Puppy Chow and How I Have Learned To Love The South

Puppy Chow

My adult moment this week involved a canned wine spritzer, a service dog named Dotty, and a stranger. All of those things, including the adult moment, took place at the hair salon I visit monthly for (non sexual) human contact, beard trimmings, and now canned wine spritzers. 

As is my nature I arrived early to this month's hair cut. It's a familiar place decorated with old North Carolina barn wood, taxidermied moose, a foosball table, foul language, leather chairs, and a service dog named Dotty asleep in the corner. Located in an old store front just one block off main street and next to a strip club that only opens when the owner feels it is time to piss off the local chamber.

Upstairs is a lounge for special customers. A pieced together room of antique store finds and flat paneled technology of the future. Leather sofas line one wall. A card table in the corner. Tobacco memorabilia on the wall that still somehow works as advertising. You cannot help but feel like a club member of a bygone era. This sweaty afternoon it was host to two older men in bermuda shorts, the air of cigar, and a dirty joke. After they left I was warned one of them likes to kiss everyone in the room on the forehead as he leaves if he's had just the right amount of whiskey.  

A stranger to me was getting his haircut as I waited. A young man who spoke with a tired voice. He was going on about the struggles of fatherhood and the arrival of a third child. Without hesitations and with the swiftness of her shears the hairdresser doled out encouragement and advice. Assuring the young man it would all work out in the end. The best of her advice being a story about her own mother raising three kids with the story ending with, "I'm pretty sure she beat the ass of that day care lady that day. And we never went back to daycare again. I love my momma." 

It was at that moment as I sat canned wine spritzer in hand that I thought how lucky I was to be here today. Though unfortunate as that young man's story is, it added to the colorful narrative of my life in The South. 

This week I have learned of the hooker who worked out of the local waffle house that burned down. Word is she has taken up residence in a neighboring town's waffle house. I have had a glass of wine with a former debutante, while discussing her conservative views and fear of Donald Trump. I have watched a soccer match in a bar full of scarf wearing transplants. I participated in a nerve wracking game of credit card roulette where the loser buys the entire round for all participating. I listened in on a heated debate about where to buy the best chili and slaw for a cookout (only if God forbid you cannot make it yourself). 

I have somehow stumbled into a mash up world of Steel Magnolias/In The Garden of Good and Evil. I am a John Kelso from up North waiting with baited breath for the next Lady Chablis to turn the corner. I am eager to sit next to Clariee in hopes to hear about latest neighborhood gossip. I have my beard trimmed by a modern day Truvy. 

But deep down my inner (and  let's face it sometimes outer) pudgy gay boy only heard one thing while at the hair salon that day. Dotty the service dog somehow got into some store bought "puppy chow" and did it not agree with her. So canned wine spritzer in hand I made the mental note of "pick up Rice Chex at the grocery store tomorrow Benjamin. It's a binge worthy weekend." 

Chex Muddy Buddies (sometimes called...)

Recipe by General Mills