It’s always a lot of fun to watch tourists come to Athens, mainly because I remember the feelings that I had coming here for the first time. Like when you first find out where R.E.M.’s secret headquarters is, then you can’t stop staring, then you try to look away and ignore it but it’s still there. Or visiting Ricky Wilson’s grave. The thoughts that go through your mind when you think of such a life cut short. This weekend, I had the pleasure of showing a friend from Tallahassee around. And it rekindled my obsessive love for this town.
You can quickly get used to a city. Walk by a place like Wuxtry or REMHQ a million times and think nothing of it. I’ve tried to keep my sense of awe about me as much as I can but when something incredible is part of your everyday, chances are that you will take it for granted at some point.
We first went to the steeple, which has seen better days. Buck claims that it was only marginally better that they didn’t burn the place down when they left. It’s in desperate need of some TLC but a fight over land property will probably cause this landmark to disappear completely one day. Very sad. The Murmurs trestle will eventually lose the fight for survival, I’m sure. The steeple may stand a chance though. I hope it will get some help.
We then walked to campus and checked out WUOG’s new digs. The place is kinda bare right now and I really miss the old station. Maybe I can come back 15 years from now and say “Wow, this is WUOG.” *sigh*
After wandering around a bit (“That’s where Mike lived on campus. There’s Reed where Bill was..”), we returned downtown for some grub from Uncle Otto’s. I adore that place. My tourists so kindly paid for my lunch. Yay!
Then we went shopping. Junkmans, Bizzaro Wuxtry, Agora, Gig Worn. All these awesome eclectic places full of stuff I would love to have but cannot afford. I didn’t buy anything until Agora where I found a vinyl copy of “Chronic Town.” Then my friend found another! We both left Agora very pleased with our little selves for finding such treasures. (Anyone know how to get a few minor scratches out of vinyl? Carefully??)
I had forgotten about all the awesome shops we have in town. Since my finances are less than ideal, I usually avoid buying anything that’s not on the Taco Bell dollar menu. Gig Worn was especially cool. If I had a band (anyone need a bassist/lyricist?) that had a photoshoot, I would head here to find some pretty cool threads. Tons of awesome concert tees, pants, jackets, belts..My buddy gave me an amazing knitted cuff bracelet and we went our different ways.
I walked really slowly back to my place. The sun was glinting off a building downtown. Really large windows filled with R.E.M. posters. I stared. Then I caught myself and looked away but I felt it looming behind me. Realizing what I had just done, I couldn’t help but smile. Things may change, but some feelings stay the same.