Friday, June 24, 2011

Get Rowdy!

7 AM, Parking Lot outside Pete's Knoxville, Two Crazy Girls
Once again, the city offers surprises if you are willing to look. This one, like this one before came virtually begging on my doorstep to be blogged. A certain Urban Woman noticed them first, as her morning schedule more closely matched theirs than my own. She told me they were very consistent - right about 7:00 AM in the corner parking lot at Union and Locust, beside the Daylight Building. She demanded to know what was going on and mentioned more than once that any self-respecting Urban Guy would be all over it.
Two guys join two girls for cheers and Dancing, Knoxville, June 2011
Is there anything more creepy than an old man with a camera waiting on a street corner at 7:00 AM with no apparent purpose at hand? Probably not. People passed, nodded, spoke briefly. Time passed as I sipped my coffee and wondered if that Urban Woman had set me up. I noticed a couple of girls exiting Pete's Coffee shop and entering the parking lot walking, I presumed, to their car where indeed they paused.
And then there were five . . .
Then they stepped into the open area of the parking lot and began clapping. Next they circled one another and cheered. I caught the single phrase, "Get Rowdy." I'm taking their picture and thinking, "Well, this is it," when they are joined by two young men, then three more girls. Eventually all seven are a blur of motion, waving their hands to the sky, getting low to the ground and bursting upward into the air, then dancing around their circle once more.
Do the Funky Chicken, Downtown Knoxville, June 2011
By this time, I'm feeling the spirit and I'm certain others must be, as well, but then I notice they have not attracted a similarly rowdy crowd. No one is gathered to find out what's happening. People, in fact, are passing by as they walk their dogs or leave for work and acting as if they don't see these maniacal young people leaping, laughing and frolicking about in the parking lot! I guess we are trying very hard to be a big city and act as if nothing phases our big city selves.

Kickin' High, Reachin' Up, Gettin' Rowdy
They finally spent their spirit and gave each other a big group hug before breaking up. I walked over to offer a bit of an explanation regarding the photography and the blog, hoping they wouldn't be upset or bothered by the fact that they were about to become semi-famous at my hands. Quite the contrary, they offered to join for one final photograph as a group, which I happily took.

People pass like this is normal parking lot behavior.
Anyone who reads this blog knows that I'm excited for downtown Knoxville to turn in to a real city. Still, the part of a big city that looks straight ahead and doesn't make eye contact or ask any questions betraying the least bit of curiosity doesn't really appeal to me. I love that the city can surprise me and I greatly enjoy when it does. It's also thanks to this blog that I would approach them and ask questions since my natural inclination is to be somewhat reserved. For that I thank you, my readers, for giving me the excuse to stick my nose about!

Jumpin' in for the final hug.
Oh, what were they doing? Getting fired up for their long day going door-to-door selling books for Southwestern Books. I've always thought that has to be one of the worst summer jobs ever. Maybe it just seemed that way to me because I tend to be a bit more introverted. In any case, here they are on the city street many miles from their respective homes, with a job I would hate, getting rowdy. I could use a little of that. Couldn't we all?
The Original Cast from Get Rowdy! Knoxville, June 2011

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At June 24, 2011 at 10:39 AM , Anonymous Cathy Tyner said...


At June 24, 2011 at 11:22 AM , Blogger Knoxville Urban Guy said...

My thought precisely! I love positive energy. There is soooo much of the other kind to go around.

At June 24, 2011 at 3:15 PM , Anonymous Art said...

Apparently, Southwest Books may not be the wholesome "positive energy" source that you think. A bit of research online will reveal a lot of disillusioned former participants some of whom liken the "contractor" arrangement to a cult, and a worst, a scam.

Dancing in a parking lot to get into the proper frame of mind to do a 12 hour day of door-to-door sales may seem innocuous, but it may just be a tad more than meets the eye.

At June 24, 2011 at 3:35 PM , Blogger Knoxville Urban Guy said...

Ah Art,

You darn realist, you. I've heard the same sort of thing before regarding the grueling hours and extremely difficult hours with little chance for real payoff. I'm certainly not promoting or endorsing the company. I'm just admiring youth in its exhuberance in the face of an onerous or even impossible job.

My hope would be that character is being built and lessons learned regarding how to treat people when you are in the position of power. Still, wouldn't we admire Sisyphus all the more if he "Got Rowdy" before pushing that stone?

At June 27, 2011 at 8:36 AM , Blogger Cindy Ellison said...

A great post, I agree with both you and Art. I, too, Googled Southwest Books. One positive thought is the hope of lessons learned.


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