Misfit: Asheville is going to the dogs

Abigail Hickman

BY ABIGAIL HICKMAN

I’ve been feeling decidedly uncool and disconnected from my little city of Asheville. For one thing, I’m not young, and Asheville is a city for and of youth. In a population of almost 88,000, 25.6 percent are between 19 and 29. Asheville’s 29-year-olds entered the world not long after Motorola introduced the first mobile phone, and its 19-year-olds were birthed around the time telecommuting took off. By the time those babies turned 1, Google was flowing into their homes like mother’s milk.

I, meanwhile, was born into a house with a wall-mounted phone sprouting a long, curly cord, enabling us to walk up to 6 feet away. The Montgomerys across the street were the first in the neighborhood to buy a microwave oven. We used to say “oven” after “microwave.” Many of the local children were told to keep their distance from that property. I heard my mom say more than once that she was afraid my brother would become sterile from the “radioactive microwaves” floating across the street from the Montgomerys’ microwave into our house. We had three channels on our TV, all of which played the national anthem at midnight, with an American flag waving on the screen. At the end of the song, the station would go off the air, leaving only the poltergeist static to stand guard until morning.

No, I am not young and would not succeed in fitting in to Asheville by pretending to be so.

For a brief time, I considered getting a tattoo so I could feel more connected to my people. Tattoos seem to be the great age equalizer in Asheville: They’re not just for the kids anymore. The Asheville Yellow Pages (it’s something old people use) lists 30 tattoo parlors within the city limits. They seem forbidding places, with names like Man’s Ruin — and those are the ones with permits. Many tattoo artists work out of their homes or else in dark backrooms with a Bob Marley poster on the wall and a puddle of stagnant water festering in the bottom of a neon-colored bong.

Still, any casual Asheville street panorama will reveal tatted arms and necks and bellies proudly on display. These graven images become a talking point, a way to interact and connect with our neighbors. People like to discuss them, gushing over their originality and ingenuity.

“This butterfly represents my rebirth,” I heard a cashier tell a customer yesterday at a local grocery chain (the kind where old people shop because we can’t understand the store layout at Trader Joe’s or Greenlife.) Her name tag said “Willow,” but I didn’t believe it. She was of a generation close to mine, when people were still cautious and practical about names. I figured her for a Jennifer or a Pam.

Willow was eager to talk about her creation, explaining that the butterfly was her own original design. I had to roll my eyes at that. She didn’t create the original design for a butterfly: God did. Jesus, everybody knows that!

Willow told the customer that the blue on the wings symbolized the blue sky, which symbolized her ability to fly. But the arm that carried the butterfly was definitely too old for her Peter Pan-and-Wendy aspirations, and I felt embarrassed for her. The skin around the blue butterfly was angry. It was hot red, and both the insect and the surrounding area had been smeared with vaseline or something that reminded me of the shiny seagulls after the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Nonetheless, the woman attached to that arm expressed true affection for her new tattoo.

The customer seemed to share Willow’s enthusiasm, chatting happily about intricate artwork and using words like “depth” and “tone” while unloading her groceries from the cart. I guess she must have known what she was talking about, because her own arm was covered with what appeared to have been lifted from one of the River Arts District’s graffiti-covered bridges. She briefly stopped unloading to hold out her arm for the cashier to admire, telling Willow she’d been working on her “sleeve” for two years. Each little illustration and squiggly line meant something special to her.

Meanwhile, Willow was showing such enraptured interest that I began to fear the customer was going wax eloquent over each and every symbol, from her wrist to her unshaven armpit. I had a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food up on the belt that was looking like it might undergo a chemical change from solid to liquid before Willow remembered that her oil-laden butterfly arm had a job to do. So I gave the universal impatience signal, a little fake cough, and she snapped back to scanning the customer’s groceries.

But getting a tattoo to feel a part of things would never work for me. Not because of the needle thing, or the market saturation that makes a mockery of the idea that this is a way to express your originality, but because my brain is already crowded with indelible memories: I don’t want to give them space on my skin as well.

