Entries in Memphis (2)


Is there HBO in Heaven?

I spend a lot of nights alone. As I sit here at my fluorescent-lit, formica-topped Hampton Inn desk listening to the air conditioner buzz, I find myself ensconced in yet again one more hotel room in a blurry long line of hotel rooms. I wonder about the fellow travelers hived around me. Is their experience like mine? Are they at home among the silk plants and plain-vanilla bird prints that feebly attempt to offer some succor to the credit-card homeless? Does the business of business numb them more effectively than it numbs me?

Don’t get me wrong. It only reads like I’m grumbling. I chose this life and while I might hate little pieces of it, I love the whole. I’ve been a road warrior so long that I can honestly say that I’ve wondered whether heaven comes with room service. Is there HBO?

Alone comes in many flavors. At home, after a frazzling day, few things are sweeter or more rejuvenating than some alone time. In a crowd - especially a crowd of boisterous friends - alone is a little bit awkward and embarrassing. Ironically, warmth and attention don’t help much; they just make me feel ungracious, like someone with a terminal illness who squirms at compassion. And then there’s motel alone.

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High Notes at the Blue Note

I love Memphis. It’s one of those places where the deeper you dig, the richer the experience. Perhaps the best thing about Memphis is that so much of what’s there is still real. In a world full of manufactured experiences, authenticity matters.

I passed through Memphis last Friday on my way back from Northwest Arkansas where I spent the week with clients. The Memphis airport is a big, sprawly place with long hallways, few escalators, and tons of people.

Between the A and B concourses, in the middle of one of those hallways, you’ll find the Blue Note Cafe – a one-of-a-kind kinda place where you can sit down, smoke a pipe, enjoy a favorite libation, and chow down on some of America’s best barbecue.

The flight from XNA is short; just under an hour. But I still could hardly wait to settle down in one of the Blue Note’s booths. My flight schedule called for two hour layover so I knew I had time for some Memphis barbecue, a pipe or two, and a rare mid-day adult beverage.

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