Later, after the boys were in bed, Ryan said, I still don't know how you guys did that. He was referring to a story I told him the night before. I said that what we had done makes perfect sense to me--that Katherine and Ellie and I would have such a day with such an ending on our final day together in Nashville. I mean, we attended a conference with approximately 600-something other women, and as much fun as that is, it's also exhausting. It does things to you that are similar to newborn sleep-deprived-brain. So by Saturday, after having been at the conference for four or five days, we were all experiencing some serious brain deficiencies.
It all started with the three of us standing in front of the Opryland Hotel talking with some young men from the hotel's transportation company. They
You want to go to Hillsboro Village? That's just a mall, they said.
OH. Weird. We don't want a mall. We were told it was a hip little neighborhood.
Yeah, you don't want that area...you want (such and such and such)...
OH. Okay. Take us there then.
We ended up being dropped off in a Borders bookstore parking lot with a Have fun ladies and just call a half hour before you want to come back and we'll get you right away.
We stood in the parking lot and looked up and down the street. We saw McDonald's and Taco Bell and what seemed like a million other chain restaurants and stores. We had wanted and requested Nashville charm, so we started to walk to look for it, confused as to why the young men from the transportation company would think this location matched our "kitschy and quaint" request.
We walked and walked and found nothing we hoped for and while we did, the pregnant one among us (that's me!) grew hungrier and fussier and quieter. So we sat on a curb and looked at smart phones, begging them to tell us of a very nearby eating joint that wasn't a chain, something unique to Nashville.
We thought we found something promising, but it was too far to walk, so we grabbed a cab. (cha-ching!) We gave the cab driver the address and he said (I kid you not) Where is that? We answered with something along the lines of uuum, maybe just follow the numbers on the buildings or the order of the streets or something.
It turned out it didn't really matter where it was because it was closed. 11:30 on a Saturday...closed.
So we three weary ones stood in front of the dark building on a curb and tried to figure out what to do next, hoping for less cha-ching and more AH-HA.
We started walking again, heels and soles slapping the sidewalk and big sighs our only other sounds. (Seriously, we were mopey.)
Then...hope arrived (or so we thought) in the shape of a rectangle sign and letters painted in the color red, pronouncing--"Named Nashville's best restaurant 3 years in a row!"
We thought we'd finally hit the jackpot, even if the neighborhood was nothing like we'd hoped for, so we followed the sign's arrow and came to a door, a door that read,
Our six shoulders slumped and we started to wonder if maybe we had spent far too much money for a round-trip ride only to give up and go back to the hotel with no idea what else to do...Yes, we were about to give up...
And then a couple walked toward us, fresh from their car, on their way to doing their Saturday things. We stopped them and asked them kindly for help, could they please point us in the way of a Nashville area that's more..."Nashville-y"?
They started by saying we'd been dropped off in the totally wrong place and then they tried to explain how we needed to go right and then left and then right again (or something like that) and they were pointing far away and my head got all fuzzy and I was thinking about how there's NO way we could walk that far while being that hungry and disoriented and then they said it...
How about we just bring you over there?
We let out a collective REALLY? (Probably a bit too loudly.)
Then they opened the doors to their car for us and they climbed in front and asked all about us, interested and kind. On the ride talked about being at a blogging conference called Blissdom and they understood that and had even heard about it, rather than the usual, "What does that mean?" We felt totally safe (no worries Mom!) and loved being with someone who knew where they were going when we had felt so lost.
We pulled up to just the kind of neighborhood we'd been looking for, with great little gift shops, book stores, ice cream and coffee shops and hole-in-the-wall eateries.
We went straight to eating and I had the best salad of my life and we talked and shopped and strolled, all thanks to our Nashville stranger-angel friends, Matt and Lisa.
Later, about a half hour before we needed to go back to the hotel, I called for our return ride.
Then a cheerful voice responded with, I'm sorry, it will be well over an hour, probably an hour and a half or longer, until we can get there...we're on a shift change.
So we sat and waited...and waited...and waited...
We talked, we felt really sleepy and we talked some more. We grew more impatient and frustrated, having such a bad experience with our expensive transportation.
We were sitting silently for a moment, watching the traffic go by when Katherine suddenly said, I KNOW WHAT WE SHOULD HAVE....done...her words trailed off and her face turned sheepish and then her hands came up to cover her eyes...
What? WHAT? What is it? Ellie and I laughed and watched her, ready for something but not expecting this:
You guys? she said. I have a car here....I drove to Nashville!
P.S. Here's the thing, friends. Not only had Katherine forgotten (as we stood in the hotel parking lot trying to figure out our transportation) that her car was in the parking lot, but we all had this conversation at that very same time:
When are you driving home, Katherine?
Oh. How nice that you're close enough to drive.
(and stuff like that)
(then we turned to the guys and asked if we could get a cab)
(I told you we were tired)
The Real End.
Oh wait. Just kidding. Not done. WE HAVE OUR ULTRASOUND TOMORROW!!!
Really REALLY The End.