Embedded with the Dems: Seeing Bluegrass
Written by Bwog Staff
Bwog editor Lydia DePillis hitched a ride with the College Democrats on their annual campaign trip. Her dispatches follow, wireless permitting.
LEXINGTON, Ky.–We’ve touched down in the South, and my minivan might as well have been a spaceship for the distance I feel like we’ve traveled in the last 18 hours. The sun rose and set on the road as we hopped from gas station to gas station, as the population grew in tattoo to tooth ratio with every passing mile.
“I want to see southerners! Where are they?” one girl yelled as kids getting lunch poured out of the various eating establishments at a barren strip mall somewhere deep in Maryland.
We rolled into Lexington as the sun was fading, dumping our stuff at a bare-bones Econolodge–right next to Spearmint Rhino Gentleman’s Club and the simply named Waffle House–before piling back into the vans for a quick pit stop at the Beshear campaign headquarters. An advance group of CU Dems had been there for most of the day already, making up the canvassing routes for tomorrow and raking leaves from the parking lot in preparation for a rally with the man himself in the morning.
Then through the student ghetto of Lexington to the Tolly-Ho, perhaps one of the most wonderful dining establishments I have yet to visit. Imagine Tom’s, but larger, darker, with detailed murals on the walls, and no single item over $5.00. The Tolly-Ho’s signature meal is the Ho and its variations, the Super Ho and the Mega Ho, which are basically like burgers–but Kentuckian.
The staff of the Tolly-Ho shifted into high gear to handle the flood of decidedly New Yorkish young people who suddenly formed a line extending out the door. One kid, pants sagging and sporting a wavy ‘do under his UK hat, asked “Are you being serious? This is like Christmas!”
We sent UK kid to the front of the line, and later a few Dems recounted to me a conversation they had struck up with him over dinner. According to UK kid, students at the university do three things: have sex, get drunk, and watch football. They also have only about 30 minutes of homework per day, and about half the freshman class gets Ds and Fs.
“You guys speak like 10 languages, right?” he asked them. “This is Kentucky. People barely speak English.” UK kid, who’s from Cleveland, says the key to blending in is speaking really slowly and pretending you’re on painkillers.
We left, sated and tired. Tomorrow, painkillers are going to come in handy.