Dude, Where’s My Car?

Choose an adventure, and you will surely get an adventure.

So, most of you know the scene, but I’ll reset it. The scene is that, because of the way the cookie crumbled I had a show Tuesday night in western North Carolina, a spot in an arts festival in Ann Arbor Michigan on Wednesday early afternoon, and a show in Durham North Carolina Thursday night. Not wanting to turn down any of them, I didn’t.

My show at in Flat Rock was good. Mostly uneventful, and certainly uneventful compared to the rest of the story. I was able to finish up early, so by the time I was in my car diving away it was 9:30pm on the dot. With my journal of hand written directions (I have a primitive phone and our printer was broken) and a free cup of coffee, I was off to drive through the night to Michigan with only a 3 hour wiggle room on top of the 10 and a half hours I knew it would take me.

The night drive wasn’t super horrible. I really don’t mind driving, and I’ve never had issues with feeling sleepy that I couldn’t fix with some coffee or pulling off the road for a quick nap. I had a good stack of CDs and talked on the phone to some friends for some of the earlier parts of it. The hardest bit was between 2am and 3am. In my head, after I hit 3am, I was no longer up really late, but rather up really early. And I knew that in 2 and half hours (which is relatively short time in the context of 10) I would see the sun. The sweet, sweet sun.

I arrived in Ann Arbor with little event. My dad takes regular business trips up there, and a co-worker of his, Alayne, said that I could stay with her. That was awesome because she lives downtown very close to where I was playing. It was super awesome because it turns out that she’s super awesome. She was already at work when I arrived, but had left a key for me so I was able to let myself in and shower and take a little nap (keep in mind this woman has never met me). Then I headed off to the festival.

I had no idea that the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair was such the big to-do. But apparently it’s one of the city’s largest events. I was listening to the radio the next day on my way home and I heard that about half a million tourists come in for it. I believe it. It was packed, and it was a Wednesday afternoon. Because it was so packed, I drove around for a little while looking for a parking space that didn’t cost $20. I finally found one not too far away from town, so I parked and headed off to the heart of downtown. I had a ridiculous caffeine hangover, hadn’t slept in over 24 hours, and the only thing on my mind was getting a friggen bagel (pay attention, this is foreshadowing).

After getting some food (tofu, not a bagel), I headed to the opposite end of the HUGE art fair to the HUGE tent where I was playing. I wish I had any sort of camera with me to document how big this tent was, and my surprised face that I was booked to play there. There were lots of tables set up under the tent so that people could eat their lunch while listening to music. I’m bad at crowd estimation (and any sort of estimation in general), but I’d guess 40 to 50 people were just hanging out while I was playing? I had a fantastic time and met a bunch of neat people. Everyone was very friendly.

The adventure comes (besides the through the night driving), when it was about 3pm and I decided to get my car and head back to the house for a nap and a shower. Except, as I’m walking towards my car, I realize…I don’t…exactly know where towards my car is. I’d manage to pay ZERO attention to ANY land marks, street signs, remarkable bushes, nothing. Not a thing. I had absolutely no clue where I parked. Paired with an impressive lack of directional prowess, I knew I was in for it. I didn’t freak out, I figured, if I just keep walking around EVENTUALLY I will find my vehicle. A half an hour passes. An hour passes. I’m lugging my backpack and guitar in the hot sun. I’d forgotten to put sunscreen on. My face is burning. Two hours pass. I think, “This is a test of my tenacity. I’m going to keep my cool.” Honestly, my cool was maintained. I was frustrated and very hot, and the temptation to freak out was on me, but that would have done nothing. The three-hour mark of the great vehicle search was swiftly approaching, when I stumble on a parking lot that I SWORE was the one I park in, except of course, for the absence of my car. So I’m convinced that my car has been towed, and that would make sense since almost 3 hours of searching I haven’t found it. So I call the towing company and they said they nor their sister company has my car. They said that if it was gone, then it probably was stolen and they gave me the number of the police. So at this point, I’m convinced my car has been stolen. Great. I’m in Michigan for the first time ever, and my car has been stolen.

I meet up with Alayne after she’s done with work. She is as cool as a cucumber, and suggests we head over to the police station because it’s nearby and we might as well put in a police report in person. We head over there and they could not have been nicer. Pregnant Sassy Lady took my report (I wanted to be her), and while she was in the process of taking it 2 cops walked in and asked what was wrong, and then headed right back out the door to look for my car as soon as they heard. I know the whole time, everyone was thinking, “No one would want to steal her car.” It’s true. I love Little Car, but she’s a 2000 Mazda protege with no working AC, one working speaker, and a dysfunctional sunroof. Then, a police man who we discover later is the chief deputy, offers to take us in his cop car and drive us around to make sure that I’m sure that I actually parked where I think I might have parked. His name was Melvin. He gently explains that this happens ALL the time, that people KNOW they parked somewhere, but their car ends up being on the other side of town. He asks me what I remember, and all I can remember are restaurants that I saw entering downtown (cuz I was soooo hungry). Using some impressive basic police work, he and Alayne were able to figure out exactly what side of town I parked based on that. And, voila, there it was. And the parking lot looked NOTHING like the one I was convinced my car was stolen from. It’s a good example of how unreliable eye-witness testimonies are. I was too relieved to have my car to feel completely and utterly like a dumbass (but just hot and tired enough to feel slightly like one).

It definitely wouldn’t have been the bearable adventure it was if it hadn’t been for Alayne, who was laid back and humorous. Car debacle resolved, cold shower had, veggie burritos made, I was able to enjoy a fun evening with Alayne and her dog, Rico Suave. Then it was an early morning, a quick breakfast, and back on the road, less than 24 hours after I’d arrived.

This weekend I played at Bele Chere in Asheville NC as a street performer. It was a fun, exhausting, and profitable time. I’m chillin’ here in Asheville for the rest of the week, staying with a friend of mine. I’m looking forward to this time to work on getting Coiled Like Springs on iTunes, all the songs and lyrics on it up here on my site, sending out some postcards, exploring downtown Asheville (to find good places to play in the future), driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway and swimming in some swimming holes, going to the local drum circle, writing some new songs, maybe do a little home recording, and other fun/kind of worky things.

You’ll be hearing from me soon. And of course, and always, drop me a line and say hey.

1 Comment

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  1. Erin, that’s sounds awful! I’ve had this happen to me at the airport but thankfully the airport parking garage wasn’t as big as downtown Ann Arbor so I finally found it.

    Can’t wait to read on…have fun and dream big!

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