This morning I enjoyed an enjoying couple of hours in a very sleepy, small Southern town. And no, I don't mean Atlanta.
Yesterday Caleb told me he'd be up in Buford today for a meeting today and I could come with him if I wanted. I said sure, why not? We met up around 9:15 and headed north, through 35 miles of yucky highway and Gwinnett County dreck, and arrived at 10. Caleb parked by City Hall and left me to wander, telling me the meeting would be done by around 11:30.( Collapse )
I'd been to Buford before, so I had an idea of where I could go. The old downtown has recently undergone a revival, so there are some restaurants, antique shops, galleries, etc., that I thought I could visit. Key word here being "thought," as it turns out Buford is such a sleepy town that none of the shops were open! They open at 11 or sometime later.
Oh, well! Not breaking stride, I decided I'd simply spend some "slow time." I walked down Main Street, where the storefronts kept me in the shade. When I reached the Bona Allen Mansion, I headed down the hill to walk down the weedy street that runs behind the downtown. It's like night and day: Main Street neat and clean and hip, this other street full of auto repair shops (all open), rusted cars and fields of kudzu. And it was hot. Really hot. So hot that by the time I was over by City Hall again, I was melting. Fortunately at this point I found a store open. It was a very poorly maintained five and dime, the kind of place that sells everything, if you can find it somewhere around. It was like if Wal-Mart had a tag sale, I swear. At least it had A/C and some amusing merchandise.
Next came Round Two. I went up to Main Street again and checked if any stores had opened. Nope! Now it was time to truly go Southern. I grabbed a copy of the free paper, and spent about a half hour, maybe more, sitting on a bench, fanning myself with a paper, counting pickup trucks go by, and listening to 50s music drift out of some restaurant opening up for lunch. I also said hello to various local people who walked by.
Eventually I got up for I guess Round Three. There was a really old, dilapidated pharmacy on Main Street that I didn't know was open until I noticed people going in. I went in and found some A/C, as well as gum and a nice birthday card for my dad. Yay. So I went outside, found another bench and watched things go by, and fanned myself, for a while longer. Sheesh, it was hot -- one of those days where it's 85 in the shade and 100 in the sun.
Round Four involved me going to the little park near the government buildings and sitting on a wall and then, another bench. There I actually read some of the paper I'd been using to fan myself. Hmmm. I dripped sweat onto a story about a WWII vet.
Finally Round Five was me going down the street again and then actually crossing it. There aren't many shops on the one side, because the railroad runs right behind that side of the road, but there are some, and a couple of them had opened at 11. I found an antique shop that had no apparent proprietor. There were some interesting dusty things in there, but nothing I couldn't do without.
Final Round, I went back to the park and tried to figure out what the nuts were that I found lying around. They were sort of football shaped. Not pecans. I also noticed a large striped mosquito bite me as well as these tiny little black flies that were licking a scab on my ankle. (There was not much else to do.)
And then Caleb appeared, done with his meeting, and asked me if I'd like lunch. We went to this very nice fancy restaurant on Main Street, Aqua Terra, and had a wonderful meal, during which I told him about life in Buford.
Afterward he drove us back to Atlanta, dropping me in Buckhead so I could get my allergy shot.
Overall, it was actually nice to go up there, even though it sounds boring. I think often people live their lives too quickly and don't study things enough. So when you're forced to, it seems better to just deal with it than get mad.
P.S. More PICTURES to be posted shortly.