“What on earth for?” I ask amazed.
“Why not?” James replies grinning. “I got the curly cord and everything.”
James just announced that he just purchased a twelve-string Ovation. The acoustic roundy-backed guitar that in the 70’s and early 80’s could be seen strapped around everyone who was anyone because of it’s state-of-art technology, but now conjures up images of Colorado ski resort folk singer. We’re sitting at the office, Enoteca, drinking sparkling water and flavored soda, boxes of cds spilled across the bar in front of us. I shake my head and sigh. James is gonna do what he’s gonna do. New look. New guitar. New lease on life. James stares off toward the window that looks across Congress, probably imagining some new Ovation-perfect tuning.
Later that week he hits the road for his two-month long “Back at it” tour. We’re shaking off a bad year, getting back into the swing of things. We’re ready to get a move on.
It’s Wednesday. A few weeks into the tour, and I get a text:
It’s Wednesday. The guitar has to be in Petaluma on Saturday before his show there Sunday.
I’d just returned from a whirlwind trip to Port Aransas and all I wanted to do was hop into my yoga pants and veg out to the Lifetime Movie Network. But I haul myself over to James’ duplex and grab the guitar. Turns out, James had it out the day they left for the tour, showing it off to Cornbread, but completely spaced it as they were packing up.
I get the guitar home and have Brian tune it down (fun fact: the entire time I was in college, i mis-trained myself to sting a guitar so I only end up doing half correctly, and half bass-ackwards. I don’t remember which half is the right way, so I try not to think about it and have forbade myself to tune another guitar unless I absolutely have to).
I confidently walk into my neighborhood UPS store the next morning. The kid that works there knows me by sight – throughout Dad’s probate, he got to see quite a bit of me (he’s the neighborhood Notary Public). He perks up as I walk in, awkwardly juggling the guitar and a couple of boxes of cds as I push the door open with my elbow. It’s Thursday. Mr. UPS promises the guitar will be in Petaluma on Saturday. Whew! $700 later, I’m walking out the door, and the guitar is off to our friends at Lagunitas Brewing Company.
Lagunitas Brewing Company is the world’s most incredible Craft Brewery. They are super cool and have been over-the-top supportive of me and James and lots of other artists and musicians. The owner, Tony Magee, is the sweetest guy you will ever meet, but cunning in his business sense. I once asked why they didn’t can their brews – why they only used bottles. What are we supposed to do on the beach, I probed…”You will wish you had a Lagunitas, and keep thinking about it until you throw in the towel and go find a proper bar,” he answered, matter-of-factly. The staff at Lagunitas is the best group of down to earth people you can find, and I’m proud to call them my friends.
I’m pretty proud of myself and my “take-action” management style as I walk out of the UPS, dusting off my hands in satisfaction. That lasted for about an hour.
I get a text from our friend, Jimmy Jacobs –long-time Lagunitas executive and new head of their donations divisions. “Wait,” he texts… “No one is going to be at the Lagunitas office on Saturday. Can you re-route to my house? I don’t want the guitar just sitting outside the door.”
Okay. Okay. Okay…? I think to myself, unnerved..
Anytime I’m stressed, my best solution is to yell at Brian. Try it sometime – it really works! After my freak-out, we come up with a plan. Brian rushes back to UPS. My guy, Mr. UPS is still there. “Dude! The guitar’s already on the truck,” he wails. But it’s for James. And it’s for me (and to tell you the truth, I think Mr. UPS has been crushing on me for about a year and a half). So he breaks the law. Against all rules and policy, threat of being placed on a government watchlist, and the possibility of being stripped of his notary title, he gets the guitar out of the truck, victorious.
….Only to find out that it will cost an additional $700 to print a new sticker. This is beginning to be a long day.
“Hey, though, Dude,” he remembers suddenly, “you can go online and change the address. This kinda thing happens all the time,” he beams as best he can, most likely having waked and baked just a few hours earlier.
We go online. It doesn’t work.
We call. it doesn’t work.
I yell at Brian. It doesn’t work.
It’s Friday. The guitar has to be in Petaluma on Saturday. Brian goes back to the UPS store. Mr. UPS is not there, so he talks to Tattoo Girl. Tattoo Girl is not at all pleased. “This kinda thing NEVER happens,” she snaps. You can read her like a book: she is much too busy and important for this shit. Irritated, she reluctantly gets on the phone and after a tense back and forth, changes the address to Jimmy’s home, and all is right with the world. For now.
It’s Saturday. The guitar should be at Jimmy’s by now. Jimmy, who should be out Father’s Day fishing with his son. Instead, he’s texting me. Guess what? The guitar is at Lagunitas Brewing Company. The change in address did not go through in time. ALL OF THAT rigmarole for nothing. He heads back down to the office and delivers the Ovation to James who begins twisting the strings back in tune. Thankyouthankyouthankyou. It all worked out in the end.
Just a snippet. A glimpse. A week in a life… And as complicated as it was, we all pulled it together. And to tell you the truth – there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing with my life.
Plus we all got a story out of it that I’m sure we’ll laugh about someday…
And James got his guitar…curly cord and all.