Having left the confines of my porch enough in the last couple of weeks to get out and about, it looks like tourist season has begun in Memphis, and people from all over the world are pouring into the birthplace of rock-and-roll. So I thought it might be wise to point out a few things that newcomers and visitors to Memphis should know, just as rules of thumb. After all, the relocation specialists and travel guidebooks do leave out a few things. First of all, if you have to drive a car here, do so with the utmost caution. See, lots of people in Memphis have a hard time with this. There are many drivers who haven’t quite mastered the art of a turn lane. They don’t get in them to turn and they pay no attention to you if you’re in the turn lane and they want to turn from the non-turn lane. They simply aim for the front end of your car and hit the pedal. Never drive in an area of town called Bartlett. You’ll need a tranquilizer afterward if you do. Beware of the soccer mom gangs. At approximately 3 o’clock every afternoon they are out. They all drive SUVs and they all drive like they are on crack but have run out. If you are doing less than 60 mph in a 35 mph zone, they will drive one inch behind your bumper and all but sideswipe you while attempting to pass you to get to whatever life-changing function it is to which they are bulldozing their way. You are going to be hot. Very hot. Memphis in the summer is lovely in many ways, but it is hot. If you’re pressed for time and can’t spend the evening cooking dinner, simply place a raw chicken on the dashboard of your car in the morning and by the end of the day it will be a nice roasted bird. Stay in places that are air-conditioned until mid-October. Anderton’s seafood restaurant is my top choice for this. You will see a large part of our population sporting the infamous mullet hairstyle. Yes, the carefully maintained Business-in-the-Front, Party-in-the-Back ‘do is everywhere here. And they are worn without shame. In fact, they are celebrated. They are worn by men, women, children, and some poodles. You’ll find the greatest and most varied concentration of them in the nearby hamlet of Millington and any women’s gay bar. Those who choose to sport the mullet, also known as the Kentucky Waterfall, are usually very nice people with huge hearts. So don’t fear them. Embrace their sense of the aesthetic and know that we are at least behind the Midwest in terms of sheer mullet volume. Go to Holly Springs and Oxford, Mississippi. They are lovely towns within an hour-and-a-half drive. Live in Midtown or downtown. Eat Greek cuisine at Melos Taverna as often as possible and ask for Teddy as your server. Hear James Govan at Rum Boogie Cafe. Tour the National Ornamental Metal Museum. Eat your cheeseburgers at Old Zinnie’s. Never miss a club performance by Di Anne Price. Never underestimate the power of a Krystal. Meet Deanie Parker. By all means, spend a Sunday at the Reverend Al Green’s Full Gospel Tabernacle. Love Elvis. And finally, when ordering something cold to drink in a restaurant, ask what kind of Cokes they have. All sodas here are referred to that way. And when your waitress tells you that your food “is fixing to come out,” just smile and be glad you’re in one of the friendliest cities in the world. Welcome to Memphis. Have a good time.


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