Just had to get away

Oct 15 2001 Kelly Norton
Just had to get away for the weekend, so as soon as I could free myself from work, (Saturday Morning) Kristen and I left for Asheville NC, which is one of two old-standby locations for which our right to suddenly roll into town has long been reserved by convention. In keeping with tradition, we got lost on the way in. I've finally concluded that US25, I-26, I-40 and I-240 are all part of an intertwined matrix of roads that all share some common terminal. We have tried almost every permutation in the above set of roadways and each time we are magically transported into downtown Asheville. On the way back, we gave up and just took I26 to Spartanburg. My navigator disagrees with the use of the term 'lost', since we ended up in Asheville; I'm comfortable with it.

Asheville is an "artsy-fartsy" town, as one of my old literature professors would have described it. It has art galleries, art students, art newspapers, art museums, art on the shelves of the bookstore, and most importantly art on the walls in its many cafés and pubs. There are good places to eat and everything can be substituted with soy cheese or a gelatinous medley of veggies and sprouts. Of course, the Laughing Seed Café has the best veggie goo that I've ever had in the US; it's like goo with the right combination of herbs and spices. We ate there as soon as we got into town. The entire weekend was fantastic, even our having to stay in the dilapidated Days Inn (notice its sunburst rating) could not damage the weekend festivities. The wind was cool when skirting leaves noisily across the street and carrying foggy drizzle across the background of earth-tone oranges, browns and reds up on the hills of trees getting occasionally lost in the smokey mist. A fat guy with inflated cheeks passed us in a van whistling so loud it got lost echoing off brick. A burly man with a pockmarked face stopped us twice on the street requesting that we "do a favor for an Indian." Later, a concerned restaurant owner gave him a free meal of hamburger and fries. On Sunday, we saw a community theatre performance of Wit (sic) in a sparsely packed house of little old women who seemed happy to have us. May not have been the best acting, but sometimes that's a relief, an affirmation that Hero Categorizes Everyone. As I said, I also bought an Anthony Burgess book about Joyce down at Malaprop's Bookstore and Café, where people sit at the tables outside and read real books that have no bearing on their earning potential. That was after I had a Sunday morning runny Eggs Benedict at the Uptown Café, with the church crowd who still uses the serve yourself coat closet. But in the evenings we drank good beer in good places not designed to get you in and out; places like the Jack of the Wood Pub and Barley's Taproom. We drank, stouts and porters and ESB's and Oktoberfest special brews amongst a calm pub crowd which included Melissa and Howard, who let us share a pub bench with them. After a satisfying weekend of fun, we came back over the hill today laughing at Kristen's mediocre okra.