When in Rome…naw, I’m still good.
I know the posts have been few and far between. No excuses except that I really enjoyed the summer with the family. The kids went back to school today but I didn’t get the pleasure of enjoying a quiet house as I am working this week. However, my wife had a great time moving freely through her day without two kids in tow. Good for her.
This week I have been hanging out in Knoxville, Tennessee during the days. I like Knoxville although I am not a fan of the University of Tennessee. There is no reason behind my dislike of the University, it is just that growing up I found other teams to root for. However, I must say that the UT campus is very nice. It is a growing, vibrant area with a great on campus football stadium. The hotel that I stay in during the day is about a mile from the campus and it is a very easy walk to grab a good, cheap lunch. Last year when I was wondering around the school, I came across the perfect place for lunch. Gus’s Good Time Deli. Gus’s deli is actually on the property of the school and has been in existence since the early 1980’s. They have photos of all the UT football and basketball greats on the wall along with posters of early 1980’s pop culture. It is nice to be transported back in time to the days of my youth.
My daily schedule is remarkably the same and could be considered Ground Hog day worthy. I wake about 2 PM and lay in bed for about 30 minutes thinking that I might fall back asleep but it never happens. I pull myself out of bed and call home as I leave the hotel walking through the World’s Fair Park towards the campus. Somewhere along the busy five lane street that borders the campus, I cross playing “Frogger” and dodging busses, cars and mini-vans. One day last week in my zombie like sleep walk, I almost walked in front of a mini-van driven by a wigged out mom dropping her baby off at college. I guess I would rather be lucky than good.
About 15 minutes later, I walk into the deli and order whatever the cooks suggest. As an aside, Sean, Andy, and Brent are great guys and wonderful cooks but surprisingly enough none of them are UT fans. Sean likes Notre Dame, Andy likes Alabama and Brent doesn’t like college football. But every day they tell me a new story from back in the day when they had to kick one of the football players out or when they had to deal with the women’s basketball team. None of the stories are bad but since I they are second hand experiences, I won’t name anyone’s name but you can be sure if you know football you know the players.
Loaded up with my hot sandwich and a Sprite, I make the walk back to the hotel and take my life on my own hands crossing the busy street. Every day is the same except for last Wednesday. That day marked a first and a day that I will always remember for all the wrong reasons.
I walked through the park wearing my standard uniform of khaki shorts and white tee shirt with my baseball hat on, sunglasses, and ear buds softly playing my music. I carried a box of food and a cup of Sprite covered with sweat because it was a hot day, I noticed a guy standing off to the side of the walkway. He was just standing and although I am not intimating anyone, I immediately judged that he wasn’t a threat to my safety. Our eyes met and he gave me a head nod. I am not cool anymore and I don’t know the signals, so I did what I did back in the 80s and returned the head nod and said “what’s up.”
Just after I passed by him, I felt him come up to my right and I turned to look back. He was walking in pace with me and asked if I wanted to invite him back to my room. I am paraphrasing his words but his point was that he was looking for me to pay him for an intimate encounter. I told him that I was good and I kept on walking. About ten steps later, I looked back and he was no longer following me. It was about that time, I started laughing. When I got back to the room, I immediately called my wife and told her that someone in Knoxville thinks I am hot. She didn’t quite find the humor in the encounter that I did, but the lesson is this. I still got it baby!
Until next time, keep on rockin.
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