The Scottish Inn

L1050260At the Scottish Inn in Memphis, I am handed a room key card and a menu for Marlowe’s Restaurant and Ribs in case I want a “pick up.” I look down at the menu and note that they offer, as well as the generous offer of pick up and delivery to the restaurant in a pink limo, “refreshing adult beverages.” I am partial to such beverages.

My room is bigger than my apartment, which, admittedly, is not difficult. In another unexpected deviation from my own personal living situation, this room is adorned with a frieze of clarinets, trumpets, saxophones and violins. Sure, I contemplated this motif for my home at one stage, but felt it was lacking in piccolos.

The Scottish Inn is not a place you’d choose specifically for its view. Beyond the forgotten construction site to the south there lies a drab stretch of title loans huts, car dealers’ lots and fast food prefabs. The pool is in a corner of the car park and has, as online reviews advised, a spectacular, grubby highway view. Having a swim there would be similar to settling down in a bikini in the midst of the refuse-strewn, straggly-grassed meridian. I find this strangely appealing. It’s hot and sticky and I’d love to swim, but I accept that it wouldn’t be the best decision I’ve ever made, though, without doubt, it wouldn’t be my all time worst. After all I did once think that starting a company making hand-painted snowglobes would provide a quick canter to financial success.

Attempts to get exercise vanquished, I locate the phone.L1050270

“Hello, I’d like to arrange to get picked up by the Pink Limo.”

There is silence. I think the phone has gone dead and, for some reason, shake it.

There is a slight creak at the other end. It’s the sound made when someone moves the phone into a more comfortable position and nestles down on the couch for a good long chat.

“Hello? Um… ”

“Ma’am…” comes a voice and then there’s silence once again.

“Hello, I’d like to arrange to get picked up by the Pink Limo.”

There’s nothing.

“I’m at the Scottish Inn.”

“Ma’am,” she repeats. A decade passes. “You’re going to need to slow down.”

In between her asking me to repeat where I’m staying and what time of pick up I would like, I have unpacked my bag, re-arranged the furniture, juggled my room’s meager allocation of coffee sachets and sketched out a few alternative piccolo-inclusive decorative borders. Life is definitely on a different speed setting in Tennessee.

“Just one person?”

“Just one.”

What feels like an eternity passes, but it’s just a Tennessee pause. It gives the impression that she’s really giving serious consideration to my request and dispensing wisdom.

Eventually she says, “Ow-kaayyyyy.”

I feel strangely grateful for her acquiescence. I decide that in an effort to sound all knowing and munificent I will pause, Tennessee-style, after all future questions.

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4 Responses to The Scottish Inn

  1. travelsportstar September 7, 2009 at 7:12 pm #

    The official Scottish national anthem is Flower of Scotland. It used to be Scotland the Brave until the 1950’s. I stay in the foxglove cottages in loch lomond. I love your header of chips and Haggis. brilliant

  2. thescottishambassador July 29, 2009 at 4:28 pm #

    Um, er, well, when I was at the Portland, Oregon, Highland Games for chapter 3, I was trying to work out what fabulous Scottish song was being sung as the Scottish national anthem. After an embarrassingly long time, one of my friends asked, Did she just sing, O Canada? She did.
    Scotland doesn’t really have an official anthem – but Scotland the Brave and Flower of Scotland are our usual choices for such occasions.

  3. Misslissa July 28, 2009 at 3:55 pm #

    This is hilarious! I’m curious… do you know the Scottish national anthem? Is there one? Better yet, can you sing it?

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