I Kinda Miss Memphis
I miss being in Memphis a little bit.
That’s hard to explain to people that have never lived there. With high crime rates, poverty and a downtown where friends warn you to ‘try not to wander off by yourself or we’ll never see you again’, it’s hard to find many people that share that sentiment. Even people I know that lived there and then left seem hard-pressed to remember the redeeming qualities about it.
But like a rundown bar where you spent many a night in college, the place was home (albeit for a brief while) and I did learn to love it. And unlike most college bars, the food was magnificent. Huey’s, Kooky Canuck’s, Dyers and Gus’s were all excellent places to eat that you can’t find anywhere else and awesome barbecue places (Leonard’s, Central and Rendezvous to name but a few) were so soul-crushingly terrific that I honestly don’t like barbecue anywhere else anymore; no other place compares.
Sure, there was that messy thing where my car got stolen and I had to show up in court for a case that, to my knowledge, was never actually called while I was there. But shit happens; I can’t blame Memphis (a city I legitimately came to enjoy) because someone stole my car. I can blame a judicial system that lost said thief on two occasions and seems bent on becoming a caricature of itself, but I can’t blame the city. Eventually, something shitty is going to happen to me in Nashville; that’s just how these things work.
I’m not a tough guy, as you can probably guess. But I felt tough in Memphis. There was something about telling people you lived in the shadow of 201 Poplar that seemed to give you a bit of instant street cred. Whenever I came home for an event and casually mentioned, “Yeah, I’m living in Memphis right now,” I immediately became a badass. At least that’s how it went in my head.
Now look at me; I live in the suburbs. I have a tiny dog that likes to go on walks. I haven’t heard a gunshot in my neighborhood in over a year. I’m not going to lie, I miss that a bit. Who knew the prevailing notion that you could die at any moment would make one nostalgic?
(Also missed: the kind folks at 570 Normal, otherwise known as the Memphis Athletic Media Relations staff. How and why you people put up with me for a solid year where I both didn’t know what I was doing and didn’t know how to behave is one of life’s great mysteries. You should all be nominated for sainthood, but since I’m most likely heading to hell I can’t be the one to nominate you.)
The downtown danger is overrated; I feel it’s 10 times more likely that some meathead will punch me in the face in downtown Nashville than I felt that some gangbanger would decide to stab me in the stomach and steal my wallet in Memphis. Since so many people feel unsafe the Memphis landmarks like Beale Street, AutoZone Park and the Orpheum always had a handful of cops around to ‘assess’ the situation.
(That couldn’t be said about Graceland; do not go to Graceland after dark, or before dark for that matter. That place is dangerous.)
Am I pining to move back to Memphis? Hell no. Once was enough; I like Nashville. I’m comfortable here. Memphis took me out of my comfort zone for a year, and that was probably the best possible thing that could have happened to me. It forced me to grow up, do shit for myself and accept that sometimes bad stuff just happens. Thanks Memphis.