Obviously, she needed a guidebook to push her out of the house more often.
Page 2 of 3
Atlanta, by the guidebook
Iwas prepared for the Atlanta heat, which never materialized, but not for the traffic and parking woes, which gripped my car and never let go. “Moon” and “NFT” touched on the vehicular hassles, providing advice on parking lots and public transportation. (“Wallpaper” adherents either employ private drivers, or traffic parts for them.)
“NFT,” for example, explained how difficult it is to park at Oakland Cemetery, which was built in 1840, before the invasion of space-guzzling vehicles. Loath to leave the free and spacious lot at Grant Park, home of the Cyclorama and the zoo, I walked the mile to the historic burial ground.
The cemetery is a living history museum of the dead, housing the remains of such famous personalities as “Gone With the Wind” author Margaret Mitchell and Maynard Jackson, the city’s first African American mayor. The main objective of my pilgrimage, however, was to pay tribute to Joseph Jacobs, the pharmacist who introduced Coca-Cola to the world in 1887. Before entering the gates, I stopped into Ria’s Bluebird for a Diet Coke. I later learned that I should read before I do: According to my guidebooks, Ria’s serves smokin’ Southern cuisine and is a coveted brunch spot. (Says “Moon”: “The wait on weekends can be mind-boggling.” No lines, though, for a soda to go.)
On my way to see Jacobs in the Jewish section, I passed the forever slumbering legendary golf player Bobby Jones. A tour guide leading a passel of boys stood on a patch of grass littered with golf balls, a glove and a towel from a Scottish course.
Jacobs’s site was devoid of fan souvenirs. Two large urns flanked the simple white marble mausoleum; a locked iron gate protected his remains. I grabbed my bottle of soda, took a swig, then sprinkled the rest around his grave.
May your fridge be stocked with Coke for all eternity.
Maybe I trusted too much. Yet both “Moon” and “Wallpaper” touted the Thursday-night cocktail gatherings at the Museum of Design Atlanta. Free drinks with admission. Talks, too. Maybe I should have called first.
When I showed up, I saw an empty lobby and an employee with a shift-is-almost-over expression on his face. I saw no evidence of drinks or revelry. The front-desk guy told me that the event is held the last Thursday of every month. I was two weeks late or two weeks early, depending on your point of view. But I wasn’t going to retreat. I checked my sources and discovered that the High Museum of Art across the street was open till 8 p.m. Drinks, too.
The guidebooks deserted me on a few other occasions as well. Eighty Eight Tofu House, a 24-hour Asian vegetarian restaurant, was out of business, despite its mention on Page 321 of “NFT.” And the Red Light Cafe no longer hosts hip-hop shows, contrary to the description in “Moon.”
After a bluegrass show at Red Light, I mentioned to owner Ellen Chamberlain that my guidebook (second edition, printed 2012) listed the club as a hip-hop venue. Her expression soured as she explained that she frequently fields calls from people asking about the shows. Since she took over eight months ago, she has excised the musical genre from her lineup, instead focusing on Americana, folk and Southern front porch music, plus Empress tea parties. Message to “Moon”: You need to update.