Tattoos, though, aren’t the only thing every second person in Asheville seems to own. What about dogs? I see them sitting on people’s laps as they drive their cars, lying on patios licking scraps from plates at popular restaurants and even, on one occasion, shopping at Lowe’s. On the days when my husband, Simeon, succeeds in luring me outside for a walk with a promise of chips and salsa afterward, we run into all manner of dogs, and not just in the citified Carrier Park. I let him take me to the wilder parts of Bent Creek as well; in both places, many owners let their dogs run free. I have a healthy fear of animals: wild and unreasonable creatures that would happily chew on my forearm, paying not the least attention to the cat tattoo I might have gotten precisely to ward off such snacking.

So I always jump behind my husband when we run into one of those rogue dog owners who carry the leash rolled up like a lasso, leaving Bear or Roxy free to snarl, unfettered, at my juicy looking ankles. Simeon has promised me, on hundreds of occasions, to break the neck of any dog that attempts to attack me. But this is clearly braggadocio, because he stands guilty of having owned two Chihuahuas that he treated like porcelain baby dolls. When we first met, I sometimes feared I might find a baby bottle among his dishes for midnight doggy feedings.

Those dog owners who recognize my alarm tend to offer me a cheeky grin. “Oh, Mr. Whiskers wouldn’t hurt a fly,” they breezily assert, chasing after their little dear like a nanny pursuing a naughty 2-year-old who’s wielding a bloody ax with an eyeball stuck to the blade. And Asheville has, quite literally, gone to the dogs: We have 49 pet shops in our town. Meanwhile, the Chamber of Commerce lists only seven Mexican restaurants. This makes me question the city’s priorities, though these restaurants probably serve their nachos to dogs as well. So perhaps there’s still hope. But there’s absolutely no hope for me as a dog owner. I simply can’t picture a world where I carry a poodle in one arm, to spare Annabelle from having to use her little poodle legs, and a small blue bag of her indiscretions in the other.

Nonetheless, I remain determined to find a way to feel more a part of our city. I asked Yahoo Answers for some good things to do in Asheville, and it told me to “go downtown and pick up a Mountain Xpress.” Exactly.

Abigail Hickman lives in Weaverville. Her book This, That and the Third is due out in July.

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About Abigail Hickman
Abigail teaches English at A-B Tech and is happily nestled into a Weaverville neighborhood. She enjoys eating Ben and Jerry's ice cream directly from the container.

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82 thoughts on “Misfit: Asheville is going to the dogs

  1. Asheville native

    “I remain determined to find a way to feel more a part of our city.”

    I would advise doing some things “outside” the downtown area. Downtown is becoming more and more touristy and does not necessarily reflect all of what Asheville is about. Volunteer, get out on a trail and visit the surrounding communities that make up this area…unless, of course, you enjoy limited parking, over-priced food and a hotel crowd every 500 feet. The best part of this area are the mountains, not downtown.

    • The Real World

      Excellent advice, I concur.
      I’ll be visiting Flat Rock on Mon for a Folk Music Festival. All part of the greater metro to be enjoyed.

      NFB is right too. Boy, there’s an awful lot of gray hair in this “youthful” town.

    • atmosphere

      You’re giving advice to a tourist about how to take over the rest of the world. Great job?

    • boatrocker

      Agreed. Much like Bill Maher can eviscerate both the right and left, so can posters agree on this point.

  2. NFB

    “For one thing, I’m not young, and Asheville is a city for and of youth.”

    Which I guess must explain all the retirees living here and the hoards moving here to join them.

  3. dimoon

    41% of the population of Asheville is over 45. If you want to feel more a part of Asheville, how about accepting everyone as they are? More love, less judgement.

    • yea, probably one of the “uncoolest” things to do in asheville is trying to marginalize people…for? liking tattoos and dogs?

    • HuskyDad

      AMEN! She almost lost me with pinning the evolution of a butterfly solely God (maybe it was sarcasm), but I kept chugging on waiting to read anything about dogs only to find intense criticism, calling her out by name! I’d be embarrassed if I wrote that article… Complete opposite of the friendly Asheville mindset I thought it was known for. Dog is my copilot, I shall not want!

      From someone who has both a dog and tattoos, I don’t promote quote or word tattoos (because why can’t you just remember it), but in your case mrs. Hickman, getting “Empathy” done might be appropriate.

    • Willow

      Ok I’m glad I’m not the only one who read this and felt this way.

