Friday, July 17, 2009

Take a Guide.

Terry and I honeymooned in London, back in the go-go-eighties when European jaunts were reasonably priced. I loved everything about England, (the Orient Express! Windsor Castle! Bangers and mash! Starlight Express! Pimm's Cup!) but one of my favorite days was spent with a personal guide. The Take-A-Guide agency assigned a guide and car to create a custom tour of the city. We were dropped off at the front door of the Tower of London and Harrod's, had lunch in a pub far off the beaten tourist track, visited our guide's neighborhood, chatted about everyday life in the city, strolled from curbside to the front entrance of several museums, and generally had a wonderful time.

Today, I was Take-A-Guide for the teen and tween. We talked about several options, then I took them on a Magical Mystery Tour of the surreal and ordinary.

  • Little Five Points continues to be a jaw-dropping experience for our suburban sensibilities. The tatooed dudes strolling into the package store and manning the cash register at A Capella Books were fascinating and intimidatingly strange at the same time.
  • Junkman's Daughter, with all its highly inappropriate stock, had the tween rolling her eyes and the teen begging me to leave because it was too darned embarrassing to even be near that stuff with mom nearby.
  • Savananda is a delightful cooperative grocery in Little Five Points. We got Scooter the Wonder Dog a bone (we don't really believe it's organic) and a few snacks for later.
  • Morningside is where old Greensboro friends lived in their young-marrieds-before-kids days. We like to envision them as urbanites because they are staunchly Old Greensboro today.
  • We stopped at Manuel's Tavern to talk about city politics and the way people like to work things out over food and drink. That segued to a discussion about how television portrays bars - "That's where people go to get drunk, Mom. Why would you go to someplace like that?" So we talked about stereotypes and exaggeration for effect. I also added "and not until you're 21."
  • Oxford Comics is a treasured resource for Free Comic Book Day (which was today) and an ever-growing selection of anime and manga. The teen ran into another DHS Anime Club member, an unexpected bonus.
  • I looked longingly at Knitch as we passed. Didn't go in. Really wanted to.
  • We explored our favorite used book store, the Book Nook at Clairmont and North Druid Hills, and left with a stack of books to enjoy. Required reading is right around the corner, but at least there are still a few weeks left to savor pleasure reading.
  • Zesto's! Usually, we visit the Ponce location, but today we were closer to Buckhead, so we called T and he met us for burgers, nachos and shakes. I had the turkey burger (gotta act like a grown-up), which I chose all martyr-like, then enjoyed tremendously.
  • When we drive through Buckhead, we always point to the two buildings where T has worked. We much prefer the current location, right across from Lenox Mall.
  • The DeKalb Airport still fascinates us. Small, nearly toy like airplanes leap into the sky. Such freedom. Such no-way-you'd-ever-get-me-in-one-of-those shakes of the heads as we watch.
  • Last stop, the Dunwoody library, because the tween had another book on hold.

We took our time, talked nonstop, shared memories, and had a very special day together.

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