Most people don’t love this city, but I do. I’ve been coming here a few times a year for as long as I can remember, and it’s home to my favorite bookstore (McKay’s Used Books and More, if you’re ever in the city), my favorite ice skating rink (the Ice Chalet), and my favorite sporting events (Lady Vols basketball games). Here are some random thoughts I jotted down the last time I was there: This is the only city I know where people buy and wear orange clothing in such large numbers. This is big orange country, where the entire population lives and breathes college sports. The businesses on the strip plaster their front windows in orange propaganda, and on game day, floods of people dressed in the color fill the streets. I love the energy in the air as people come from across several states to cheer on our team. The air is electric with hope, anticipation, and possibility. When you leave, that same air is filled with either disappointment or celebration, but, for a couple of hours, you’re holding your breath with twenty thousand strangers, uncertain as to which it will be.The pollution leaked into the air taints every breath we take. We gasp at its beauty as it manifests itself as an orange glow (appropriate) over hazy purple mountains at sunset. Were we not breathless at the sight, the smog in the bitter cold air would be slowly killing us. The city sprawls out farther than is reasonable in every possible direction, lighting up the night sky. It is simultaneously crumbling, growing, and unchanging. There are abandoned warehouses, factories brought to life as restaurants on the river, a coffee plant whose huge sign drowns out anything else in that corner of the city, rusting railroad bridges, and new construction on the never-ending, always confusing, always changing reeways. It is expanding, decaying, and experiencing a rennaissance of sorts as it is rebuilt. That construction has been going on since before I was born. I stand high above the river, and the vastness of the city never fails to startle and amaze me. I can’t see the end of it.