville was the first big city I ever lived near, and it was where I had chosen to form my adult identity. Leaving it and my friends behind felt like I was saying Well, that formative experience was fun. Let's rip everything I know apart and see what happens. I knew then that it was just part of life, but I resented the hell out of it. Now I want to make my time here meaningful. Whatever that means.

Sun Feb 26, 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Hey, this came for you general delivery. Obviously it didn't come today, because there's no post on Sunday, but I was too lazy to type it all out last night.

"Dear Lindsey,

Reading about your new life with Memphis has been hard for me. I know we could never be together - I could never ask you to give up your job for me - but I just wanted you to know how I feel.

We had some good years. I know I can't be there for you like Memphis is now, and I know I'm not Nashville to you. My downtown consists of a smoke bar and some law firms, but I can change, Lindsey.

Do you remember those times when it would rain for days, and all of my streets and sidewalks would brim with water? Do you remember the good times you had circling the parking lots at MTSU, trying to find some poor schmuck getting out of class at just the right moment?

Even in those days, when you would leave me for your rendezvous with Nashville (I knew all along - let's not kid ourselves), you'd always come back home to me. I forgive you for those days, Lindsey. I'll take you back if you'll have me.


P.S. - I think Saltillo might do something stupid if you don't send word soon. That genderless entity has it bad for you."

Yeah. Don't blame the messenger.

Sun Feb 26, 07:53:00 PM  
Blogger phallicpen said...

I'm so happy for you. Congratulations on your newfound relationship, my love.

Mon Feb 27, 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger theogeo said...

Wendy, that was great. Tell Murfreesboro that it will always hold first-love status in my heart.

As for Saltillo, well, we have so many family connections that I'll never be able to give up on it completely.

Mon Feb 27, 12:38:00 PM  

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