Thursday, September 25, 2014


I'm having a bit of a love/hate relationship with Nashville at the moment. Or maybe it's more love/fear. Which they say is actually the opposite of love. Turns out hate is just fear in disguise...

Anyway. Nashville. It's so hot right now. And it has been for a while. It's been years since I could open a magazine or scroll through an Internet feed without seeing Music City USA all dressed up and on parade.

from Country Living

At first it was kinda cool. I mean, who doesn't want to see the home they love getting the attention it deserves? (Especially since I grew up in Reno and only ever had Reno 911 to hang my hat on.) But it didn't take long before it felt like too much. And I definitely wasn't the only one who felt this way.

When The Hollywood Reporter published an article about Nashville from the A-listers point of view (Eat where the Kings of Leon eat! Go to yoga with Nicole Kidman!), the comments told you everything about Nashville you'll ever need to know.

This went on for pages. Hundreds and hundreds of comments and not one saying, "Nashville rules! Y'all should come here!" I loved it so much. But, unfortunately, it didn't work.

Nashville's popularity continues to grow. Which is good - I think - but it definitely worries me.

I can't walk down a street in my neighborhood without seeing construction. Little old houses are being torn down so big ugly duplexes can squeeze every last dollar per square foot out of the zip code. Cafes and restaurants and juice bars and shops are popping up everywhere you look. You have to drive single file down the street to avoid hitting parked cars and sometimes we can't even find a spot to park at our own house.

I recently started watching the show Nashville (I'm always a bit behind the curve on stuff like this) so I totally get what all the fuss is about. It looks good on TV. Really good. And now that I'm paying attention, I realize that there is filming going on all around me all the time. Our neighborhood is practically a sound stage! I have no idea how I missed it before...

Just now for instance. I dropped the boys off at their art and music class and came over to Bongo Java to try to write (I'm feeling really uninspired at the moment but have to write something so my creative juices don't completely dry up...). As I was pulling up I realized there was nowhere to park which just kills me. Then I realized there were orange cones everywhere which I now know means there's a film crew nearby.

So now I'm sitting here, drinking some tea and typing away, watching extras walk and re-walk down the street right in front of me (thanks for the inspiration, Nashville!). It's super fun and cool but really weird at the same time. I almost want to poke my head out to see if I can tell what they're filming but the Nashvillian in me would NEVER.

And that's what I worry about. Will Nashville stay Nashville? Or will the TMZs of the world eff it all up? And if we keep building duplexes and condos and luring people here but we don't have the infrastructure to make it work (like, oh, I don't know... a school system that isn't completely broken), how long will it take to fall apart?

I say this as someone who left Reno right before the bubble burst. We left because it felt...unsustainable. And it was. The first time we went back to visit it was so sad. And its had to continue to fight its way back ever since. This feels a little bit different - the growth makes sense - but it still feels like too much too soon.

I guess if I'm honest, I just don't want Nashville to change. I love it the way it is. I love watching all the kids on our block grow up together, one Sunday S'mores at a time.

I love the people, the spirit, the soul.  I love that the bearded hipster film crew held the door for me when I got to the cafe this morning. I love that Connie Britton could walk in here right now to get a coffee and NO ONE would even think about bothering her. (Except me. But it's totally different - we're practically friends!)

I love that my boys feel like every inch of Nashville belongs to them.

I love that Nashville is getting lots of attention but I hope it doesn't go to its head. I hope we continue to know that what gives our homes value is not the price per square foot but the people inside. I hope we stop building condos and start fixing schools. I hope we think long and hard before tearing down what makes us special. I hope we don't let being Nashville turn us into something we don't recognize.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this thoughtful blog post. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the US continues to grow at a rapid rate. This is why I tell my friends, hey, could we cut our immigration rate just a teeny weeny bit? If we don't cut it just a teeny weeny bit, we will continue to experience more construction, more traffic, etc. etc.