Saturday, May 18, 2013

No 383 – Lords of Karma

Performer: Joe Satriani
Songwriter: Joe Satriani
Original Release: Surfing with the Alien
Year: 1987
Definitive Version: Time Machine, 1993

Surfing with the Alien, as I mentioned, was the soundtrack of my desolation. Although I long before learned that the world wasn’t perfect, in the fall of 1988, I wondered whether it even worked out at all.

To sum up, I just had broken up with Melanie and still was feeling the after-shocks of that violent earthquake. Work was going bad with the whole Darlene mess. And summer was over, which meant winter was coming. It was like as soon as high-school football season started, the weather went from 90 degrees and no rain to 50 degrees and cloudy. A distinct chill was in the air.

So what would be just the thing to put the cherry on top of this poo sundae that had been created for me in Harbor Country? How about massive debt amid a meager salary? Coming right up!

I was driving on a Saturday to Michigan City on U.S. 12, only a few blocks from home, when my car, the once-Magic but now just Tragic Mazda, up and quit on me, which forced me to pull onto a side street.

This wasn’t the first time this had happened. I mentioned the problem I had with my alternator after the Joe Walsh and Steve & Garry show at Horizonfest. That was the second time my alternator crapped out. Both times, I had been driving and the car just died. Well, this will cost me a few bucks, but, worse, won’t be ready till Monday at the earliest, so this was bad.

One problem: I had power in the car. It just wouldn’t go anywhere. That can only mean one thing, as a friend said when he saw me pull over and get out of my car: It’s probably my transmission. Gulp!

I was able to get a tow truck, which took my car to a transmission shop near Michigan City that fortunately was open. The guy at the shop said he’d check it out and give me a call. A little while later, he confirmed the bad news: I needed a new transmission, and a rebuild would cost $900. He said he probably wouldn’t have the car back to me till Wednesday.

This was a major problem, not only for the cost, but the inconvenience. I had to have a car, because there was no other way to get the 20 miles to and from work. I didn’t want to ride my bike on U.S. 12 at night, and the train that went through New Buffalo and stopped close to the News-Dispatch went through town only twice a day. The only solution was I had to stay in Michigan City for the week.

I called Jim and told him of my plight, and he not only offered me the use of his sofa, he offered me the use of his apartment. His new romance was going very well, and he could stay with her while I stayed at his place. He said he could pick me up in the morning, take me to work and take me back to his place at night. It meant I couldn’t work as long as I might normally Sunday and Monday night, but I wasn’t in any position to complain. Jim was (is) a good friend, indeed.

So that’s what we did. Jim picked me up at about 6 and then I’d stay as long as I could until the shuttle left. But when I called Tuesday to inquire about the car, I was told it would take longer than expected, due to it being a foreign car—maybe Friday. I told Jim, and we extended my stay another night.

When Harbor Country News went out Wednesday, I wouldn’t need to be back in the office again until Sunday night, so I had the guy who replaced Bob as my photographer, pick me up in the afternoon after he dropped off some film and take me back to New Buffalo.

When you really have to have a car and don’t, it tends to make you edgy. I don’t know how many times I called the auto shop to see how the repairs on my car were going, but the news continued to be bad. I wasn’t able to get my car back until the next Monday, so I had to borrow Jim’s place again.

Finally, I got my car back and drove home by myself—$900 lighter and feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders. I had to get out of here … now. I placed a call to Northwestern’s job-placement office and told them I was looking and please pass along the word. The woman with whom I spoke, and with whom I’d established a good relationship said she’d get right on it.

No comments:

Post a Comment