My teenager has been playing on a competitive soccer team now for about 5 years. As for me, I never played the game much less understood the concept of running around for over an hour to win or lose 1-0 and never legally hitting anyone...but then again, I spent my teenage years banging my head into other teenagers playing the football spelled with two o's.
Point goes to the current day teenager.
Playing on a travelling team has allowed us to play in soccer tournaments in other cities and take in the 'best of' what the host town offers. This past weekend was a revisit to the city of Asheville, North Carolina. Our prior visit a year ago was somewhat limited by an eleven month old in tow, so this year Mrs. Tony C wanted to experience the cultured downtown area on a weekend evening and expose our girls to a taste of the artsy side.
Now, I know some of you are trying to wrap your head around the words North Carolina, cultured, and artsy all in the same sentence, but downtown Asheville has really emerged as a mixing grounds of artist, musicians, locals and tourist...at least according to a visitor website I looked up.
Mrs. Tony C (reading from tourist brochure): Asheville skipped the urban renewal process that stripped the character from many down towns...
Tony C: Sounds eclectic (eye roll).
Mrs. Tony C: I'll bet the buildings are really old and beautiful. Didn't you always want to be an architect?
Tony C: Actually that's George Costanza...I wanted to be an astronaut...
Mrs. Tony C: Astronaut...architect...whatever. Sounds like an excellent place to expose the girls to a different cultural environment.
Tony C: So is a NASCAR race, but...
Mrs. Tony C: Tony! Don't start! We have an obligation in the educational process of our girls. We'll go downtown after the second game and walk around. I heard there's a great pizza place called the Mellow Mushroom downtown....sound okay?
Tony C: Sounds fantastically stoner...
Mrs. Tony C: Tony!
Point goes to Mrs. Tony C.
After conducting a drive-by to check out the downtown scene, I found a relatively close parking spot because it was still early. Navigating the 'renewed' streets of the downtown area was quite interesting and using the GPS on my Blackberry was no help. Finding our dining destination would require my innate sense of navigation....good thing I was along.
So we wondered around aimlessly in the downtown area while I tried to orient my internal compass for over an hour. Along the way, our girls were definitely exposed to a new cultural experience that included new vocabulary words, public marijuana smoking, three exposed breast, an impromptu phallic sculpture, and a crack ho...well...okay, I didn't actually see the crack, but she left no doubt about the ho part.
Point goes to Mrs. Tony C. (for educational experience).
Teenager: Is that art dad? (Pointing at street performer painted white head to toe)
Tony C: That's performance art dear.
Teenager: Is that art? (Pointing to sculpture of old junk parts)
Mrs. Tony C: That's welding metal art.
Tony C: A.K.A. lowbrow... (Hateful glance from Mrs. Tony C)
Teenager: A.K.A? What's that? Hey...is that art?
Tony C: A.K.A...also known as...and no, that's a lady breastfeeding...don't stare.
It was about this time I gave up on my internal GPS and asked directions from a lady with more facial piercings than I would have believed humanly possible. We were actually only a block or so away from the Mellow Mushroom...which turned out to be a pretty good place to eat. I was just a little paranoid about the green on top of our pizza, but turns out it was actually just oregano.
Point to Mrs. Tony C.
The walk back to the car was a pretty quick pace...especially when stuffed with pizza and soda. The near two-year old was completely worn out from a day in the sun, as was the teenager from a day on the field. I suddenly realized there were very few other people with strollers...very few...and all of them had the same look of astonishment I'm sure that adorned mine and my wife's face. Just before leaving the happening downtown area, we crossed one last performing artist. A well proportioned young lady in only a golden bodysuit and bright, white wig frozen in place.
Tony C: Remember what that's called?
Teenager: Performing art?
Tony C: Yes it is...let's give her a dollar and see what she does.
Mrs. Tony C: Tony! (real hateful glare)
Tony C: Second thought, let's get to the car before it gets dark...
Shut out once again.