Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I Want to Live Here Episode 50

You’re thinking I steamed the envelope open, aren’t you? Wrong. I made a pot of tea and let it steep to an inky brown while I showered off the accumulated scum and dander of a two-day blues binge. Numbed by too many voices, I’d escaped to sleep and silence. I think today is Wednesday, December 29, but I’m not entirely sure. If Stephen hadn’t left me with hard evidence of his appearance in my living room, I think I’d have dreamed seeing him again and his kiss goodbye. It may have been the elixir I needed to get moving again. One thing was for sure, however Abigail had met her fate, whoever she had loved, I had a life to figure out.
Rinsing my hair, enjoying the squeak of cleanliness as the shampoo drained under my feet, I knew I’d been wrong about many things in the last week and that my behavior had indeed exposed me as little more than a troublemaking post-adolescent. I’d blundered around as if I were invisible to the grownups whose lives mattered to them, while I was little more than the feather from my own wing, not even the adventurous bird flown from her suburban cage. When I left New York, I’d placed myself in the wind oh so willing to flutter and fly. But it had been currents holding me aloft, not the power of real flight. Well, if I couldn’t fly I could at least walk. In any event, I needed exercise and a change of scene. Stuffing the envelope into a large shoulder bag and dressing for the crisp afternoon air, I stalked my way up Biscayne Drive and headed south on Peachtree Road.

Arborgate lies just south of Buckhead proper and north of Brookwood where the remains of a lovely railroad station (Embark here for the Southern Crescent), a high-rise apartment building whose sign kept track of Atlanta’s growing population (in millions) and a decaying grand hotel are the significant landmarks.
Not many people walked on Peachtree in those days, at least not in late December, no matter how inviting the sunny cold. At 16th Street, I stopped to examine the facade of a Carnegie library branch and, next door, the Memorial Arts Center. After that, the neighborhood turned sour with unfulfilled promises. Colony Square, a turn-of-the-century mansion with a placard reading “Atlanta Women’s Club,” Matthew’s Super Market, a gas station and the kinds of facades I’d been raised to scurry by, eyes in front. I passed them all feeling better and better. But also hungry.
I hurried through what Kevin had told me was “the Strip.” Vestiges of the Atlanta hippie scene when The Allman Brothers played in Piedmont Park and copies of The Great Speckled Bird replaced broken windows in drafty but large apartments had been overlaid by an uneven layer of grunge. It was the kind of neighborhood that always seemed rained on.

The Bird had printed its last issue two months ago, which left me with Creative Loafing to read. I picked up a copy at the site of the Fox Theater and tucked it in my bag. I needed an apartment and a job. The little weekly would be my guide. At The Pleasant Peasant, I stopped, checked myself in the plate glass window and entered. Minutes later I was using a clean knife to slice into Abigail’s secret stash.


Cyn said...

I swear I could hear the soundtrack playing while I read this! And for just a second I had a whiff of the way your little apt in Pershing Pt smelled in the spring when you had the windows open - Marta bus fumes and stale pot. I love reading this story.

ABG said...

Boz Scaggs and Gregg Allman?

Anonymous said...

I like how this is moving along
two minor carps from a fellow Atlantan:
it is Brookwood not Brookhaven where we viewed the Darlington sign, and back in the day, the strip was known as "tight squeeze"

ABG said...

Yikes, how could I? Thanks for the catch on Brookwood. I never referred to the strip as the tight squeeze but may let Kevin have the honor.
that said, i do refer to the grady curve as the birth canal!

intact_male said...

Odd that I would come across your blog minutes after you posted this.

ABG said...

why's that?

K9 said...

i remember that big albino who stood on the corner of highland and ponce de leon with the great speckled bird in hand. i remember the darlington sign too -its gone? im late to this story i see. however you remain the hawtist nun on the internets.

ABG said...

I spotted the albino in L5P this afternoon. you know the rumor, don't you?

Donald Baxter said...

i wasn't posting clearly. I was just looking at a picture on my flickr site minutes before I came across your blog:


Anonymous said...


Notorious since the Civil War as a haven for cut-throats and thieves, the stretch of Peachtree between present-day Eighth and Twelfth Streets originally looped around a thirty-foot ravine that ran east from present-day Crescent Avenue down toward Piedmont Avenue and got its name from the saying that it was a "tight squeeze getting through there with your life." In 1887, in preparation for the Piedmont Exposition being constructed at what would become Piedmont Park, the "Tight Squeeze" was eliminated by filling the ravine and straightening the course of the street. By 1900, Old Peachtree Street had been renamed Crescent Avenue.