Live aloha. Live aloha. That’s what I kept telling myself after finding out the valet left my car unlocked overnight. What came out before I got a better grip on myself was “SOMEBODY TOOK A CRAP IN MY [edited] CAR!”

Nothing was stolen was everything was rifled through. And I was left a gift along with a dead battery. Friends don’t know whether to be horrified or laugh. Live aloha. I finally laughed my ass off. “Only you,” as one friend is fond of saying. “They need to rename “Murphy’s Law” to “Gajewski’s Law.” I don’t know why, but, if they had stolen something, it would have made me feel better?

But that was my day in Memphis. The valet manager called everybody and finally found someone that could get my car detailed quickly, scrubbed inside and out. I had to empty my life all over the sidewalk. Then, I had to spend the next eight hours moving stuff to the room that I was checking out of, doing laundry, and repacking. But it’s about living aloha. It’s hard being sometime. For the sake of mental health–and because I’m planning on hitting Marriott and the valet company with the bill–I made quick reservations at the Peabody Hotel, the grand hotel of the South. Dinner (and any food for the day) consisted of a slice of pizza and two pints of Guinness on an eerily empty Beale Street.

Once used to staying open and hopping until 3-5 am, everything in the city now shuts down at 10. Last call got me another round of Guinness, but it seemed like last call had been called a couple hours before. On a Friday night, places were empty, everybody was wearing masks, and there was a wide berth around people. If you go into anyplace, bouncers are placed strategically and they get your name and phone number. I know that at any time, I can get a phone call. It’s part of the tracing efforts. If I get a call, it means somebody got the virus and I’d need to bunker down for 14 days or get tested.

I’m really starting to not like cities. It’s not just the incident with the car, but just the oppressive feel of them. Panhandlers are multiplying and getting much, much younger. It’s not just the old crazies asking for a smoke or a dollar. Things are closed, hours cut, and people that made their money as bartenders, waitresses and such just don’t have jobs anymore. Saying “no” or just ignoring them bother’s me. But saying “yes” opens a flood gate. And they are not wearing masks.

But the evening ended on a better note at the Peabody. One more beer before bed. In a mostly empty grand sitting area. There is something I enjoy about the four star hotels. You’re away from things. They create a getaway, an island if they are done right and the Peabody was done right.

I started off Saturday in a much better way. Giving my name and phone number and then a nice breakfast. And then a bit of a drive out east of Memphis. I can’t get over how nice the service people are at the Subaru dealership. Because the car was left unlocked and the valet key was used, the back hatch locked itself and beeped. They needed to reset something.

Close by, I found a little piece of Memphis that not even many locals know about. Crystal Shrine Grotto. It’s the heart of the Memorial Park Cemetery. Built in the early 1900’s, it is based on a new style of cemetery, “The Cemetery Beautiful” movement. It is a departure from the 18th century style of dark and depressing. The Cemetery Beautiful is a place filled with parks, art, open spaces and a planting, a place to be at ease and celebrate life.

I made it back in time for the daily Parade of the Ducks at the Peabody. I just love the story. In the 1930’s, the GM of the hotel went ducking with two of his friends, one being a bottle of Mr. Jack Daniels. They didn’t get anything but cam back drunk and thought it would be a good idea to put the decoy ducks (live in those days) in the fountain of the grand foyer. Th GM woke p the next day and ran down, horrified at what he might find. What he found was the ducks still swimming in the fountain and crowd of visitors stopping by to see the sight. The rest is history.

But I’m going to get driving. Have some things to see before I head out of town tomorrow. I just want to do some driving away from big cities and empty places that should be full. I’m going to go find a mountain in Alabama.


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