        • Willow

          Not the Willow from her judgemental, rude, self absorbed article but I am Willow lol

  4. xPress

    You don’t have a tattoo of a wall-hanging telephone yet? Shame! lol

  5. atmosphere

    Your picture is taken from a planned apartment in Biltmore Park Town Square, ™ (R) (Cecil/Vanderbilt). Probably the must yuppity place in the entire city. You can’t complain about not fitting in when you are actively trying to be as square as possible, yo.

  6. Honestly, you should move. Why stay in a place that makes you miserable? You wouldn’t have written an entire article if you weren’t. So what’re you waiting for? You need to move from here and start anew.

    • Can’t handle an opinion that differs from yours? It’s humor fool. Try laughing at yourself every once in a while. She’s writing about tatts and dogs, and you’re gonna run her out of town for this?

      • Ellen

        Good point. It’s valuable to consider all views, take ’em or leave ’em — but we shouldn’t be unkind.

  7. Stwve

    I love this town. We’ve grown up here, love the city…. and I can’t agree with you more.

    I’ll be 30 this year, and so will my wife, and it’s nice to read some different perspective so as not to live in an echoing chamber of agreement and single mindedness.

    True diversity graciously allows dissenting opinions as opportunity for love and discourse. Bravo.

    • Yep

      … agreed but they do NOT like diversity of opinion around here at all…it’s called intolerance, usually by the ‘progressives’.

  8. Liz

    I’m sorry you feel a little out of place. It’s definitely a different town than it was 30 years ago. I guess I’m also one of the outliers. I’m almost 60 yrs old, a military veteran, haven’t gotten a tattoo yet, have cats and dogs, look like a middle aged housewife, and am decidedly middle class. But Asheville is definitely my happy place. The small town atmosphere with big city amenities is perfect. Great bookstores, a thriving craft economy, outdoor recreation that other places envy, good colleges, beautiful scenery, nice people. I’ve lived all over the world and chose to return here when I finished traveling. Thanks to Ashevillains this town is still weird-friendly-cool-fun. So join in. Open up to new ideas. I really hope you can find/make your own happy place here. It’s one of the few towns where that’s possible. Cheers!

  9. Michael Beech

    Wow, it must be difficult to be so old in a young body! At 64 when we decided to move back to the mountains from the coast we picked Asheville because of the diversity represented by the tattoo’s (haven’t gotten one yet myself) and drum circle, the food (try living in a town where you have to drive 30 minutes to get even an average meal) the beer, the buzz downtown and the opportunities for service in and to the community. AVL offers a lot to old and young. If your feeling out of place, perhaps you should find some way to become more a part of the deep heart of community, and most of all, just lighten up.

    • boatrocker

      This body is not getting any younger. I hope to flaunt the Dad bod minus ink in my true prime years (think George Costanza’s Dad in his early 70’s) in all its pale un photoshopped glory at the pool while being able to laugh at those younger than me with flabby faded tatts of The Black Keys, Radiohead and Hindu script tramp stamps which when translated means #14- curry and rice starter plate.

  10. Yep

    Great article Abigail and you certainly do not look ‘old’ at all.

  11. Jen

    Basically after reading your ‘word vomit’ I have come to the conclusion you do not get out much, you lack in diversity of friends, someone held you up in line with your ice cream which may have softened a little but by no means would it have melted as you feared, and you do not like dogs. Whole article of word vomit because someone/something made you mad……. how many ‘poor babies’ do you want? Not getting any from me a 53 year old Ashevillian. You are absolutely clueless in so many ways. Move. Please. Move away from Asheville please. Seriously.

  12. If you can’t see the humor in this opinion piece, you might want to exit the self referential bubble of Asheville landia. Seriously, most of the world doesn’t care about this place. It’s only those that come here thinking it’s some kind of mecca that have created the reality warp that is so annoying. I find the author’s perspective refreshingly snarky and forthright, kind of like how right wingers feel about Trump. She’s calling you all out on your BS.

    Today it’s a radical statement in Asheville to be tatt free. Ironic isn’t it? All of you non-conformists inking up your arms with pop culture symbols showing off your latest expression of self absorption. If you are so free spirited and self expressive why do you have to literally wear it on your sleeves? Just do your thing and stop pronouncing your uniqueness to the world. Also, why not spend a little less time on your image, and more on your substance? Are you really that insecure that you can’t just be who you are and not have to advertise it to the world?

