Nashville was overloaded with tourists doing their best to pose as locals, but failing miserably. Even being a tourist myself, I could smell them a mile away. Between the girls dressed up in jeans and matching flannel tops and the men flaunting their newly bought cowboy boots, it was a city of people acting like something they likely aren’t in their day-to-day life.
I wanted to go someplace local, someplace that was a little more off the beaten path.
I found navigating our way through Broadway (one of the prime music streets in Nashville) to be stressful and overwhelming, pushing through crowds of drunken people at all hours of the day. It felt like we were in a herd, and we just had to mosey along at that pace as it was difficult to break free of the crowd while still keeping tabs on the friends I was with.
So our final evening in Nashville still left me wanting something new and exciting from the music scene.
Something more local, more off the beaten path.
One of my friends and I hopped in an Uber after dinner, and met our 65-year-old driver named Robert who exemplified everything I liked about Nashville. He was funny, chatty, and polite. And most of all, was able to point us in the direction of the best music in town.
We hopped in the Uber, thanking Robert for the ride. The first sentence out of his mouth was, “Y’all smell like meat.”
My friend got defensive, claiming it must have been the street smells from outside, but clearly couldn’t be us.
“No. I like it. Y’all smell like bacon.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment,” I said, knowing that Robert and I were cut from the same cloth. Who doesn’t like the smell of bacon? Someone should bottle that smell and sell it.
We arrived at a stop light and watched as people meandered through the cross walk in front of us, Robert inching his hand to the center of the steering wheel over the horn.
“If y’all tip me, I’ll honk at these people.”
“Done,” I responded instantly. Robert was already getting a tip for the bacon comment, so in my mind it was a win-win if he scared the bejesus out of some pedestrians in the meantime to make my ride more enjoyable.
“No,” he said. “We are in the South, and that’s rude. I knew you’d be the ornery ones. I’ll only honk if they look like jerks.”
“I’ll point them out to you,” I offered up, scouring the street for someone who looked like a real asshole, so I could pitch the idea quickly and efficiently. The way I saw it, most people were assholes, so it wouldn’t be too difficult of a task.
Robert just shook his head and laughed, moving his hand away from the horn.
I rolled my eyes, losing faith in Robert as a driver. Apparently our bacon odor wasn’t quite enough to make him lose his polite nature. I was fighting a losing battle.
I asked him where he would go if he wanted to hear live music. And he suggested a place that was much quieter only a few blocks away from where we were headed anyways.
As we arrived at our destination, we thanked him for the ride and got out of the car.
He rolled down his window and yelled, “Hey! Don’t let no ugly boys pick you up.”
My friend and I laughed and said goodbye again.
“No I’m serious. Y’all are too pretty for that.”
And with that Robert drove off into the night, leaving us with what might be the funniest Uber ride I’ve had.
We did end up taking his suggestion and going to the bar he recommended. Which, incidentally turned into the best experience with live music we had there.
Robert for the win.
Moral of the story: always trust the judgment of a 65-year-old man who thinks you smell like bacon.