This last weekend I quietly celebrated the fact that I made another circuit around the sun by leaving my children with their grandmother and heading a full 30min away to the big city of Charlotte, NC to spend the weekend alone with my wonderful wife.
Many people would expect, especially those that have no children of their own, that a weekend such as this would be filled with wining and dining and whole lot of other romantic bullshit. The reality of it is just being able to shop or sit quietly in a restaurant without having to repeatedly say things like “don’t touch that” and “sit back down” is all that’s wanted from a weekend away from the kids. (OK, maybe a little romance is desired but uninterrupted sleep seems to be a much better use for a hotel bed.)
Anyway, I decided to use this child-free opportunity to drag my poor wife to the only two places I’m aware of in the Charlotte area that would even come close to qualifying as fly shops; Bass Pro and Orvis. (If anyone reading this knows of anywhere else in the vicinity please do not hold back. PLEASE!)
Now, I have nothing personal against these places.
Bass Pro is, well, Bass Pro, and it does have a fly fishing section but it’s a big box store and the employees seem to suffer from the “working for a giant corporation and I am just a number” blues. Not to mention it kinda feels like a Wal-Mart with outdoor decor.
Orvis on the other hand strikes me as the Saks Fifth Avenue of the fly fishing world. I’ve never been in one of these stores and not felt keenly aware of my place in the American caste system.
I’ll admit that the perceived problems with these stores are mine and I won’t lay the blame on them for the way I feel.
That being said, I want a GODDAMNED FLY SHOP!!! Not a box store, not a high dollar clothing store that happens to also sell fly fishing stuff but an actual fly shop with a lab named Sage at the front door, bins filled with flies tied by locals and bearded guy with a beer gut behind the counter who knows whats going on because if he’s not there in the shop he’s out wetting a line. I want a shop I don’t feel guilty about spending my money at. I want a place that when I ask if they have something that they don’t carry it causes a prolonged conversation about the product ending with “yeah dude, we’ll shoot you an email when it gets in”.
That’s what I want.
I’m tempted to mention a popular Rolling Stones song at this point about one not always getting what one wants but truth be told this song doesn’t actually apply to the situation at hand because I might not be getting what I want but I’m sure as hell not finding what I need.
Thank god for the internet.