One of the nicest things about living in Cincinnati is the ease with which you can leave it. My boyfriend and I left for a friend's wedding in Nashville. The drive took five hours, about the same time as to Chicago minus the toll roads and the fragrant Gary, Ind. fumes.
This was my first trip out of the city -- not counting Kentucky, where I'll now be purchasing my cigarettes, thanks -- in about two years. At first I decided to man the wheel, but in less than an hour my nerves were as bumpy as the road we were travelling on. I turned the wheel over to my boyfriend, and the stomach ache I suffered from miraculously disappeared.
One word of advice on travelling: Mapquest is not a perfect navigation aid, so take a road atlas. And never leave home without Pepto-Bismol. It's not everywhere you want to be.
Nashville was surprisingly pleasant with plenty of places to shop and listen to music, including rock, and I witnessed only one person wearing a cowboy hat.
Before the wedding it was imperative I visit a boutique and find a suitable dress. My black mini and cleavage-revealing top no longer seemed appropriate. Plus, I still wasn't sure what the rules were for wearing black at weddings. During the ceremony, however, I noticed most of the women were in mourning and decided not to concern myself at future events.
The outdoor wedding was on a llama ranch. Toward the end of the ceremony, the llamas came over to check things out, but none seemed to object to the arrangement. The wedding was elegantly and simply done, as was the reception.
Servers carried wine and caviar-decked hors d'oeuvres, tables were situated around a goldfish pond, a huge barn with a buffet and a live band that didn't play the hokey pokey.
I didn't know the bride or groom personally, which took some strain off since I could make an ass of myself and never see these people again. I succeeded in a little ass-making when I met the beautiful bride.
"Thanks for coming," she said, in her light southern drawl.
"Thanks ... for having me," I managed. Uh, yeah.
Meeting a bride and groom is like meeting famous people. They're impeccably dressed and impeccably giddy. They're so (rightfully) absorbed in their day, others might as well be see-through. And you don't know what to say unless you're trained in such social graces, which I'm not.
This line of thought led, of course, back to my own future matrimony. Would the next wedding I attend be my own? We've only been dating a couple of months, but things are going rather swimmingly. We had, after all, gone on our first out-of-towner together without fighting, and the majority of Nashville we saw was the inside of our Holiday Inn room.
You have to be serious about someone to take them to a wedding, right? To surround yourself and your partner with that kind of party is a kind of statement. Otherwise, you would just go stag and hope to meet one of the bride or groom's single friends.
This daydreaming ended when we arrived back in Cincinnati, where there's jaywalkers begging to be road kill, noisy car stereo parades, non-cable television and life with a roommate. At least in my reality.
Light My Fire
Maybe something is wrong with me, but I'd never spend a dime on fireworks. Fireworks remind me of playing with fire, which my mother always forbade, but all week the neighbors insisted on setting the damn things off.
Since it seemed like a patriotic thing to do, I grinned and bore it with a brew in hand and blanket under me at the Blue Ash shindig on Thursday. Kool and the Gang were the attraction for me, though it's an interesting people watching event as well. Parked in the middle of this menagerie of Americans listening to '80s music, I lingered on what exactly could light my fire. If it wasn't this, what was it?
I tried groupie-ville a couple years ago when the Paul Rogers Band played at the Blue Ash summer kick-off. I'm not quite sure how it happened, but three of us girls ended up in the limo with the band's post-Eddie Money performance on Friday night. The band, based out of Seattle, wanted us to show them the Cincinnati scene and we did what we could.
We directed the limo to the Waterfront and Las Brisas to show them the view. We were ushered past the line, though none of the 20-year-olds had any idea who these longhaired rockers were, but they were definitely rockers. The guys loved the pool, and the drummer loved me.
They begged us to come back and hear them play on Saturday night so, after a day of recovering from the alcohol and lack of sleep, we reappeared as the local fan club. The sound booth was better than backstage, but really it was all boring in comparison to watching these guys talk about their gigs. They were in love with their guitars, drums and Paul Rogers. They actually were passionate, which made us passionate.
We followed them one more time to the Itchycoo Music Festival in the middle of Tennessee a couple of months later. MTV was there, and so was Joan Jett. She was cool. The tie-dye backdrop was cool, too.
The best part of this groupie gig was skinny-dipping in the cheap motel pool with our band and Rick Springfield's guys. They had the real bimbo girls, but then who were we to talk as we'd driven five-plus hours to drop drawers?
The guys loved us for coming down to see them, as life on the road was mostly full of bimbos and we all had legitimate day jobs that paid better than theirs. It was a complete departure for us but reality for them. Frankly, I couldn't keep up.
But there was a moment when the drummer in his eyeliner, mascara and blonde hair had me. It was somewhere between reality and never-never land.
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