Diversions of the Honky Variety


Summer has proved to be super distracting when you’re trying to write a book. Between living too close to the beach, having an endless stream of out of town friends and family coming into town for said beach, and my inability to say no to a good time,  I find myself lying down at night wondering where the time has gone and contemplating going up a shade on my foundation, because dang. My face is tan from all these beach days, and the faux pas of the summertime Geisha-face is unacceptable in my book (and should be in yours, too, ladies. Get thee to a Nordstrom cosmetic counter or Walgreens before you scare someone). On top of that, I dropped my laptop enough times that the screen was held together with giant binder clips and a prayer, which made it less than portable, so was stuck writing in the uninspiring confines of my desk that faces the wall. That wall is covered in chic décor, mind you, but one can only count the brush strokes in a painting but so many times, even when it is a stunning painting. Creative types (read: ADHD) know what I’m talking about here. My productivity is only as rich as the things I am distracted by, but my distractions often derail entirely.

My poor dropped Dell has finally gone caputskies. The repair people said things like “fried” and “motherboard”, to which I replied, “I have no idea what you just said. Would you slow down, or maybe put someone on that speaks English?” So, I need to A) Suck it up, and buy a new laptop (I cringe when I think of how many new things I could wear with that hunk of cash) And, B) Stick to the schedule I created for writing, and stop using it as my teacup coaster.

My dilly dallying has born some fruit for writing, though, and I am happy to report that I was able to take my very northern, very northern, very northern friend to a local place that this southern girl had yet to venture to called “The Banque”. It’s been intriguing me for years. This fine establishment is a honky tonk, and it has sat smack in the middle of a primarily African American neighborhood since the 70’s, which is perplexing and makes me wonder at its longevity. It rests in a strip mall, sandwiched by a Family Dollar and, I believe, a Big Lots, which does give them an edge.

I negotiated our way out of paying the cover (hint: use words with many syllables with Dottie, but lace them with a drawl and simmered intonation to maximize results), and then took a moment to recover from the barrage of animal heads in the entry.  Upon entering the loo, I was greeted by faded naughty wall posters of men in leather chaps circa 1972, which was about when the place opened. I think this was meant to make me blush, but these men looked like your creepy mustached uncle who made inappropriate jokes when you were 4, slipped you schnapps at Thanksgiving when you were 10, and was incarcerated by the time you hit your teens.  Disturbing, is what I’m saying.

We then spent an excited moment ordering dirt cheap drinks, but were deflated at first sip…which tasted like cheap dirt. The highlight of the night, however, was simply watching the organized dancing. It was far too intricate to join in, so we watched as America yee-hawed on the dance floor. I have never before seen such an organized, overweight, happy, group of people in my life. I wanted to poke fun at their ardent focus and synchronized movement, which was conducted primarily in elastic waist pants or high waist Wranglers, tennis shoes (on  Friday night), over-processed hair, and the largest cowboy and girl hats I have seen since 8 Seconds (Thank you for Luke Perry, amen.). More confusing is that I live in the South, not the West. And we’re barely South, ya’ll. We’re a mere 3 hours from DC, m’kay?

I wanted to poke fun because maybe I felt a little intimidated that I didn’t know the moves that about a hundred people were moving to like a scene from a Disney musical, but I couldn’t. They were really, truly nice, people who were nothing but cheery and helpful when I did work up enough you-know-whats to get out there and learn some moves. And, although Stacy and Clinton’s collective heads would have exploded at ensembles on that dance floor, I could not help but think that these were the people were those salt of the earth sorts who stop to change your tire when you’re stranded. This hotbead of honkys (I can say that) was smack in the midst of one of our largest Naval base neighborhoods, too, so I realized that these folks that lacked self consciousness of any apparent sort were likely serving our country, or caring for the family of the mom or dad who was, so I sat back and shut my mouth for once.

The night ended soon after my mucho northern friend caved and bought a humongous hat of her own, and we ladies took to the dance floor, fueled by ancient and watered down vodka as well as the contagious free bird atmosphere, to bang out our own illustrious, unfiltered, and un-choreographed moves to “Apple Bottom Jeans…” You’re welcome, Banque patrons.

But, summer is winding down, and autumn is threatening to distract in different ways, what with holidays,  sweaters, red wine, and crockpot cooking, so since I am nearly at the halfway point on my Becoming Year, I have to reengage my moxy. So. Onward.

I’d say tell me what kept you distracted most this summer and what you’re looking forward to being distracted by this Fall, if I wasn’t afraid it would give me fresh ideas…



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4 responses to “Diversions of the Honky Variety

  1. amyb

    Ahhh, reminds me of childhood visits to my Grandparents in Maggie Valley, NC located in the Great Smokey Mounts. The Stompin’ Ground (“Located next to Country Vittles and behind the Blue Mountain Inn” and if I remember correctly, right down the road from Granny’s Chicken Shack) was a favorite place to visit…cloggin at it’s best (think women in prairie skirted overalls, men in farmer jeans wildly tap dancing with a square dancing sort of feel). And you are right, these are the friendly, salt of the earth “wave hello to everyone you pass” type. It’s refreshing to visit, suck in the fresh air and not think about what not to wear. Gotta be honest, I kinda miss it.

  2. Delightful! As always. But even more so, having waited nearly a month for it…

    Nice tight writing my dear! Such a lovely, flowing romp through a very cool and fun experience. Thanks for taking us with you on that ride.

    The cool thing about distractions is you don’t have to look for them – they pop up out of nowhere like fun bunnies with lovely little trails behind them that forcefully suck you in with complete disregard to your wishes, plans, or teacup coasters.

    I myself should be writing just now. And I am! On your blog.

  3. Celeste

    LMAO!!! Like I told ya, I’ve only been there like twice so reading your interpretation of the place had me remembering the honky tonk charm of the place that I haven’t seen in 3 years.

    Now I’m making up my own autumn dreams…

  4. Lizzy

    oh, Abi! you make me laugh! ‘caputskis’ ~ i’m gonna have to steal that one from ya for sure…

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