Walk On Guy.

There’s a monthly flea market at the Nashville State Fairgrounds. I used to go regularly, almost every month, although it’s been several years since I went. I’ve got more than enough fleas, but that’s another story.

I first started going before I had a driver’s license so I’d take the bus. The one thing about being a regular bus rider is there’s a lot of walking involved. Even now when I only take the bus home from, and occasionally to, work I have to walk to the right stop to get on and then walk home from where I get off. And sometimes I walk in the general direction of home to a different stop, because I know the bus will catch up with me, or I walk in the direction of downtown, where the bus is coming from, in the hopes of catching it that much sooner, although it usually only seems to make the bus run late.

The flea market is on the fourth weekend of every month and I don’t remember whether it was an odd month with five weekends and I’d missed it or whether it was only the third weekend and I was early. Either way I rode the bus out to the fairgrounds, got out, walked up the hill, and found the place was deserted. This was pretty strange. The fairgrounds have become a money pit and the city’s been through some controversial efforts to shut the whole place down and hand it over to developers who want to build luxury condos, but still it’s pretty heavily used. In addition to the flea market and annual state fair there are all sorts of trade shows. Just this last weekend there was a reptile show at a time when most reptiles are still hibernating.

I went back to the bus stop to wait for the bus which, on a Saturday, was scheduled to come every forty minutes. And then, after I sat there for a few minutes, I started walking back toward downtown. Aside from one spot, under an overpass where cars come speeding around the corner, it was a pretty easy walk along sidewalks past small old homes on small lots, starter homes dating, I think, from World War II. The yards were nice and mostly well-tended but, oddly enough for a Saturday, I didn’t meet anyone else. Gradually I made my way through an area known as The Gulch, which, at the time, was an industrial wasteland. It’s now a hip urban area with restaurants and haute couture.

Without ever seeing or being passed by the return bus I made it back to the bus depot. I clocked the entire trip at just about forty-five minutes and, when I checked Google Maps, I was surprised to find that meant I’d been moving at a pretty good pace: a mile every fifteen minutes.

Since then I’ve mostly driven to the flea market which provides a very different perspective from walking, even from riding the bus. One of these weekends I keep thinking I’ll go back, that maybe I’ll even walk there.

10 Comments

  1. Arionis

    Sounds like you got an unintentional nice walk there. When I don’t have the time to get out to the mountains, I’ll sometime do “Urban Hiking” with my dog here in the city. There is a website (www.alltrails.com) that you can put a city in and see some of the walking routes. I’ve discovered a few nice places right here in the heart of the city.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That website is so cool. As much as I like to walk through the woods “Urban Hiking” is fun and definitely has some advantages. It ain’t exactly trail magic but if you get hungry while hiking in an urban area you’re more likely to find places where you can get food.

      Reply
  2. Allison

    I miss the old sketchy Nashville. We’re not too far from the Fairgrounds. We used their parking lot when my husband taught me to drive a stick shift (which I’m bad at).

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I miss the old sketchy Nashville too. Having grown up here I miss some of my old haunts, like the original Great Escape over on Division. And it’s all changing too fast and being built up too much now.
      Oh, and deep down I suspect everyone’s bad at driving a stick shift. Some people are just better able to hide it than others. Although I say that as someone who’s failed miserably at it.

      Reply
  3. Jay

    All the best people are walkers.
    True story.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Walking is physically and mentally healthy. And my favorite part is seeing things I’d miss if I were going by too fast.

      Reply
  4. Moonwatcher51

    I’m doing a lot of walking in this little Mexican town and I think that would be a good thing to seek out in my next digs. Walking seems hard at first, but you get to meet the kids, dogs, grandmas in the doorways and who’s skipping school. Life.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I imagine it seems hard if you’re walking in an unfamiliar area, but, yes, getting to meet the wonderful characters who are part of a neighborhood is a definite benefit.

      Reply
  5. Ann Koplow

    I love catching up with you, Chris.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I’m so glad you caught up with me too.

      Reply

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