Tuesday, March 30, 2010

On Consideration, Charlottesville is Awful Actually OK

J. Crew Model here. Rule 12(f) has asked for another “fiery screed” and since I’m easily talked into doing things, I’ve willingly obliged.  If you don’t like what I have to say, leave your phone number in the comments and we can work out a time to fight in D3.  Also, here is a fiery screed by Gucci Mane which kind of says what I’m after when I write with a penname. 
Anyway, this started as a column about how Charlottesville sucks.  Small town awfulness meets big city awfulness meets red-neck ignorance, blah blah blah.  However, I’ve reconsidered my opinion since starting it and will now include a couple ways in which Charlottesville doesn’t really suck so bad.

 Reasons Why Charlottesville is Awful
  • Traffic: Come on, you expected something different?  This is the first complaint anyone has about this place and it’s as good a place to start as any.  Is there a basketball game happening at JPJ?  You sit in traffic forever.  Is there a Metallica concert happening at JPJ?  You sit in traffic forever.  Do you want to go to Wal-Mart?  You sit in traffic forever.  Is it Friday afternoon?  You sit in traffic forever.  Is it a random Wednesday at 3:00?  You sit in traffic forever.  Seriously, WTF?  Who are all these people and why are they on the road 15 hours a day?  I’ve tried looking into cars to get a sense of my fellow drivers and get a sense of where they might be going that would explain their presence on the road.  But no good leads.  Barracks Road Shopping Center seems to be a big destination for reasons unknown. 
  • Food industry types: Once upon a time when we were children, we wanted our own way all the time.  If something didn’t go our way, we would pout and cry and whine – anything to get that desired thing.  When we realized that thoughtfulness got us better results, we switched to empathizing and stuff.  As a result, we’ve become culturally conditioned to try to be nice, be sociable, and to avoid conflict.  This extends not just to personal relationships, but to waiters, waitresses, bartenders, and the like.  “Hey, I see you’re swamped and you’re nice and you’re trying, so I won’t ask for as many refills and I’ll let slide you forgot my extra dressing and I’ll still tip 20%” – that kind of thing.  But here in Charlottesville, you can’t think that way because that’s how the miserable food industry people take advantage of you.  They want you to be happy with any kind of effort they put in, no matter how pathetic.  “I need to have powwow time with my waiter buddy.  And then I’m going to text for awhile and come see if you guys need anything every half hour or so.  Because I’m busy and stuff.”  Really guys?  That’s what you think?  Because here I was, thinking I was (1) paying for my dinner/drinks and (2) paying your salary. 
Reasons Charlottesville is Actually Pretty Cool
  • Mas: Just when I thought Charlottesville restaurants were beyond saving, I discover Mas.  I’d been periodically before this year, so maybe I should say recently “affirmed my love for” Mas.  This place is freaking awesome.  The tapas culture unfortunately hasn’t caught on in the US, but I’m a fan.  You get messed up on sangria or wine and enjoy some delicious late dinner with your homeboys and best girl(s).  The bacon wrapped dates are divine (just trust me and get the ration size); the spinach artichoke dip with bread is fantastic, as is the ham and cheese platter.  Don’t come here if you’re feeling broke or pressed for time.  I usually arrive at 10:00 and get seated 30-45 minutes later.  A large pitcher and enough food for 2-3 people will run $30-40 a person.  But don’t get it twisted: this place is worth every second and dollar.  You leave full of delicious food and toasted enough to have to call a cab to the bars.  Plus, for the same dough you can get dinner at Applebee’s and a round of drinks.  Mas FTW!
  • Outdoor activities: Spring happened, Mt. Chipotle is melting, and the temperature has inched its way above 60 several times since the end of the “Aughts” (working nickname for the 2000s).  Therefore, time to dust off your boots and running shoes and get out there.  Besides Michigan, UVA Law is the only law school among its peer institutions that isn’t located in a major city.  So since you’re not spending your 3L year at Columbia interning at the UN full time, you might as well get an adequate outdoor education.  Some quick suggestions (and please add some in the comments):
  1. Ragged Mountain Trail (http://ivycreekfoundation.org/raggedmountain.html) – A very solid 4-5 mile trail located literally just south of Charlottesville on Fontaine.  It has everything – hills, outdoorness, water, strange old structures.  No joke – all you need is 2 hours and you’ve got yourself an instant outdoor adventure. 
  2. Rivanna Trail (http://rivanna.avenue.org/) – Literally circles the entire city and an excellent choice for a quick escape from Charlottesville’s traffic industry.  Picks up everywhere, including right near the law school at the Park. 
  3. Shenandoah National Park (http://www.nps.gov/shen/index.htm)  - This is a little more ambitious and requires some entry fees, but there’s trails galore and some excellent driving (bring the Porsche if you have one).  You’ll get some truly stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and get the trippy factor of hiking on the Appalachian Trail.
  4. Gauley River Whitewater Rafting – Not necessarily close and not for the faint of heart.  Located near Fayetteville West Virginia, “Gauley Season” starts the weekend after Labor Day and lasts for 22-ish days.  Here’s a pretty good explanation of how it works. http://www.songerwhitewater.com/raftingblog/how-gauley-river-season-works  I went a couple years ago and got my ass kicked – our raft flipped (nobody can prove it was my fault by the way) and I navigated a class 5 rapid riding nothing but my life vest and my pounding heart.  Bottom line - if you make the 3 hour drive and come ready to face some seriously wicked rapids, I guarantee you’ll have a good time.   


FFJ said...

Yea, Mas is good.

Anonymous said...

This is insufferably whiny. Charlottesville's a nice town. If you don't like it, transfer to Duke -- enjoy Durham.

Anonymous said...

Why did a post saying traffic isn't that bad get deleted?

Rule 12 (f) said...

Didn't get deleted on purpose. There was glitch on posting this one (it was under the wrong moniker) that caused all of the comments before this morning to get deleted. Sorry about that.

Anonymous said...

I endorse whitewater rafting on the Gauley. Did it last fall and it was awesome! Almost died a couple times though.