Last night, we had a surreal experience, and I thought it might be constructive (inasmuch as it makes up a blog entry) to share it with all of you. Jesse flew into Nashville from Madison yesterday, and last night, Max & C & I hooked up with Uncle Brian and Aunt Kate and Jesse and went to the abomination that used to be Opryland, currently known as Opry Mills.
When I was a kid, Nashville had this theme park, like a Six Flags but on a slightly smaller scale, called Opryland. It had your basic water rides, like the Grizzly River Rampage and the Flume Zoom, it had your upside-down roller coaster, the Wabash Cannonball, and it had places for people to play music, along with everything else you'd expect from the fusion of fair and theme park. I liked Opryland. It spoiled me, I think, to grow up with a theme park in my hometown.
Sometime after my adulthood reached what scientists refer to as "full swing," Opryland folded and was razed to the ground to make way for what passes for progress in this day and age, a huge fucking mall. Opryland has been replaced by Opry Mills, which Jesse tells me is a consequence of them having been purchased by the MIlls Corporation, which owns and operates several throbbing hard-ons of malls like this one. It has several movie screens, many restaurants (all of which feature an hour wait or more on a Wednesday) and every shop for everything anyone would ever want to buy. It's all very stimulating for the economy, and it gives no aid or comfort to the terrorists, keeping them at bay. It was very strange for me to tread over my childhood memories of fun and whimsy, which have now been subsumed by a mall.
After the mall, we went over to the Opryland Hotel to look at the festive lights, both on the front lawn and inside the garden observatory. We had a nice time with this, making fun of the less successful holiday decorations - like the incestuous tree-decorating family and the carol singers on crack - and also enjoying the relative tranquility of the plants and waterfalls and such. Max liked it very much, I think. I should also point out here that the Cascade bar does in fact spin, a fact that Kate was the 1st to pick up on last night, and that I gave her endless shit about until I was proven wrong as usual. Props to Kate!
The most surreal thing about all of this were the cheerleaders. Everywhere we went, both in the mall and in the hotel, there were cheerleaders all over the place. Mostly female and some male, many of them painted like the whores of Babylon personified, complete with purple accents and shading and glitter and such, got up in the tiniest skirts and belly shirts, hanging about everyplace like they had a reason to be there. And giggling. So much giggling. This led to me elicting a promise from my three-year-old not to spend any time dallying with painted whores, and he rapidly agreed, much to my relief.
Whup! Time for pancakes!