This is a completely personal blogpost. With no videos, for reasons that will become apparent.
The Beloved is experimenting with life in Northern California — an experiment I support with all my heart — and we had spent a month together, having a good time. Yesterday, I left her with tears in our eyes, took a small suitcase and my red knapsack (more about the latter in a minute) and began what would be a long journey back to the New York suburb where I live. A bus to an airplane to the Air Train to a cab to my car, which I had parked at a friend’s house.
But let us return to the red knapsack, because that — and its contents — are of the greatest interest to JAZZ LIVES’ readers. Inside it, I had packed my Panasonic HDC-HS700 video camera, which I have been delighting in since April 2010, the Rode external microphone, a half-dozen external batteries, an external hard drive, my iPod, my tripod . . . the tools by which I have been, I hope, spreading musical joy to the people who read this. (And, yes, there are papers in the knapsack that have my name, address, and email.)
I was exhausted when I came to my car at 2 AM. I slung the suitcase and the knapsack into the car’s trunk — the lid didn’t want to close, but I slammed it down, got in the car, and headed to my apartment, about twelve minutes away on a cold Sunday morning. When I parked the car, I went back to the trunk to retrieve my precious stuff: but the lid of the trunk was open about six inches and the knapsack was not there. I assume that had bounced out on a turn or a pothole.
I felt ill, got back into the car, and retraced my route. No knapsack by the side of the road or at least none that I saw in the darkness. When I woke up this morning, I did the route once again with the same results.
I feel many emotions at this point. Hopeful — will the phone ring and someone ask for me and say, “Did you lose something?” And I will say, “Yes, that would be me,” and begin writing a reward check for some person’s loving honesty. Bereft — I carried that knapsack to Whitley Bay, to Chautauqua, to The Ear Inn, to many places in California and . . . . And in some way, I think, “Those are my things, my tools, with which I have recorded and made permanent the irreplaceable sounds!” But I also know they are just THINGS. Things can, with inconvenience and money, be replaced.
I also bleakly can envision a truck running over the knapsack with a loud crunch of metal and plastic . . .
I am trying very hard to ward off the Second Arrow — a most useful spiritual metaphor. If you trip over a table and hurt your shin, that is the First Arrow. If you immediately turn on yourself and snarl, “What kind of dumbass trips over a table?” you have taken your own hand and stuck the Second into yourself. I had sixteen bars of “You should have locked the trunk; you should have been more careful,” but as far as I know, sitting in front of this computer calling myself names will not hasten the knapsack’s return.
“Gee, that’s awful,” some of you might be saying. “But why is Michael writing this? Is this an appeal for money?” NO. Most assuredly not.
I am writing this for reasons I don’t entirely understand myself: sometimes putting something in print makes it endurable. But mostly I am asking my readers to help me out in intangible ways. I think we all — whether we are dancing, on the treadmill, making quinoa, sitting on the couch — generate certain kinds of energy. “May your happiness increase” as part of every blogpost is my effort to send a certain kind of energy to everyone.
I would like everyone who has ever enjoyed JAZZ LIVES to imagine a good outcome to this freakish story. The easiest outcome to imagine is that my phone rings and there is a happy reunion between Myself and the Red Knapsack. Another outcome is that someone finds the knapsack and keeps its contents to video someone (s)he loves. I can envision that. Or even if it ends up being sold, that the money makes someone happier than before — my accident brings someone aid and comfort.
Would my readers be willing to send swinging joy through the world — thinking of my Red Knapsack and Me? It surely can’t hurt. “Prayer” sounds too religious for me, and there are certainly people and situations who need it more than I do. But if we are asked at a performance of PETER PAN to keep Tinkerbell from dying, and we do it, and it works, why not in the jazz world?
I thank you for reading this. And I will keep you informed.
May your happiness increase.