I drove by James Baird State Park last night. It’s on the Taconic Parkway, just north of Poughkeepsie. Every time I’ve driven past that exit for the past eight months, I’ve kind of shuddered. It’s where my old car died back in August. Every time I’ve driven past James Baird State Park since August 2018 has been in either a rental, or my husband’s car. Or…the train. The train’s been great, cause it goes by the west side of the park so I don’t have to see the James Baird State Park sign.
It’s been a journey, these past eight months, trying to figure out what to do to replace that car. It’s been a journey in a lot of other ways, because Eric’s mother died just after and that’s been huge in our lives. She was in her nineties, we didn’t expect her to rally but you don’t simply go okay, goodbye and get on with things. Or you do, but you feel it every day in a lot of different ways. For Eric it’s working. I can’t believe he’s gotten a new album together and it’s stunning. I’ve been moving along to finish and publish my book and that’s happening in October. But I just haven’t been able to deal with looking for a car.
Down in Guatemala or was it Mexico (I swear this is the last time I will use either of those phrases…okay maybe I’ll do it one more time but then no more) I promised myself I would find a vehicle as soon as I arrived back home, before I left for a few dates taking me as far west as Delaware Ohio, near Columbus. That gave me approximately a week to find a car.
I’d kind of resolved to finance a newer car, something certified, something with a warranty. When I looked back over the life of my last car, a 2002 Subaru Forester, I had spent a fortune doing all the repairs it needed to keep running. So when the transmission went, at 220,000 miles, I couldn’t justify spending more to keep it going. There were just too many other problems waiting in the wings to send the car back into the shop while I walked, borrowed and rented more cars.
How many times have I sat at the side of the highway, waiting for a tow truck? At least as many times as the different cars I’ve owned. This last time really did it for me. Not to say you can’t have problems anytime, with any vehicle. Upstate, where we live, deer can take out a brand-new car as easily as an old beater. But…
I made appointments with the local dealers, the ones I’d heard good things about. The cars in my price range weren’t super-inspiring but they were serviceable, they worked and most had a few features I’d loved from my old Subaru: heated seats, AWD, moonroof. With amazing fuel efficiency that felt like it would help me save money. Why, this car would pay for itself in no time!
But…old habits die hard, and when you look into the world of newer cars, the possibilities are limitless. Whereas on Craigslist…
Oh why was I back on Craigslist? Because I didn’t want to make a practical decision for once in my life. I wanted what I always want, a bolt, an arrow of love, random chance meetings leading to intoxication, attachment. Or rough happenstance, you’ve got $1000 (or two, or three or four) to spend and goddammit, you’re going to make this work NOW, even if you pay and pay and pay down the line and together, with that thousand dollar vehicle, you make it through, you make it work, TOGETHER! That time we hitchihiked to a car rental place. That ride in the tow truck. That tackle/repair shop near Columbus, where I killed an afternoon and nearly missed the gig. That repair shop off the interstate, somewhere in Virginia, where I said goodbye.
Yes the lure of Craigslist. I called Dick, who had a decent-looking Honda Accord for sale. I mean, this car looked like a great bet for somebody. Dick was up north of Saratoga.
“So, do you have GPS? Well, either way, y’see – you cross over the railroad tracks and then make your first left – wait, what kind of car are you driving? Cause it’s a dirt road. You go down the road to the very end, about a quarter mile and you’ll see a bunch of cars…”
I’ve been there before. Not with Dick, but many times by now. I pictured driving up there, a window into the life of Dick, retired mechanic from the North Country. Another story unfolding in the form of a pile of metal, and rubber I would learn to love and make my own… I called Mike at Lacy Subaru.
So, I drove by James Baird State Park last night, in my new 2014 Subaru. I have shows all weekend, one next week, near Columbus. I don’t want to have to find out if the tackle/repair shop is still there.
Amy on tour (tickets and info here
- Fri Apr 5 Brooklyn NY El Cortez
- Sat Apr 6 Baltimore MD An Die Musik – A Folkal Point concert
- Sun Apr 7 Reading PA house concert
- Fri Apr 12 Delaware OH Pat Cave at Endangered Species
- Thu May 9 Catskill NY HiLo (w/Tim Higgins)
- Fri May 10 Bordentown NJ Randy Now’s
- Sat May 11 No. Andover MA Crossroads Music Series
- Thu May 23 Brighton UK Prince Albert
- Sun May 26 Malmo Sweden Folk e Rock
- Fri Jun 7 Philadelphia PA Dawson St Pub
- Sat Jun 8 Montclair NJ Outpost In The Burbs