    • Disappointed Reader

      She is a professional writer for a magazine promoting Asheville. She tears apart an innocent cashier BY NAME who did nothing to her. She is shaming her for a decision that has nothing to do with her. This is not professional at all. Humor doesn’t have to come at someone else’s personal expense, we learned that in kindergarten. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, yes. Even Trump supporters. But would the Xpress publish a biased article about why Trump supporters have it all figured out? I highly doubt it. These are not “light, funny” accusations. She is personally insulting half (or more) of the people in this town. Since when does that fall into the “snarky” category? I am honestly very disappointed in this article and the fact that the Xpress is willing to give someone a soapbox from which to spout slander and hate.

      • Disappointed Reader

        And, yes. Most of the world doesn’t care about this place. But the people who live here (aka Xpress readers and Willows the cashier) care about it a lot and don’t take light to someone bashing people and animals on a personal level. Call it “humor” if you will, but the message is loud and clear.

      • For the love of dog, please grow some balls. People like you with your overly sensitive to reactions to any thing that burst your little bubble make me gag.

    • Jameson

      There was NOTHING humorous about this. It was a judgmental piece of writing full of the author’s own insecurities as an attack on those different from her. I suppose I am “radical” for being tatt free…but I’m also tolerant of the fact that people are free to be “tatted up” or the opposite. She’s calling no one out on their “BS” and is only showing that she is an intolerant, impatient asshat. This is disgusting.

      • Well, I’m calling you on your BS. You take yourself way too seriously. This is a piece about the annoying, self important people that think they’re frigging tatts and dogs are so special. Tatts are ugly, they pollute one’s skin, the are expensive and they mean nothing. Dogs only like you because you feed them, they bark and poop every where. Jesus, you people are ridiculous.

        • Disappointed Reader

          You are just as miserable sounding as her. Sad sense of humor to have to try to bring other people down for their own decisions that have nothing to do with you. Why are you trashing tattoos and dogs for no reason? No one is telling you you are uncool for not having them. It’s a beautiful little thing called minding your own business. I can take a joke. I don’t find closed-minded, self righteous judgement of innocent strangers to be funny. If you have to resort to that for humor than you are no better than a bully on a playground. Your stereotyping of people with tattoos all being non-conformists who spend more time on their image than substance, while you and her attack people and animals who never did anything to you. Now that is funny! Take your own advice! Oh, and your line “Just do your thing and stop pronouncing your uniqueness to the world.” Really? Do you even stop to think before you talk? It’s a good thing every artist/musician/philosopher wasn’t raised with that discouraging mentality. Oh, but you probably think art/music/philosophy means nothing too.

        • The Real World

          Dontask – Agreed about the tattoo’s but I must correct you about the dogs. The barking and eliminating is natural — blame the owners if those aspects are not dealt with adequately.

          And, it’s completely untrue that they only like you if you feed them. Any human in tune with animals will find a love, dedication and loyalty from a dog that, frankly, rarely exists between humans. It’s incredible and one of life’s greatest rewards.

        • Vealsauce

          YOUR opinion is that tattoos are ugly, and people absolutely do get tattoos that have a meaning behind them. So dont make generalizing statements such as “they mean nothing”. why do you feel that you have the right to dictate how other people choose to express themselves? YOU don’t care for tattoos and that’s fine, but we don’t need to bash people who choose to get them.
          Dogs are loyal and social animals (most of them) that bring lots of joy in people’s lives. If youre a miserable person who doesn’t like or doesn’t want one, then don’t get one.
          This is labeled an “opinion” peace-not humor or satire. They’re not wrong, she is a writer for a magazine that is supposed to promote Asheville, and instead she writes a piece talking about how much it sucks and how she doesn’t fit in because she doesn’t have tattoos or a dog. If those reasons alone are the reason she feels thia way about Asheville, then no, she doesn’t get out much and she’s close minded.
          My dad is 55, and finds stuff to do every weekend. He has a million and one reasons as to why he loves ashevillle-so really, she needs to get out more.

    • The Real World

      Dontask — you’re very astute. Pls visit this site more and share your views.
      As you can tell, there are alot of very literal and sensitive types in AVL.
      We (desperately) need more perspective expansion!

