8/12/10 – Birmingham

In lieu of sleep, I am becoming completely fixated on coffee.

Before we leave Hot Springs, Nathan and I get coffee at a place called the Nut Cellar. As we’re walking in, I say absent mindedly, “I love nuts.” An older gentleman sitting on the sidewalk laughs dirtily.

In the store, a weathered and wiry little guy approaches the counter. He starts talking incoherently in an extremely guttural twang about how he’ll pay the owner back for coffee when he gets his check next week. He’s like the Hot Springs version of Popeye’s Wimpy (“I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today”). His voice and mannerisms seem totally fictional. If he were in a movie I’d cry, “caricature!” Then, one of the other patrons addresses him, “See you later, Turkey.” It’s clear that he’s not calling him a turkey, but rather than the guy goes by the name Turkey. Which is about as perfect as a nickname could get.

Our drives have been long, and finally, we’ve gotten down to 7 hours. We’re staying with Nick’s best friend from Omaha, Nate and his wife Katie. They live in an old neighborhood like the one we grew up in, and the combination of the screaming of the cicadas in the giant trees and the oppressive humidity makes me so nostalgic.

The club is called The Nick, much to Nick’s delight. The sign out front says, “The Nick Rocks”. Of course, both Nick and I buy tshirts.

I meet a girl at the bar who is bemoaning the ink stain on her tote bag. I am so starved for girliness that I spend five whole minutes telling her how to get the ink out. (I admit I have a laundry fetish.)

Our show is really fun and sort of hilarious. The Nick seems like the place where things could get pretty crazy. All of the people working are super friendly and wryly funny. Twinside plays with us and they make me so happy with their Verbena-like harmonies. Plus, I get to meet the drummer from Verbena, a band I love. The final band is an incredibly tight southern rock band called A Thousand Horses. We praise their showmanship and chops, and then they tell us it’s their first show ever. Uhhh….whoa. I resolve to keep track of these boys.