Sunday, December 7, 2008

Saved by the dowel

While Ron the Drummer and I are setting up for this afternoon's gig, my cell phone rings. It's Tim, a friend and former coworker I haven't seen in a couple of years.

"Hey, Susan, we're coming to your gig, but you got the address wrong," says Tim, referring to the mailing I sent out. "The one you gave is for the Tucson Airport."

"Um, no, it's correct. We're playing at the airport."

"Oh. Okay."

* * *

1:40 p.m. and we're just about ready. In the 20 minutes before we start, there's plenty of time for Ron to take levels and make sure that our sweet new mixing board is working as it should. It pays to get to a gig early for setup -- as we always do -- just in case of emergencies, even though there are almost never emergencies.

"Oh, shit," says Ron.

I stare at him blankly. Sometimes Ron kids around, trying to get a startle response out of me before telling me it's nothing. Best to keep my cool.

"I left my sticks at home."

I continue to stare blankly. He could still be kidding. Right? Totally kidding.

"I'm not kidding."

Ron goes off to call his wife. His wife isn't home. He calls a neighbor to see if she's puttering around outside. No dice. There's no one else who can grab his stick bag and run to the airport with it, and there's absolutely no way for him to drive home, get them, and come back before 2. I sit on my little keyboard bench and try to think of creative solutions. Do I have anything that could serve as substitute drumsticks? No, I do not.

1:50 p.m. Vicki, the PR woman who's hired us to do this gig, comes over to say hi. Ron confesses his error to Vicki, who remains cheerful and unperturbed. She points out that I could do the gig solo, which is true, but only as a last resort. These songs don't sound nearly as good without Ron. It would be better if he could just play the drums with his hands, our current plan B.

"What if Ron went and got them, and we started an hour later?" I ask.

Vicki tells me it wouldn't work. The crowd will thin out and disappear after 3. I realize it was a stupid idea anyway. Tim and his family are coming to see us. We can't keep them waiting that long.

"If you have dowels," says Ron, "then I could use those as drumsticks."

S'pose it never hurts to ask, I think, but seriously. What are the chances ...

"Oh, sure! What size do you need? I'll go check for them. Give me your tickets, and I'll validate them while I'm up there."

... of someone just happening to have dowels on hand?


Ten minutes later and she's back with, God help me, a fistful of dowels. She hands two small ones to Ron. They actually look like drumsticks if you don't notice the lack of little knobby things at the end. He tries them out. They sound a whole lot crisper and louder than the hot rods he usually uses, but they work.

* * *

Aside from starting 10 minutes late, the gig itself goes swimmingly. I see reactions I'm beginning to recognize as typical for these airport performances. A very little kid and a bigger kid hold hands and dance along to the music. A few people smile at us as they walk by; I don't know if they're specifically into our sound, but they seem grateful to us for making their trip a little more interesting. One woman talks to us between songs, asking if we'd be interested in playing for her nursing home residents.

Oh, and the new mixing board sounds great.

Dowel's well that ends well.

*ahem* ... Sorry.


David Powell said...

I like the closing line better than the title. :)

cinderkeys said...

Hee. I didn't think of it 'til the end.

Anonymous said...