  13. Peter Robbins

    I like the way the article skewered that gabby check-out lady with the tattoo. Fight the power!

  14. LuLu

    Your ice cream won’t undergo a chemical change from solid to liquid. That’s a physical change.

    • Andrew

      I paused at the exact same moment, with the same thought. Also, a design of a butterfly is a design, not a butterfly. Abigail’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

  15. Nick

    you sound very sad and judgmental and your husband’s name is bad and ice cream melting is a physical change, not a chemical one and hey look over there its a different city far away that maybe you’ll like more

  16. Professional Tattooer

    You are an educator at AB Tech? Then it seems like you would know to educate yourself before spouting off asinine assumptions about an entire industry that you have ZERO experience with. I have over 10 years of experience tattooing in this town and we work very hard to maintain professionalism on every level. Check your facts. People of ALL AGES hang out together here more than any other place I’ve lived; you can’t blame age. It’s your hateful state of mind. Your extremely judgemental theories really just say “I am not happy with myself.” Then, the dogs. Wow. You must be a whole new level of self-centered to think all these dogs are wandering around just to make you fear them. Obviously if the dogs were aggressive they wouldn’t be off the leash. If you spent less energy hating everything and more energy loving yourself, maybe your poor husband wouldn’t have to bribe you with chips and salsa to spend quality time together. May I suggest the book “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle? It is very helpful in learning how to live in the moment and choose to think positively rather than hatefully. It’s never too late.

  17. Lilli

    Okay, I’m one of the younger people, although, really not. I’m 34, and while I have tattoos (which, by the way? They *ARE* personal to me, like most art of this matter should be. ) I do not own a dog, but, I would. If I lived in a dog friendly building, anyway. I instead own a precious black cat, who is curled up at my feet as I write this. However, my mom also lives here (as does my grandmother) and neither of them has a single drop of ink anywhere in them (Well, my mom does, she’s had cancer, and thus, ink was injected into her body for a smattering of tests.) or own dogs.

    I am just wondering how things which dictate *my* life would apparently make you so hostile towards me or those like me. You don’t know me, or even really a moment of my life story beyond what I’m choosing to share here and now. But my love of ink and animals apparently makes me a candidate for vilification? What if I told you that I also grew up very polite? I say the magical words of “Please”, “Thank you”, “You’re welcome”, “Ma’am”, “Sir” and all of the rest of them. I also used to have my father tell me that microwave ovens were radioactive, I owned a old black and white television, and a corded phone.

    I also was taught to live as a positive person despite adversity, to shoot for the moon, to always do your best, and also? I was also taught that you should always strive to see that although the people around you can be the most similar? We’re all very, very different people.

    Last life lesson I learned in a major way. You’re given exactly one life. Live it powerfully. – My only hope is that one day, you fully do. Dogs, Tattoos, Chips & Salsa and all.

  18. Emily

    The comments on this article make me laugh as much as the article because they are just re-enforcing the author’s point. Asheville you take yourselves way too seriously, lighten up! Geez

  19. Kathy Hewett

    Wow! Haters gonna hate…I am 62 years old with a daughter living in Asheville. My husband and I visit often and have never felt the “disconnect” this native feels. Maybe she would feel more at home in a larger city…of course there would be more young people to feed her insecurities. I happen to love the energy they bring to the city.

  20. Jen

    All Asheville wants is an open mind to acceptance.

    You want to fit in to Asheville? Don’t be so judgmental, try to find someone’s uniqueness. See them for who they are, not their choice of expression or trend they follow (regardless of how you see it.)

    Think of Asheville as a mirror. Greet it with open arms and you will be received with open arms. Turn your back, and expect the same in return.

    Now- go hug a hippie, a country folk and a suit wearing professional… Because despite only seeing the 19-29 year old pigeon holed group described here, you can easily find one of each in Asheville.

  21. Casey

    I don’t even know where to begin with this article. Any capable person can navigate Trader Joe’s, and dogs aren’t trying to eat you. Surely there are interesting writers in Asheville who can be creating articles less moronic.

