Thursday, March 20, 2008
At the Chalet:
Three stories. Three balconies. Six beds. Eight boys. Looks like snuggle time for Tim and Carrie.
I can’t begin to describe the train wreck that is Pigeon Forge. It’s like a hillbilly extravaganza. Giant arcades. Go-carts. An enormous upside down theater that just does Laser-light-Christian extravaganzas. Easter’s a big weekend for the Bible Belt. Luckily, we’re not staying in Pigeon Forge. It’s just the first stop off the highway. The little redneck strip of land set aside for the lesser-thans. No, we’re in Gatlinburg, the Swiss Alps of North America. You drive down the main strip and right after you drive past Cooters (the Dukes of Hazzard themed attraction) the scenery changes. All the airbrushed tee shirt shops have an outside façade that suggests, we’re part of a luxury ski resort. There’s faux timber everywhere. Everything is the color of evergreens. There are restaurants and bars and wax museums and a Ripley’s Believe it or Not haunted house. It’s everything a southerner with a bit more cheddar in their bank account would want to do in Pigeon Forge’s snobby older cousin.
We got here earlier than we were able to get into our chalet. What are seven thirsty men and one uptight lesbian to do when they can’t get into their vacation paradise? Well, for us the answer was clear. We paid ten dollars to park downtown and spent an hour at the local hangout, Puckers. Inside this wannabe Hooters establishment, there were big bosomed bartenders with dirty blond hair eager to take our drink orders, and more eager still to ascertain which of the men were single. “I’m thirty-two, have been married for fifteen years and have four kids,” said the woman behind the bar. “Can I get you fellas a shot?”
With the help of sweet baby Jesus, the man responsible for all that is good in this part of the country, we were called and notified that our chalet was ready early. We settled our tab with Chesty McGee and made our way to the top of the mountain.
Before I came down here, I was adamant that mama was going to have to periodically come down the mountain. After the harrowing experience of making it up here, I now realize just how foolish this idea had been. To get up here, we crisscrossed the 3500 ft mountain for ten of the most terrifying minutes of my life. We made 270 degree blind turns shitting our pants and praying that no one was headed around the corner in the other direction, because there was no way to do it without wandering five feet over the yellow line. When we made it I announced, “I’m not doing that again until I leave Sunday morning.” Everyone agreed and we came inside. Like an atypically boring reality show, we all picked our rooms. I’ll be sharing the master suite with Tim. To answer your next question, yes, there will be cuddling. There are plenty of nooks and crannies where I can see myself stealing away for all the alone time I could ever want. Like now for example.
I have to say, the view here is one of the most breathtaking I have ever seen. As I sit typing this, I’m sitting on one of the three balconies. To be specific, I’m I on the balcony that is perched right outside Tim’s and my bedroom. I’m listening to the boys on the balcony above me, and not one of them has asked where the fuck I’ve run off to. This is as I like it. I’m sitting across from a frost covered mountain. These ain’t your mama’s foothills, it should but does not say on the brochure.
I’ve had three beers and a shot of Jaeggermeister. I am not even tipsy. I will be drinking plenty of water.
One last thing—there’s an eleven pound brisket sitting in front of our fireplace. I think it’s marinating. I hope it’s marinating. Otherwise I’m confused. Maybe it’s a boy thing.
One more thing. I’m eavesdropping on the boys on the balcony above, and at this bachelor party, the men are talking about childrearing. Their women would be so proud.