Every Sunday, I get into my 18-year-old car and speed into the setting sun on I-64, listening to whichever station my broken antennae will pick up (usually country), until the music fades to a crackle and I find myself scanning for anything bearable as I prepare myself for the rolling hills to part and make room for the sight of the tallest building in Kentucky outside of Louisville—the 32-floor “Big Blue” Fifth Third Bank tower, the marker which indicates I’m almost home. My part-time home, that is—Lexington.
You see, I thought I had been dealt the world’s sickest joke when an employer at a great institution called to offer me a job in Lexington. I was unemployed and new to Kentucky after a 7-year hiatus. And as much as I hated giving up my dreams of living by the mighty Ohio River, I couldn’t not take the money, or as they say, “the opportunity.” So I subscribed myself to a suitcase lifestyle.
Too stubborn to stay in Lexington on the weekends to build a new life I didn’t exactly ask for, I drive home to live out of my parents refrigerator.
This weekend, however, after a tiring holiday drinking and eating spree, I was thrilled when a girlfriend called to suggest we take a break from the “everyone knows everything about you” Louisville scene to party like strangers in Lexington.
She showed up at my apartment with another favorite buddy and they joined me and ESPN3 on my couch, where I had been quarantined by Cat’s fans with texts like, “There are a billion TVs but I don’t think they’ll play Louisville. It’s packed full of UK fans” — to which I responded with a litany of unlady-like phrases and by drinking my roommate’s beer.
Two-overtimes later, I was ready to forget about my boys in red, and stepped out into the heart of Cat Country.