Don’t Scratch The Surface

One of the first things I was told in this city was “don’t try and scratch the surface around here, people like to not think about their life.” When I heard this, I had been in Nashville for under a week and was sitting at the bar under my new apartment grabbing a bite to eat talking to the bartender. Matt is a bartender that can be relied on for accurate cultural commentary; he holds a bachelor’s in both history and English while currently working on a masters to go along with it; destined “to tend bar and write while his wife wins the bread”.

Music City is actually an accurate representation of this place. All show and performance, looking to be the loudest in the room of small quiet southern cities with the same level of care a highschooler tries to stand out at prom. The #1 reason I hear from locals why I should love this place is that it is on track to be big, huge, glamorous thing, the Athens of the south, among many other vague unrealistic misconstructions that fail to realize that the south is not worth much, much less a grand.

My part of town has that trademark New York City trash smell; something which we should be proud of. Except that this is an actual wasteland, an actual human dump, the part where the ugly humans are put, a part that has been decided to let run wild and grow terrible smells even with no trash in sight, a part where broken glass is strewn about the sidewalk with a lifeless man laying down in it grunting as I walk past.

They’ll keep the new expensive high-rises out of there until the trash can be made trendy, sold as an experience to millennials.

The architecture is decidedly new, bright, loud, “I’m new here look at me” boxes all made of ticky-tack. The thesis of suburbia has somehow been twisted and crammed into a 10-square mile space and an unauthorized city label slapped upon it. None of the required cityisms were designed first such as a bus or linear roads or crosswalks or sidewalks or anything walks. Someone heard from Atlanta that if they stack the surface parking lots inside of a luxury apartment building suddenly it becomes a “walkable neighborhood”, property values go up, and they can brag to their neighbors they walk everywhere when they actually drive the one whole mile to a different garage by their office, spend most of their commute driving on the ascending and descending spirals of a garage.