Charlottesville Update

Greetings from Charlottesville, Virginia, where I’m spending a touch more time than I intended. This morning, I took in a gorgeous sunrise (it’s very rare for me to see a sunrise – but my body simply is not on a 24-hour cycle, so it does happen) with red and blue neon streaks that stretched far across the sky, as if reaching to snuff out the few stars that still dared to shine.

I have found Charlottesville a great town, and not just because it, as home to the University of Virginia, hosts 20,000 girls between 18 and 22. The place certainly has its quirks, but feels like a very livable city. This may be why community guru Bert Sperling named it the #1 place to live in America.

The people here are very genial, it’s surrounded by the natural beauty of the Shenandoah Valley, cultural activities abound, and the cost of living feels almost unnaturally low (he says, after spending 4 years in Boston.) Waitresses call me “hun” and “darlin” and I (unlike you liberal whiners) am one of those who likes it (especially when said warmth is accompanied by a stack of goopy, arteriosclerotic pancakes.)

It’s suffering from some evident sprawlish growing pains; unusually long lines of traffic on old, two-lane roads that lead to and from the downtown area, and bizarre and seemingly poorly-thought-out traffic patterns on the larger throughways. While I don’t know, I suspect its residents and civic leaders are struggling with the same internal issues every growing community does: should we widen roads? reroute traffic? hope people stop moving here? pray?

It doesn’t help that the people here drive unusually slowly. Can’t figure that one out.

I’ve also noticed a considerable number of retail establishments including restaurants, major video rental stores, coffee shops, parking garages, and so on that do not accept debit and credit cards (“CASH AND CHECKS ONLY.”) It all started a couple days ago at a coffee shop when a woman in front of me was writing a check. I found it extremely odd – I don’t think I’ve seen someone write a check in a retail situation for a couple of years – until I saw the sign on the register. I find this very weird and wish I knew why.

The food here is really good. I explored “The Corner” part of town my first night here, which is very college-student-focused, and began a little disappointed. As you’d expect, lots of joints offering $2 pints and $5 buckets of wings. But I found a few places in the downtown area I’ve enjoyed, particularly the Blue Light Grill, where I had a wonderful dinner and martini last night, and to which I may return tonight.

I’ve been crafting a few pieces on topics ranging from Lindsey Lohan to God – yes, in that order – and you’ll be seeing those this week. I think I am headed out of here tomorrow, probably for Raleigh.

Oh … and there’s a new babe pic up of the delightfully smackolicious Mini Anden, shot by the legendary Terry Richardson.

Be well, kids.

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