So. I won't lie - it's been semi-retirement around here. Ever since that couple took me out on the road, then dropped me back here at Walmart, I've kind of been hanging back on the shelf. True, I made a short trip out around Christmas, which blew. Took some dude in a pickup's rank laundry to Sudz a few times and then I was back with the other luggage. Trust me, Walmart is a good place to be at holiday time, if only to escape the godawful music that plays everywhere. These bastards are so cheap they won't pay the license and that's fine with me - at least a bag can hear himself think.
But the other day, I'm sitting there minding my own when I look up and over one of those new molded suitcase jobs and - it's her! The lady half of the sketch. I have to say, she looks tired.
It's late at night and there's nobody around and she starts talking. Telling me how she's been lately. Funny, cause we never talked back in the van. She tells me about these house concerts they've been having at their place and how it's fun and saves wear and tear on the vehicle.
What else...how they finally sent out the last of their Kickstarter rewards, and how she did a bunch of paintings for people and loved it so much it felt sad when that job was done - she felt like she'd had a new purpose in life.
She said she's still at it on this book she's been working on for a while and that with some more hard hours that'll come to a close soon too.
The guy's daughter and granddaughter came to visit and there was a lot of cooking and dancing and watching Toy Story and Shrek and then the house felt so quiet after they left.
How she misses this place, the Spotty Dog, where she had regular laughs working with books and beer but needed to let her shifts go because she and the man are going away a lot these days.
I have to admit my mind was kind of wandering when she was telling me all that personal stuff, but I hear the word "travel" and I'm all ears!
Seems there's been a few road trips: up to Boston area and Northampton too, where nice people came out to see them, and how playing is better than ever, especially since she got that guitar refret. Down to Virginia, Herndon and Richmond - she asks if I remember that trip down I-95 back in the fall and I nod. She says they stopped for barbq and listened to Lynyrd Skynyrd a lot of the way and suddenly I'm right back there on the floor of the van, bass thumping, "Freebird" blasting and it almost hurts, the memory is so strong. She says there's something about that stretch of I-95 from the Jersey Turnpike down past DC that feels like she's been riding it forever and will continue for ever...but that Maryland House rest area was knocked down and being rebuilt and that reminds her how things do change and it won't be the same awful place it was before and that makes her sad...
I think she's going off on a mopey tangent at this point but she pulls herself together and says they're off to the UK in a few days and I think that sounds like the kind of thing that could shake an old bag out of its doldrums, but then she's off on a tirade about the cost of airfares and how the third checked bag now costs double the price of the second checked bag and all that's saying to me is I won't be seeing Big Ben any time soon.
A woman and child come by looking for a suitcase and I wonder shouldn't the kid be in bed by now but if there's anything you learn being a bag it's that people have their reasons for everything. They move on and the lady drifts back over with a pack of Swiffers, a box of hair dye and a pint of Ben and Jerry's and laughs and says she has all the ingredients for a pretty wild night.
She's just walking away when she turns and lets drop about some US touring they'll be doing in May, and I can't help it, my heart lifts. Then she says goodbye, and I see her put a cellphone back in her purse.
I sink back onto the shelf. But I swear she turns and gives me a look before she heads to the checkout, as if to say "See you in the spring?"
Hey, I got nothing better to do. I'll just be here, kicking back until it's time to hit the road.
Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby Tour 2013
Wed Mar 6 Marc Riley Show BBC 6 Music Thu Mar 7 Stereo Glasgow UK Fri Mar 8 Gateshead Central Newcastle UK Sat Mar 9 New Adelphi Hull UK Sun Mar 10 Green Room Stockton on Tees UK Wed Mar 13 Prince Albert Brighton UK Thu Mar 14 Railway Winchester UK Fri Mar 15 Milfords London UK Sat Mar 16 Railway Hotel Southend on Sea UK Thu Mar 21 The Greystones Sheffield UK Fri Mar 22 Thunderbolt Bristol UK Sat Mar 23 The Rolleston Swindon UK Sun Mar 24 Marrs Bar Worcester UK
Sat Apr 13 Homemade Aeroplane Catskill NY Apr 18 - 20 Lawnya Vawnya Fest St. John's Newfoundland Canada Sun May 5 University Cafe Stony Brook NY Wed May 8 Lovin Cup Rochester NY Thu May 9 house concert Cleveland OH Fri May 10 Schubas Chicago IL Sat May 11 Music w/o Boundaries Manitowoc WI May 13 & 14 StuDome Winnipeg Manitoba Canada (more dates to be added)