So we took a left at the Big Chicken and found the tractor supply store. The place smelled like rubber and there was more contractor-grade stuff than a cement-mixer convention. Suddenly, Alex zoomed in on something: “Look, a salt lick,” she said. “Thanks, but my blood pressure’s high enough from this move.” “Just think of the cute deer we could attract,” she said, ignoring my joke.
Alex is the type who would love to watch nature shows if they’d just show a semi-circle of life– the cute part of the circle, with lion cubs running around roughhousing, not the part where they have to eat. She was a beach girl, but I knew a little about the way of the deer. “They’ll eat all our plants,” I offered. “There’s a whole forest of stuff in our back yard, why would they eat our plants?” “I don’t know, maybe decorative plants taste better?” A guy in a Carhartt jacket and camouflage Atlanta Braves cap shook his head in disbelief at our banter. “Deer are like large rats far as I’m concerned,” the man said as he leaned over and grabbed a salt lick to add to his cart of shotgun shells and other hunting paraphernalia. Alex watched him roll away and sighed heavily, “but Bambi…”
With a brand new, half-priced, garden wagon in our car (no salt lick) we made our way back past the Big Chicken and towards our new home. It was summer here in Atlanta, which was a little different than summers in LA, or any of the beach towns that Alex had lived in previously—at least you get an ocean breeze at the beach. Hotlanta doesn’t explain it fully: humid, sticky, moist-towelette, wet-blanketlanta is more like it. And this particular day was in between moist-towelette and wet-blanket.
I was reaching for the air-conditioning button to turn it to eleven, when Alex slapped my hand and pointed to something along the road. It was a church sign that read, “Think its Hot Here, Wait ‘til You Get to Hell!” Poor Alex probably thought she was already there, what with the Bambi-killers and all.