I reside in airports and hotels approximately 50% of the year. It’s the sort of life that isn’t for everyone, but if you enjoy observing the culture at large, it is pretty damn entertaining. I’d like to take you along for a ride with my new segment here on the Carelle blog.
I’m reporting live from Birmingham, Alabama. I like to pronounce it the way the English do, with a silent “h” because Tommy Shelby (so dreamy!), from Peaky Blinders says it that way and he can do no wrong. It’s fun to say it out loud: “Birming-UM” (English) and then “Birmin-HAM” (Alabamian). Traveling has allowed me to take inventory on American dialects and I now consider myself a semi-professional armchair linguist. This Alabama city was named after England’s second largest city (I just looked that up), so I think that’s the right way to say it, so as you read along, say it that way in your mind. “Birming-UM”, right-o.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham is central to the town’s culture—people love their college sports. I wore a red and blue dress the last time I visited and 3 different people inquired if I was wearing it because I was an Ole Miss fan… Just in case you’re wondering, I’m not into sports whatsoever. I made a New Year’s Resolution a few years ago that I would “stop pretending to like sports”, after I spent a small fortune for mediocre seats at a Lakers-Knicks game as a birthday present to my ungrateful then-boyfriend who informed me that he was already invited to sit courtside for free. Yes, I’m still resentful. I opt for a sports-neutral navy velvet and lace dress and cross my fingers that I am not offending any local teams.
Carelle is sold at the Saks Fifth Avenue store at the Summit mall. When I tell my driver to take me to Saks, he thinks I’m saying “socks”. This happens more often than you might think. I get to the store for a morning meeting and I feel like I’m at a high school pep rally. Woo! People are dancing, music is blaring, and everyone is so hyped up. Woo! I’m ready to pour a cooler of Gatorade on someone—that’s how excited I am! The store manager is part coach, part motivational speaker and has the entire store chanting “I will attack the day with an insatiable desire unknown to mankind”. It’s like a scene out of Dead Poet’s Society and I’m about to break into “O Captain, My Captain” and jump and do a herkie at the same time.
I mean, how do you top that? I bring in an assortment of pastries from a local bakery called “Magic Muffins”, which has, without question, the yummiest blueberry muffin tops. They deserve some Michelin stars, STAT. The muffins are indeed magical (what’s really in them?) and the mood is exciting as we attack the day with an insatiable desire unknown to mankind. I still can’t believe I remembered that? Is that Walt Whitman too? Woo!
I meet some cool cats throughout the day—it’s almost Valentine’s day, so the romantic Brummies (a person from Birmingham according to Google) are on the hunt for the perfect gifts. I meet a handsome pastor who should be an inspiration to the entire male species. He tells me he got his wife a Range Rover for Valentine’s Day and that special gifts were the secret to his 13 years of marriage. TAKE NOTE, PEOPLE. Special gifts! Especially jewelry! Specifically, Carelle jewelry! He should really get her the yellow gold Knot bangle with diamond trim. I didn’t forget. I know your wife wants it. For real.
Some really nice folks buy up our hard-to-get one-of-a-kind pieces and our latest Disco Dots collection pieces. People in Birmingham have #exquisite taste and very good manners. I love hearing the “yes ma’am” and “yes sir”, probably because I spent a good deal of my early life in the Deep South and it’s nostalgic—kind of like the balsomy smell of Breck shampoo.
I have dinner at Perry’s—not to be confused with Carelle’s very own gem genius Perry Regev. It’s a steakhouse chain famous for their pork chop, which is hands-down my favorite food as an ex-vegetarian. I have a romantic dinner for one at the bar.
I head back to my hotel for a nightcap since it’s only 7pm and I need to kill an hour before my HQ game comes on in the central time zone. The bartender is the most interesting, funniest, coolest young man (shout-out to my buddy Tray!) and we end up chatting and losing HQ.
I head up to bed for my self-imposed 9 o’clock curfew to watch Forensic Files. Did you know that there is actually a channel on hotel cable (that’s a thing, you know) that is dedicated to playing their episodes on loop with intermittent commercials for Life Alert. I recently discovered that I can watch all 15 seasons with 23 episodes each on Netflix without interruption and I’m really into it. I love that they implement 1991’s most state of the art technology, like DNA (what’s that?) and computers (whoa, the future!). It’s the opposite of Black Mirror yet somehow the anti-dystopian technologically-deprived past looks equally as scary as the future. Where’s Walt Whitman when you need him?
Til next time, Bama—it’s been fun!