A musical journey through the past in words as I approach the Big 5-0.
Saturday, May 18, 2013
No 383 – Lords of Karma
Performer: Joe Satriani
Songwriter: Joe Satriani
Original Release: Surfing with the Alien
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
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
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.