It took me almost six years, but finally, I saw Ric Flair in his natural habitat: South Charlotte.
I was looking for a parking spot near SouthPark mall and there he was, walking down the sidewalk, hunched forward just a little bit. He is a primary color guy. Yellow hair. Blue t-shirt. Red skin.
He was probably leaving Cowfish. I hear he's there a lot. He's also at Dean & Deluca a lot. Same with The Lodge. And Harris Teeter. He's in so many places that seeing him out is a right of passage for Charlotteans. San Juan Capistrano has swallows. Punxatawney has a groundhog. Charlotte has Flair.
It's possible that more people in Charlotte have seen him in person buying eggs than, say, wrestling. Flair is aging. Fewer and fewer people remember him from his prime. I couldn't name one of his signature moves. I just know him for his promos. I know he says, with some panache, the word "whoo."
That may be good enough. He says it in commercials. He says it (in recorded fashion) whenever the Carolina Hurricanes score a goal. Say whoo. People will know what you mean.
I turned the corner in my car and looked back. He was gone. I saw Ric Flair for all of two seconds, if that. It was all I needed. After six years, I can cross the Nature Boy off my list.
Now, where's RenElvis?