Monday, June 05, 2006
honky tonk badonkadonk
i was in nashville this weekend for ns's wedding (she shall now be referred to as nr). it was really great - i shared a room and a rental car with sc, and saw other people i worked with at my second job in dc. nr, sc and i shared a small space in a cramped office - our nonprofit had hit upon some tough times and we made do. i only worked there for nine months, but it was enough time to get to know my girls and become lifelong friends. we listened to music, chatted, and bitched about what nun or priest we thought sucked on that particular day. (working for a catholic organization was interesting - i genuinely felt really bad for thinking that, say, sister mary rita was a bitch, since she's a NUN, for god's sake, but i got over it - they're people, too, and i shouldn't feel bad if i don't blindly like them). i spent a lot of time in three-way email conversations with ag and jk, and i would laugh, and they'd be like "oh, what did they say?" they were early fans of lez is more, and i seriously hope that tb posts episode four finally, as i wrote it like a year ago and i think he's done drawing it.
anyway, i really liked nashville. sc and i hit the pancake pantry, some old record stores, the country music hall of fame, really shitty gift shops, and a honky tonk to listen to a band play in the middle of the afternoon for tips. there was a bachelorette party from indiana there, the mom doing shots and dancing like a pushing-60 skank. good times. nr's wedding was beautiful, and we all went out afterwards. sunday was a nice brunch, and sc and i hit centenniel park (nashville has the world's only full-sized replica of the parthenon - random) and drove to the grand ole opry. they used to have opryland, an amusement park, but now it's opry mills, an outlet mall. we both scored some good deals, but the real reason to even bring this up is because opry mills has stingray reef, a seaworld-esque attraction where for five bucks you can pet stingrays as they swim around in a huge shallow pool and, for another two dollars, feed them fish. i was all over it.
i love stingrays. they are my favorites. i think they're so alien-looking and pretty, sorta like ghosts and sorta like portabello mushrooms. ag and i were women's studies minors in college and, since our small college didn't have a chapter of now or anything similar, we decided to start an activism and discussion group. we were funny little bastards, and we thought that "stingray" would be the perfect name for it - something about how we will happily glide along until we encounter something we don't like, at which point we will sting the shit out of it. i don't know, we came up with most of our brilliant ideas when we were drunk. stingray was the shit, though - we did a lot of cool activities and got mad props on campus for actually doing stuff in a college that was dominated by lame local fraternities and clubs like ISPEP, which was, i shit you not, an a capella group that altered 50s classics so that they were about PEPSI, which they all drank gallons of every day. my college was lame.
so i was thrilled to be able to feed the stingrays. i thought that it was a ripoff that i only got three fish for my two bucks. i happily watched them glide around. some of them had what appeared to be actual, playful personalities - they would flop their wing-like bodies up over the wall of the tank as they swam by, and you could put your hand out, so it was like they were slapping you five. so awesome! so i decided to feed them.
and it freaked me out. just picking up one of the dead fish was nasty enough, and the sign on the wall said that you were supposed to make a fist, stick the dead fish in between your two fingers so it was sticking out, put your fist in the water, and wait for a stingray to come up and sort of cup your hand with its big floppy body, as its mouth is on its underside. seeing a stingray approach and open up its big white slit was way too freakish. it was like you were about to fist it with a sardine. i freaked. i couldn't do it. i barely managed to feed one of them (a smaller one - the larger, older ones were like four feet across and i couldn't stomach the thought of letting my hand anywhere near their huge gaping holes). i made sc feed one next, as she was taking pictures and laughing at my cowardice, but once faced with trying to insert a dead fish into this floppy thing, she was grossed out, too. it took forever for us to get rid of the third fish - i wanted to just toss it into the water, which is basically what happened, as i let go as soon as i saw that a huge old fucker was on its way over with its big open vagmouth.
watching stingrays glide around: rad. petting one: kinda gross, but really cool. feeding one: barf. interesting mall attraction. one really nasty aspect of the business is that they only had purell - no soap and water. we rode the merry-go-round (we paid five bucks to get into the place, so we figured we may as well get our money's worth) and made a bee-line for a bathroom with actual sinks.