9.11.2009

Downs and Ups

I work somewhere on the North shore of Long Island. And, after work on Thursday night, I had to play a feast somewhere down on the South shore. “You have to get there by 6:30? Good luck...” cautioned a coworker who lives down there, sharing her commuting nightmares. Still, I’d told the band leader I might be a little late, and I knew some back roads and short cuts. I’m not a fast driver but I’ve explored my surroundings over the years and picked up a thing or two. I’ve also always had sort of a built-in compass, but I would soon learn whether or not that had seen some wear and tear.

I hit traffic at a few key points where I expected it. Once, I missed a turn, but doubled back and didn’t lose much time. And then I took a forced and unexpected fork when my lane ended. But, as far as I could tell, I was still going South. I didn’t know where I was. I was in residential neighborhoods. And as the road curved and threw in a few diagonals, I wasn’t all that confident as to what direction I was going in. Ultimately, I was going Southwest, and had to come back East a bit once I finally hit a road I recognized.

But it was all good. I arrived 10 minutes later than our meeting time, but 20 minutes before the start of our procession. A concerned mother ushered in her two children and packed up their lemonade stand as I quickly exchanged my dress shirt for a band shirt in the back seat of my car. Why would it stay light out just long enough to make that plan a problem? With the road closed off for the feast, I had a slight trek, and didn’t realize until I reached the church that my dress shoes were still in the car. My sneakers were black though, and it was almost dark, and we weren’t in a judged competition, so I got away with them.

The procession was mercifully short, which we appreciated given the unexpected chill in the air and a few expected drops of rain that never amounted to much. We played a few extra songs for the crowd when we were done walking, and from start to finish the gig lasted just over an hour. Afterwards, I got some pizza with the drummer, whose father runs another Italian band in which I play in the most. I got an earful of some of his difficult situations, which I won’t go into detail on. He recently got married, and has two daughters now, one of whom is 11 months old and the other who was born last weekend. His wife has an 8-year-old boy from her first marriage, and that’s where his trouble lies. His wife’s ex and his mother-in-law are apparently trying to get the kid taken away, with some genuinely wild accusations that, for all my friend’s faults and shortcomings, aren’t remotely true. It’s sad for the boy, who is actually in a better environment and thriving now and must be caught in the middle of this. I understand the grandmother missing him since her daughter moved out, but there’s definitely a better, more peaceful, more sane way to go about doing things. There are some other reasons why the grandmother is so irrational, but I won’t be going into detail here. Suffice to say it’s not a great situation.

I dropped the drummer off at a train station and proceeded to head back up North, once again relying on my built -in radar sense. I kind of remembered some of the roads I was on from the last time I was in the area, and even if I didn’t it shouldn’t have mattered. I live on the exact opposite coast of where I was playing, so all I had to do was maintain a Northerly heading. It was just that simple. But somehow, I must have made one two many rights, and found myself driving under a train trestle landmark that meant I was driving South again. I eventually found my way home, not very late, but later than I would have liked. Every journey has its low points and challenges but, with patience and perseverance, we can find our way back up again.

2 Comments:

Blogger b13 said...

If Woody had picked up a GPS, this would have never have happened ;)

9/11/2009 12:30 AM  
Blogger Lorna said...

It's really sad when kids suffer because adults are acting like spoiled children.

9/11/2009 11:19 PM  

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