Park It.

Source: Google Maps

Nashville’s Hillsboro Village is, depending on how you count it, a one or two block stretch of densely crowded shops, including, among other things, the historic Villager Tavern, which is now a friendly and welcoming place but for decades was perhaps the deepest dive bar in the southeast. It was a place where dark creatures in flannel and leather leaned over glasses smelling of turpentine, muttering secrets in prehistoric tongues, recoiling in horror from the light when one among them would strike a sulfur match and set fire to a thick, tarry cheroot and exhale clouds of smoke indistinguishable from the haze of disintegrated dreams that filled the tavern’s dry, fetid air. So anyway now it’s pretty much a family place—if your family is over twenty-one, and if not there are plenty of other options, including Fido’s, the coffee shop that makes a pretty good red velvet cake, or the Pancake Pantry, where people literally line up down the street waiting to get in.

Anyway I had an appointment at noon on the other side of Hillsboro Village. And that seemed easy enough. I knew to catch the #7, a route I’ve ridden all the way to its terminus and back, that would come by around 11:30, although in retrospect that was cutting it a bit close, and if there’s one thing I hate it’s even the possibility of being late. It’s just one of my quirks. I don’t believe there’s such a thing as “fashionably late”. Invite me to a party and you’ll probably see me drive by your house five or six times because I’ve gotten there unfashionably early and I don’t want to come in before you’ve even had a chance to get out of bed, but that’s another story.

The bus was a few minutes late and I was already sweating bullets, and not just because it’s August and around these parts the air has somehow figured out how to have 300% humidity. I was terrified of being late, but we were speeding along our merry way. Then we hit Hillsboro Village.

Back when it was a quiet little neighborhood there was nothing wrong with parking on the street. Now, though—and you can even see this in the satellite image—cars are allowed to park along a two-block stretch of 21st Avenue that passes through, and they’re not allowed to park on the street on any approaching block, which creates a funnel of crawling traffic. And buses, by their nature, have to stick to the right-hand lane, so the driver, approaching this passage, had to wait for a lull in the traffic to pull in, further slowing our progress.

One of many things that’s predicted in the future of self-driving cars is that parking will no longer be a problem. Some claim that your self-driving car will simply drop you off and circle around the block as you do your business then pick you up when you’re ready to go. The potential fuel costs and increased carbon footprint of this notwithstanding I’d hate to run down my self-driving car because it didn’t recognize me.

Anyway all this just illustrates an annoying problem of city planning, especially as cities, and the neighborhoods within them, change and grow. Parking is always an afterthought.

I was three minutes late for my appointment, by the way.


Facebook Comments


  1. Bookstooge

    3 minutes late?!? Well, when are you going to commit seppuku to atone for such a heinous breach manners?
    Also, will you live blog the seppuku? 😉
    Bookstooge recently posted…Much Ado About Nothing ★★★★☆My Profile

    1. Kristine Laco

      That got dark quickly…
      Kristine Laco recently posted…Fifteen Minute Friday: SkunksMy Profile

      1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

        I mean, that got out of hand fast. Did you throw a trident? Anyway I always enjoy it when things get dark.

    2. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I’ve never been particularly good at seppuku. I can’t seem to get the numbers into the proper columns. Oh, wait, I’m thinking of Sudoku. I always get that confused with Numberwang.

  2. Allison

    My husband’s first and second Nashville apartments were in that neighborhood – the first was a now extinct complex called The Commodore. They paved that paradise and put up a Fifth Third Bank. It was across from what was a Harris Teeter, and is now a Kroger on 21st South. His second apartment was a block or two from The Belcourt – at the corner of Convent and Fairfax – a small cluster of apartments called Confair.

    I loved him living there. I remember visiting him one November and walking to Pangaea to buy a present for my father – then we had dinner at Bosco’s and walked home as it started to snow.

    The first time I came to see him we ate Indian at the place that is now Kay-Bob’s.

    There were some fun, good times at both apartments. We don’t live that far from there now, but I really only go to Pizza Perfect to pick up a dinner pie, or through it on my way elsewhere.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Living within walking distance of that neighborhood must be pretty nice, especially for having dinner at Bosco’s. I’m so sad that they closed their Nashville location. I had a loyalty card and they gave you specials on your birthday.
      It’s really a bit sad to see how the whole area is changing, but as long as the Belcourt remains I’ll be happy.

  3. Kristine Laco

    I was hoping you’d stop in for a pint and be unpredictably late, but that’s another story.
    Kristine Laco recently posted…28 Thoughts I Had While Trying to be MindfulMy Profile

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Funny you should say that because one thing about the Hillsboro Village neighborhood is there are multiple places to stop for a pint, all within two blocks. In that it’s almost like an old English village, the sort with three or four pubs. There’s even a pool hall. There used to be two. The one that closed had a full-size snooker table.

  4. Arionis

    As far as lateness is concerned, you just described me to a T, including the circling the block thing. My acceptable arriving time window is exactly five minutes before I’ve been asked to be there. I’ve been known to sit in my car as much as 45 minutes before hand just because I didn’t want to be late and didn’t want to be early.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I would say 45 minutes is excessive but I think I’ve waited almost that long myself. Sometimes I’ve even gone off to do something else just to kill time rather than show up ridiculously early, and I still get antsy and show up ridiculously early.
      Although I have this other quirk that I won’t eat dinner, supper, or whatever you call the evening repast before 5 PM. It goes back to the time I was a kid and watching The People’s Court, and there was a guy who was three-hundred and nine suing a cruise line because they didn’t serve dinner at 4:30. And I said, the only meal I’ll have that early is high tea.

  5. Ann Koplow

    I recognize myself and you in this post, Chris. I’m always happy when I park it here.

  6. Ann Koplow

    I was almost two weeks late getting here, by the way.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I’m a little late replying myself, but, while I was three minutes late for my appointment, I believe you were right on time.


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