We left the heat and humidity of Louisiana early that morning to make our way to the heat and humidity of Georgia that night. To do so we had to drive through Alabama.
So that was fun.
Out of obligation, we played Sweet Home Alabama when we entered the state. We stopped around Mobile to get gas when a miracle happened.
Gas was $3.21 a gallon. It was like God reached out his hand and led us to this glorious place in America. A week before I bought gas in Los Angeles for $4.02 and was happy for my good fortune so this was like finding the gold at the end of the rainbow and then having the leprechaun show me how to make my own gold.
Or something like that.
The drive was very long, very green, and very flat. Basically we were driving through Texas again but instead of dreadfully boring brown we were staring at slightly less dreadfully boring green. Upgrade!
We were heading to Atlanta to stay with a mutual friend who lives and works there. It was Friday night, so we were excited to see the ATL nightlife. We arrived around 3:30 in the afternoon and our friend was still at work, so we walked to Olympic Park near his house. It’s a park dedicated to the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta which also happen to be the Centennial games.
The park was cool. A nice open green space that we enjoyed for about 10 minutes and then walked aimlessly through for another 20. We then realized the Coke Museum was nearby and headed that way. We didn’t make it in time for a tour, but the gift shop was open. Never in my life have I seen so many Coke and Diet Coke related products. Shirts, bags, bottle openers, dog leashes, basketballs, hats, hoodies – you name it, they either had it or it was on back order. They also had a few cups there to choose from:
Soon our friend called to tell us he was home so we needlessly purchased Coke paraphernalia and headed back. Our friend’s apartment was glorious. Not only was it big, but there was a rooftop basketball court, volleyball court, and tennis court. And everyone up there was young. Jerks.
We went to dinner and relaxed for a bit before heading to a pregame with some of our friend’s coworkers. Oddly enough, when we got to the pregame I met someone from Hershey, which is 15 minutes from where I grew up and also where I sold my soul for 3 years working. When I found out he was from Hershey, I got excited and started naming my friends who I knew from high school. He didn’t really seem to care. So my joy was left cluttering my head while he talked to other friends. The night was starting with a bang.
We got called a cab and took it to Buckhead, a downtown of sorts in Atlanta. We were driven by a portly woman named Yolanda whose card I still have in my wallet for some reason. She was hilarious and also probably wanted us out of her cab as quickly as possible.
We trolled around Buckhead all night until decided it was time to leave and get a cab to Waffle House (you could say we were well over the legal limit to operate, well, anything really). Best. Choice. Ever. We sat at the “bar” in the diner and I got what seemed to be an endless amount of food. Every time I finished one plate, another one was placed in front of me. Cheesy grits, bacon, scrambled eggs and cheese, toast, pancakes. I inhaled every morsel. It was the second time in one day the Lord blessed me with good fortune.
I was so focused on my food that when I was done I looked over to see my two friends asleep at the bar. One slumped forward, the other backwards. I looked over to see people at a table nearby laughing and making fun of them. I got irrationally angry at them for making fun of my friends so I made everyone leave and gave the mean table a dirty look. Gotcha good ATL.
I woke up the next morning on a deflated air mattress using my jacket as a pillow. My friends are so hospitable.