Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Sorry, Not Sorry

Jackson Ward is happening today.

First thing in the morning - okay 10:00, but who's keeping score? - I amble down Marshall Street toward an obvious "situation," complete with multiple police cars, a fire engine and a totaled car upside down against a seriously messed-up parked car.

The car's driver has already been taken to the hospital, but I join the other onlookers in pondering how on earth such a crash could've happened in a neighborhood with a speed limit of 25 mph and a stop sign on two of the corners.

Somebody needs parental guidance driver's school or perhaps an intervention. How could this have happened to someone who wasn't in an altered state?

Walking back later from an interview at Lift, a woman standing on the porch of a nearby house tells me the parked car had been hers.

"I had to put on pants just to walk down there and see what had happened," she shares about the hardships of her morning. "Then I just called the tow company when I saw it."

At the intersection in question, I hear my name called (along with, "Look at that tan!") from the other side of a car and head toward it, oblivious to who it might be. Just my favorite chef/gardener, that's who, along with her intern and daughter.

We chat about costume ideas for the "Coming to America" show and promise to catch up then.

The invitation was direct: Take a long long lunch break, come back from the beach early, do what you need to come to this. You won't be sorry. Oh, and it's free.

I can take a hint and besides, it helps to be the boss. What I hadn't anticipated was eight boys for every girl.

Guitarist Steve Gunn was playing at Steady Sounds, meaning I passed the crash site for the fifth time heading to it.

He and another guitarist were already warming up ("We're gonna do as much tuning as playing music," Gunn cracked) when I walked in to a sea of guitar nerds wearing everything from an Alice in Chains cap to a Slugbug t-shirt.

One guy had apparently slipped away from his job at one of our national outdoor treasures since he was wearing a park ranger uniform. People I'd never seen in work clothes showed up looking conventional.

From my perch in front of bins of "New Disco, R & B, Re-edits," I spot two friends who work for VCU, one from a favorite restaurant and an editor.

All guys and the usual suspects, in other words.

Gunn's songs came across like meditations, but full of embellishments from the two very talented men playing an assortment of five guitars.

It was so easy to get lost in the stellar guitar playing - lots of hooks, tasty solos and enough meandering to keep the geeks' eyes on the two guitarists' hands - that when his vocals were added to the mix partway through, it was almost surprising.

Midway through their abbreviated set in advance of a show tonight at the Southern in C-ville, a photographer friend lifted his phone and began a fast panning of the crowded record store on a Tuesday afternoon.

"Uh-oh, some of us are playing hooky," the friend next to me whispered. The restaurant friend had already cut out early due to guilt, so he missed being caught in the act, unlike the rest of us.

I like to think that what happens at Steady Sounds in the middle of the day stays at Steady Sounds and that's coming from one who doesn't even have to worry about answering to a higher up.

Walking the two blocks home with a fellow attendee behind me, I saw that he was now parked where the woman's car had been attacked earlier. Naturally, I had to tell him the story.

Turns out he's moving a half a block from me come August 1, so we made our introductions, shook hands and talked about the neighborhood from my vantage point as a ten year resident.

"That's wild! Sounds like I'm going to love it here!" he enthused.

I can't predict the future, my friend, but I feel safe saying you're never going to be bored. That much I can assure you.

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