Right after I finished another live music gig:
It happened. I don’t like to admit that it happened to me.
But it did.
It’s not like it hasn’t happened before.
It’s just that it hasn’t happened in a long, long time.
Car Trouble. Yup. My truck didn’t start after the gig.
Thankfully it happened after the gig and not on the way to the gig.
I was finished. All done. All loaded and ready to go and boom. Then it happened.
Put the key in.
Turn the ignition.
Don’t you hate that?
It used to happen all the time. You know, like, 30 years ago. When I was a college student and I relied on $50 cars to get me through the winter.
Now it hasn’t happened in ooohhh I don’t know probably 15 years? Maybe longer.
I bought this truck because I needed reliable transportation for our gigs.
Playing live music is expensive.
You’ve got to keep the gear working in all kinds of weather here in Chicago. digital music equipment is fragile. You’ve got to have reliable transportation. And when the cold winds blow, you know the odds rise up against us.
So you stay on top of things. I replaced the battery before the beginning of this winter. I always carry a pair of jumper cables, just in case.
I’ve been trained by The Boy Scouts. Be prepared.
I have a blanket in the back of the truck. I don’t know if I have flairs but I think they’re back there by the spare tire as well. I replaced all 4 tires on her before last winter’s party season. Snow tires. That way I wouldn’t dependent on that spare tire or a tire jack that could get fussy.
Good thing. Last year was a snowy one. We’re not as snowy this year. But we’re sure getting a lot of cold weather. What’dya expect? It’s winter.
Here is a picture of our beloved cargo van on the back of the tow truck.
Not A Sight One Likes To See
This ole girl has been great. We named this van Vicki. My girls called it ‘The Man Van’. The boys said it looked like it belonged on an episode of Law and Order: SVU. My accountant loves it because it has no windows so I guess that means it’s a solid write off.
I love her. Vicki. Yes I always name my vehicles after girls. We figured that one out when we were teenagers. They’re prettier that way. And we all know every girl, like every vehicle, has an inherent beauty to it that must be named.
So let’s see what’s up with Vicki. I’ll let you know. My mechanic is awesome. I can give you his name if you want it.
He’s always been great. Because he never charges that much. He is always fair on what he charges and because I have another big corporate event coming up this Thursday. He said Vicki will be back up and running again by then. Phew!
Maybe its something simple like a starter. Oh well . . . . . it happens. At least it happened after the gig.
… about how to drive in a snow storm in Chicago.
Chicago Snow Storm Stories
So we got smacked with another snow storm here in Chicago this week.
Typical. It’s Chicago. It’s February. Go figure.
So why the hell don’t people know how to drive in this stuff? I mean – Seriously! Is it because we don’t have a foot of snow very often anymore? Are we just out of practice? It’s like Heeey C’mon already.
I remember getting a lot of snow when I was younger. Even in my early 20’s I had to be able to navigate city streets with all of the other citizens.
It was Par For The Course. Modus Operandi. Another Day in The Neighborhood.
When I was still a student of music at U of I in Chicago, as it was called back then, I lived in Wicker Park. My rent for a 2 bedroom was $150 a month. For those of you out of town, I can tell you now Wicker Park is one of those great neighborhoods where you now will not be able to find a 2 bedroom for less than $1500 these days – if that.
I had an old Chevy Suburban. Great truck. 8 cylinder. Rear wheel drive. Heavy. Moved everything and everywhere. Awesome truck.
Wicker Park was a barrio back then. Gangs? Yeah no problem. Ghettos? Yeah sure, whatever. Rat hole apartment and scum bag landlords? Heeeey it’s Chicago. Whatever.
I remember getting going after digging out of my parking spot, not daring to stop, zipping through one of those unplowed alleys on questionable snow tires I got from that discount tire shop on Division to get to the unplowed side street to get out to Damen Ave when I encounter another vehicle driving in my direction.
Now I had lived in Wicker Park about a year and a half at the time. I knew my neighbors. All upstanding citizens to be sure and they were kind enough to inform me, in true Chicago tradition, “Heeey, we’re all okay over here. It’s those people across the alley/across the street/ north of Milwaukee Ave/fill in the blank you gotta worry about … “
So in other words, I knew how to fill in the blanks, I knew where the boundaries were drawn and I knew who was on who’s side. I knew I had a guy and I knew the other guy had a guy so it’s all kopesthetic, right?
So like I said, I’m zipping along on my snow tires in my Chevy Suburban and I realize I’m in that ‘other’ neighborhood and I see this guy coming at me in his beater and we both know not to stop in the snow or we’re both getting stuck.
So what do we do?
We keep going.
That’s what we do.
C’mon it’s Chicago.
Sliding along, spinning our wheels but moving forward and as we miraculously pass each other safely we both look out our rolled down windows and we both started laughing. We were passing by so close we could have reached out and High Fived each other but we didn’t dare take our hands off the wheel at that particular moment.
As we finally fish tailed past each other our tail ends decided to dish out that High Five. It was a Love Tap. A Cheek Kiss.
Maybe it was that I didn’t want to stop knowing I wasn’t going to be protected in that neighborhood. Maybe it was him who didn’t want to get out and check it out for possibly very similar reasons. Add to that neither one of us were driving a brand Audi or anything.
So I looked out my side mirror and I saw him wave an “okay” as I was doing the same back to him.
No harm. No foul. No big deal driving in Chicago snowstorms.
Come visit some time and we’ll go for a drive. And maybe we’ll play some great live music together. Or if you’re not a musician and you’d rather just listen, we’re okay with that too. Either we’ll entertain you with tails and songs.
Heeey. Chicago. Go figure.