  22. Kensaku

    Everyone has a right to an opinion but I have to say that I have spent over two decades living around Asheville and Western NC and most of the folks are my age or older. That place was a ghost town in the 80s there was no scene and it has grown and evolved. Yes for the good and as well for the bad. I am amazed that you still live their with an attitude like this. I do not own a dog but I love animals and the best use for a book written by someone like yourself would be to tear out pages so dog lovers can use it to scoop up after there dogs likes good citizen should

  23. Rob J

    In case you haven’t noticed, all of the country runs a certain pattern. Right now, it’s breweries, pets, tattoos that are popular, and Avl is no different than any other area of the country, just more of it it concentrated here it seems. Yes, we have lots of all the things you’ve mentioned. but moving on down the road will not lead you to a different culture.
    Perhaps, you should start the latest fad; seems people do want to be square in middle of the current fad so they won’t appear to their friends or acquaintances that they are out of touch; everyone likes to name-drop, looks like your article has succeeded in doing only that.

  24. Wonder what the reaction would be if instead of writing about a women discussing her tattoo, it was a man talking about his love of guns. And if, instead of talking about dogs in general, it was more specifically about pit bulls and their owners. Hmmm, dare I say it might be different?

  25. El Barto

    Asheville is a place where anyone and everyone can find their niche, but apparently not so much for this writer. It seems like everything about this town makes her mad. Is it so hard to believe someone could have the name Willow? Maybe her parents lived in the 60’s, or are big Val Kilmer fans. And believe it or not, people like dogs. Asheville is the most dog-friendly city I’ve ever lived in. If you don’t like grocery store clerks with tattoos, dogs, or going outside, apparently, then don’t! But writing an article in the Mountain X about all the little things that make you mad while acting like a crazy old person yelling at kids to get off their lawn isn’t going to make it any better. I can’t believe the MX would even publish this.

  26. Marie

    What a judgemental piece of garbage so called writing. I mean honestly you don’t know the People you so easily judged. Willow didn’t say she invented the butterfly maybe her creative design was the coloring maybe it was specific to her I have a small one with purple wings I chose the purple to represent lupus for a friend of mine who died from complications. Yes I have many tatts no I’m not young I’m in my middle 30’s young but not like she’s implying. Each one of my pieces represents my story which I can chose to share or not that’s the point it’s mine. I moved to Asheville a year ago and love it not because I’m tatted up but because people are friendly here and the food is good and it’s beautiful. This article wasn’t even written well let alone of anything substantial perhaps you should find another career path or take a life journey to learn how to see past the cover of people and find the depth. If not I feel sorry for you because you are missing out on a lot of life and a lot of good interesting people

  27. Another Reader

    If I had seen you around town, I probably wouldn’t have noticed you didn’t have tattoos, or have cared in the least. I certainly wouldn’t have deemed you as uncool. The way you judge others and compare yourself is pretty uncool, though. I have some tattoos myself, but I didn’t get them for anyone else’s approval. They mean something to me. The fact that it would cross your mind to do so for ‘connection to your people’ is very strange to me. Connection would likely come easier if you weren’t so judgmental. I felt it was really taken too far when you called the cashier with tattoos out by name. Seriously? So, you live in a friendly town where store patrons connect with the workers, and don’t treat them like a part of a machine. I find that to be a plus.

    I don’t have any dogs myself right now, but I work at an establishment that allows them, and I’m constantly reminding folks who come that their dogs need to be on a leash (a leash that stays attached to them). I understand that there are people who have had experiences that don’t make them comfortable around dogs running loose. But why dig at people for having a furry companion? Why make everything so judgmental? (And the line about getting a cat tattoo to ‘ward off snackings’ of your forearm.. What in the world?)

    Sorry if the way other people live and experience happiness irks you. You’ll probably be happier when you stop comparing yourself to others.

    • Another Reader

      Also, I was really surprised and disappointed that this got a full page in the Xpress. The shorter section that allows for reader’s opinions, or online, sure- Your opinion is a valid one in our community, because everyone is allowed to have one. But a full page for an article full of judgements and complaints, that goes so far as to judge an individual very specifically and calls them out by name? I was incredibly disappointed the Xpress printed this piece.

  28. Who

    I wouldn’t try too hard to fit in. You could just move somewhere else. I’m sure other towns have grocery store clerks that don’t have tattoos. Or if they do, at least they are young enough to have them, by your standards.

    Things must be pretty rough at MX for this piece to even get consideration for publication.

