The Most Out of Place I've Felt In Nashville

It can be stressful moving to a new place. A new city, a new state - they can make you feel like you don't belong. Like you're a traveler in a foreign land. Like everyone else knows how things work and you don't. Frankly, like you're a bit of an idiot, and quite possibly that everyone is staring at you thinking, Hey, who's that dumbass Yankee from New York? Of course, I'm speaking purely hypothetically.

Luckily, though, I haven't had too many experiences feeling that I'm a fish out of water. Nashville is a very welcoming place, especially within the music community. Everyone is from somewhere else, but it keeps the southern hospitality mentality. But do you want to know the time I really felt most out of place in my new surroundings? Because I'll tell you if you come in close and promise not to go around telling people. It wasn't at the tons of open mics that I've been to. It was at the two Titans games that I went to. It wasn't at NSAI events that I've been to, even when a publisher and a bunch of other songwriters have been listening to my music and judging it. It wasn't even at the CMA Awards when a joke about the Democrats losing the senate made the crowd to wild. You really want to know what it was? It was when I got my oil changed.

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, WTF?! I get it, but hear me out. When you go to Valvoline in New York, you park your car by the garage entrance, get out, and tell the service technician what you're looking to have done. Then they get into the car, drive it into the garage, do the work, drive it out, and let you know when it's ready, all while you wait in the waiting area with the bad coffee, boring magazines, and The Weather Channel on the TV. But in Tennessee? Oh, in Tennessee you drive the car into the garage yourself and then stay in it while they do the work. And it confused the hell out of me - not because I didn't understand what was going on, but because all my life I've gotten out of the car when I got my oil changed. I mean every time. But this time I got out and the service attendant was like, "You can get back in - we don't take that long." All I had to do was roll down my window to talk to him as he stood at a computer station. Honestly, I felt like I was doing something wrong; like I was breaking some rule. But he was right: they didn't take that long.

And now I know. And hopefully next time when they mentally identify me as a "Yankee from New York" they'll leave out the "dumbass" part. Hopefully.

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    © STEVE SCHULTZ