Day 4:

The Girl in the Red Dress

I woke up at 5:30 this morning to loud knocking that spooked me out of bed.  “Who is it?!!” I yelled. Nobody answered, then I heard more knocking. I looked through the curtains and saw a lady out there. I guessed it was one of Lil Jon’s ladies (See yesterday). She yelled through the window, “Hey can I use your phone? I gotta call my sister.”

I didn’t want to open the door so I just yelled back, “I’m sleeping here! No you can’t use my phone!”

She gave me a dirty look and I went back to bed. Who knows the real reason she knocked on my door. There was probably somebody else hiding outside, waiting for me to open the door so they could rob me. I realized then this was their motel. I was just an unwelcome guest.

I left an hour later. All the johns were leaving at the same time, giving me dirty looks as I walked to my car. I booked it to Nashville.

It was a three-hour drive to Nashville. The long drives were starting to get easier. As a kid I took trips with my family to Yosemite, which is 8 or 9 hours from San Diego. I used to complain the whole way about how long it was. Now I’m starting to like being on the road, listening to music, watching the countryside go by, even stopping for gas. It’s a soothing ritual.

I arrived in Nashville early, thanks to my rush to leave Knoxville and parked my car at the motel way before check in time. It was another cheap, rundown motel, but slightly better than the last one.

I rode my bike into the center of the city and started exploring. Nashville seems to be pegged as the country-western music capitol of the U.S., and the city makes sure anybody visiting town knows this. There are bars and cafes lining the main road and each one plays live music all day. I’m not much of a country-western fan, but I can appreciate the dedication this city has to their music. It’s refreshing hearing live music coming out of every place in the city no matter the genre. On the main street, these bands know they’re playing for tourists, and they’re pros who play all day for probably very little. When I returned to the area later that night, the same band I saw at noon in one bar was playing at another bar at 11pm.

I hung out amongst the bars, saloons and venues all day, later that night I was tired and wanted something low-key, and I found a nearly empty bar in Printer’s Alley where singer-songwriters were taking turns playing. I chose this place out of the many venues in the alley because of what I heard through the window. Inside there was a beautiful girl with bright red hair, a red dress, a blue denim jacket, and a guitar.

She had an amazing voice. I floated in like a cartoon character following a scent into a bakery, bought a Yeungling, and sat down to listen. At that moment, I would have changed my whole life, moved to Nashville, and started heavily listening to country music to have a chance with this girl.


The Girl in the Red Dress


After her set, I somehow got the courage to approach her and start a conversation. I spent most of the time showering her with praise, like some stupid, awkward fan. “You have a beautiful voice. Such a great set.”

She was pretty cool about it and seemed happy to hear the compliments. I wish I could have thought of something more interesting to say, or surprised her with my musical knowledge, but I had no idea who or what she was playing, what her influences were, or anything about that type of music(with exception to the occasional Hank Williams and a lot of Johnny Cash). We talked about what it was like living in Knoxville, then a few other singers wanted to play with her, so I said goodbye and went back to the bar to listen to the other acts. It was nice to see this side of Nashville, struggling artists coming to the city to take a shot at doing what they love. I have to remind myself to get out of my comfort zone sometimes. I can be pleasantly surprised by the results.

I stayed at the bar late listening to everyone who came and played, made a couple friends, and sang along with the other bar patrons. When I went back to my room, I pulled my guitar out of the back of my car and tried to play a few tunes I’d heard, and hoped that I would remember every detail of the girl in the red dress.