  29. Anna

    Funny… I am an almost 40 year old Asheville native with neither dog nor tattoo, and I feel that I fit in just fine in Asheville. should we expect someone who admits they have to be lured out of the house with chips and salsa and finds the aisles of a grocery store confusing to know what our fine town is all about?

  30. J

    Is this a satirical or editorial piece? Bc no way can this even be real. Or a real article of any paper that wants to be taken seriously. This is the worst thing I’ve read. How about real issues like overpopulation and spike in rental fees? Or locals being pushed out by tourists. Get ovaaaaaa yourself. Go live in a ritzy little town in Georgia where the sun shines and you can sip on your cute mojitos while you watch your landscapers work on your garden.

  31. Randy

    This Article should be titled, “What’s the deal with Asheville Amarite??!!”

    I don’t even think my mom would think this was funny.

  32. The Real World

    MountainX and Abigail Hickman — congrats, you scored!

    Based on many of the comments above, clearly, AVL needs more articulated viewpoints that will push the narrow-minded out of their comfort zone. It’s these types of articles that actually get people to think…..a little.

  33. antipasta

    This is a poor article. Written by someone that has spent the last 20 years at home and resents those that didn’t.

  34. tat2matt

    I’m certain that the author’s inability to “fit in” isn’t at all related to her lack of ink or canine. Anyone who would write an article such as this is likely completely intolerable to be around.

  35. Peter Robbins

    Okay, okay, let’s not go overboard with the criticism. Maybe Willow the Tattooed Check-Out Lady doesn’t realize how she comes across to ordinary people who toil in less privileged and exciting professions. It’s not always easy to put oneself in the shoes of another, you know. Still, I hope she’ll remember the image of that decomposing ice cream the next time she’s tempted to let a bit of human conversation about a shared interest impinge on everyone else’s enjoyment of an optimally time-efficient food-buying experience. There’s only so much solipsism a friendly community can take.

  36. Ashvillian

    what an incredibly negative person the author must be. Stereotyping an judging the people of her own town that have done nothing to her. Maybe instead of criticizing these people for their passions and interests you should maybe find your own. Maybe then youll have less time to write poorly written articles that are mistaken for satire and more time to find things to enjoy like everyone else. Or just do yourself and everyone else a favor and move to a place that is more suited for squares like yourself. :)

  37. Ornery

    Count on Malcolm Knighten to make this comment page yet another venue for his misogynistic rantings.

    • LuLu

      How was that comment mysogynistic? That’s not a rhetorical question. I’m seriously wondering how anything in that comment could be construed as hateful toward women, specifically. Hateful in general, maybe, but toward women?

  38. Tammy

    Where’s the tolerance?! It’s her opinion and I see her point!

    • Tammy

      If you claim to be tolerant of all lifestyles and opinions but you can’t “tolerate” and opposing viewpoint or opinion, then you aren’t tolerant. You are for something and against something else. Tolerant: showing willingness to allow the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with. 

  39. Luis martinez

    I would advise you to just leave, but it sounds like you’ll be miserable anywhere. I’m your age, and I love the energy of Asheville. There are so many boring, judgemental, ugly cities in this country where you’d fit in much better. Get un-nestled from your weaverville community and make space for people that actually deserve to live here.

  40. Audra

    Abigail’s mother when she was growing up- “Abigail, if you have nothing nice to say, then attack other people’s happiness because you are too shallow to seek your own.” Y’all just remember that this town used to have soul, and the way it’s going, it’ll soon be just another big, impersonal city that is all search and no heart. Big shame. And shame on the overgrown playground bullies defending this rude person. This “writer” lacks any meaningful contribution to Asheville and needs to dig deeper. That’s not liberal sensitivity, it’s called common decency.

  41. Peter Robbins

    She already lives in Weaverville. That’s punishment enough.

  42. bsummers

    I don’t have any tattoos now, but I am going to leave a list for the embalmer.

  43. Tracy Rose

    This comment falls into the realm of the offensive and will be deleted.

  44. Genna Harris

    I really thought this article was a joke when I first read it. What harm is being done to you if someone else has a tattoo? And if you don’t like dogs, go hike in the Smokies. There are 522,419 acres for you to enjoy, dog free. Have fun.

  45. Darkhorse

    I agree with the first comment from Asheville native. Try Outward Bound to spice up your life.

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