It is a beautiful Blueridge Mountains spring day. You have just ordered another glass of the “house white”, having been pleasantly surprised at the wonderful taste of the first glass . We are sitting on the outside patio of a quaint, somewhat typical, Vacationville restaurant. I order another “bartender’s special” drink of the day—a “French 75” cocktail. I tell you that I have never even heard of a French 75 before—but the first one was damn good and somehow perfectly fits the current scene we are taking in.
The sun has just started to fall. It is the time of day when the shadows are getting longer, but you haven’t noticed the temperature dropping yet. The sun is behind us, and is brightly spotlighting the hills in the distance. The new spring leaves are vibrantly green everywhere you look, with blooming dogwoods speckling the hillside. The air smells fresh, which is exactly how you feel.
We are sitting at one of the tables next to the iron rail fence at the far end of the patio—not far from the sidewalk of the Vacationville street. As people walk by they are close enough that you can get a good look at them, but not so close that you feel like you are on display. It is the time of day when the first of the elderly early bird folks start to come back out after freshening up for the evening. However, the younger crowd of late-night partiers has not even begun to think about heading in yet. They are still shopping and gawking and doing the things vacationers do. They won’t start thinking about getting ready for their night-time activities until it starts to get dark.
You notice what an eclectic mix of people this is. There are the local hillbillies of course, as well as the vacationing, cookie cutter, LL Bean looking families walking around, complete with an average of 1.86 children in tow. That much is typical for a Vacationville town in the Blueridge Mountains. But there seems to also be many more non-traditional, trendy, progressive looking people than there would normally be. It is almost like hundreds of people from the Virginia Highland’s part of Atlanta were magically transported here. It is a most interesting mixture of folks…
…or maybe this group of folks is the new normal in our melting pot world. Maybe this the first time you have been relaxed enough to take notice. You look at your cell phone sitting on the table. You can’t remember the last time it rang or beeped. For a brief moment you think that maybe you should check to make sure it is on—then a loud voice inside your head slaps some sense into you. “Who cares if it is on or not! If it is off then thank heaven and leave it it that way!”. You decide to talk to me instead of looking at the phone.
We speculate that maybe these urban looking people are in town to catch the jazz and arts festival going on in the town square. If so, that feels ironic since we had no idea such an event existed up here until the day after we arrived. It has been a pleasant surprise. A quartet is currently playing down the street. The stage is too far away for us to have a good view of the band, but we can see the crowd and hear the tunes. A jazz quartet also perfectly fits the mood. The Hammond electric organ, sax, bass, and drums are perfectly mixed to complement each other. It is so much different than a typical bar band where all the members are fighting to be louder than the other. This quartet could not be more different—all the instruments are perfectly synced to compliment each other. The volume level is perfect too–perfect for enjoying the music without it detracting from playful conversation.
Presently, a man is jogging by on the sidewalk. He is irritated by the two women meandering in front of him, blocking his way. They are carrying purses and shopping bags, talking on their cell phones, completely unaware that they might be holding someone up. The jogger runs up behind them and jogs in place until he can run past. You can sense his irritation at these Kardashian looking women. You think to yourself, “That dummy asked for it. He shouldn’t be exercising like that on his vacation anyway”. You notice the iPod wrapped around his sweaty, cut, bicep. He then sprints around the ladies as he passes our table, and you get a good view of his tight running pants as he runs away. You think to yourself, “actually…that man can run by my table any time he wants. I hope he spends his whole vacation running up and down this street”.
You look up at me. I am smirking. You are busted. You know that I know exactly what you were looking at, and what you were thinking. To your surprise, you are not embarrassed in the slightest. In fact, you know that a dream of mine is to people watch with a bi-curious female. You think to yourself, after another glass of wine, I am going to make sure he is as comfortable checking out women in front of me as I am checking out that hot jogger in front of him…