The Deep and Mid-South saw the balmy summerlike weather of December turn into near-Hoth conditions in early January, and a deep freeze rolled through the United States which meant of course that the East Coast got slammed with record levels of snow, stranding passengers in intermediate points.
For those unfamilar with air travel, when it's due to weather that flights are cancelled, the airlines are under no obligation to help you out in any way whatsoever: you're on your own to find accomodaion, and food. I knew a friend was travelling through our area and said in the event of being stranded please do give us a ring and you've a place to stay. Hartsfield-Jackson airport is literally the busiest airport in the world, and the logistics of getting people in and out of there is absurd.
Woke up the next day after being laid low with a flu-like virus uninterested in bringing the house to company-standards of cleanliness. I'm not a pig, or a slob - but when you have guests you give the faucets an extra polish, you know? There wasn't a cloud in the sky and the flurried snow of Friday and part of Saturday was long-gone - the chances of that offer being honored were pretty much zero. So I was laid out, unshaven in my bathrobe, about to lazily watch the Patriots take on the Broncos.
So naturally, the phone rang.
I don't drive drunk but I have it on some authority that the presence of a cop walking towards your pulled-over car sobers you up in a hurry. Likewise, it appears that being needed has the same effect on illness. I begged a few moments to get the spare bed ready, and shaved in the shower.
It was a double delight.
First off, my friend is exceedingly charming, a warm and hospitable human being and a delightful conversationalist. The car ride was lively and because my guest had never seen Atlanta before, I piloted my Dodge through the I-75/I-85 split to downtown, showing the downtown for what it is - the Coke museum and the Aquarium, CNN and the MLK center complete with Ebeneezer Baptist Church - before heading past the rich houses on Ponce De Leon through the hippie-dippie Little 5 Points and the new-money Decatur before doubling back to a rib joint that sells the large cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Secondly, having to show someone else through the city, I realized Atlanta really isn't the downtown core, or what you normally associate with large cities. Or its monuments, the cyclorama or the stadiums. It's mixtapes at the gas station, movie-making on the South Side. It's eating pulled pork sandwiches on Texas toast bread with good company in a beater of a building festooned with stolen highway signs. It's in knowing the little old lady who served a giant hamburger sought out by the Wall Street Journal as the best in America. It's advising them that the chicken and waffles joint in the International terminal is run by rapper Ludacris. Drinking cans of PBR in the parking lot of the Triumph repair shop. Church fish-frys on Memorial Drive. You learn more about where you are by having to phrase it for others, you know?
It wasn't much of a social call because flights out were first thing in the AM, meaning a 4:45 AM wake up time and travel takes a lot out of you, so after some polite (and interesting) conversation we all retired early.
I never made it to church, but I did entertain a saint.