Tuesday, September 16, 2014
The Dry Mouth Of Fear
I had a bit of a scare at The Bluebird Cafe last night.
There were ten writers on the bill, leading up to a featured set by the ever-irascible J. Fred Knobloch, who is a wonderfully cantankerous performer. I was the eighth writer to go on. As I often do when I'm that far down the list, I opted to stay outside after I checked in with host Steve Goodie. The music is pumped outside. I get a chance to visit with folks, and someone who wouldn't otherwise get a seat for the show gets to go in. A lot of folks travel great distances only to be told "Sorry. We're full." I try to make sure that at least one person doesn't have that lousy experience.
When the weather is as nice as it was last night, I'll leave my guitar in the trunk of my car until about 20 minutes before I go on. Then I'll get it out, check the tuning, and play a little bit to loosen up my rapidly-getting-old fingers.
Last night, I walked over the car, opened the trunk, and...NO GUITAR!
I knew I had carried it out of the house, so I quickly looked in the back seat, and then in the trunk again (as if it would materialize there since the last time I looked.) I remembered checking to see if I had CDs in the pouch on the front of the case after I arrived at the Bluebird, so then I started worrying that maybe I hadn't locked the car after doing so. It was a terrible moment when I had to face the possibility that someone had seen me put it in the trunk and had misappropriated it while I wasn't paying attention.
I could surely borrow a guitar to play some songs, but I wouldn't have my harmonicas, and how would I replace my gear? I was feeling worse by the second. I went to the door and asked the girl who was working if she remembered whether or not I had carried a guitar in when I went to check in with Steve. She didn't remember, but thought that maybe I had.
Sure enough, it was leaning up against the corner of the bar and the sound booth.
I was feeling much better, but I was shaking hard from the adrenaline. I still hadn't settled down by the time I got onstage. The crowd didn't seem to realize how torqued I was. In fact, I sold ten CDs after my set, but have you ever tried to play the harmonica while experiencing the Dry Mouth of Fear?
Let's hope that there is never a repeat of that performance.