Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Michelle and I decided that we'd go to St. Louis to see my family and wait for our FEMA money, which would allow us to go to Lafayette or wherever we'd decide to go.

That morning I spent four hours at a Saturn dealership getting my car looked at. I was already a few hundred miles over my scheduled oil change, and that, combined with having an egg in the front tire and a weird wobbling when the car went over 70 mph, made me a bit wary about driving 900+ miles without it being looked at. It's a good thing I did, because one of the back tires, which I'd put a Fix-A-Flat in a couple months back, had its insides nearly rotted out.

The Saturn dealership was a weird experience. When I drove up, this guy came out and asked what I needed done. I told him my situation, that I'd left New Orleans and was planning on going farther north and needed it checked out before I left. He said that was fine, and asked if I planned to wait on the car. Before I could respond, he said, "Well, I'm sure you are because it's not like you're going home any time soon!" All I could do is look at him while he laughed at his bad joke.

Then I'm sitting in the waiting area, and some woman sat next to me. The receptionist, who evidently knew this woman, came over and said, "I just HAVE to forward you this e-mail. It's called "Why you deserve to lose everything you own in a fire!" I sat there and thought, "Maybe I'm just a tad touchy today, but I've maybe lost everything I own, and I don't find that particularly funny." But I said nothing because I didn't want to create a scene, or be one of those people who flip out because my world's upside down and others are normal.

On the bright side, the manager of the dealership only charged me parts, not labor, and didn't charge me for the tune-up and 20,000 mile checkup, which brought my almost $600 bill down to under $250, with two new tires included. Which almost made up for the (maybe) unintentional rudeness of his employees.

I left the dealership, went back to Toby's, and we packed the car. Toby actually came home to see us off, so after we said our goodbyes, we were on the road again. I didn't want to make the entire drive at once, so we shacked up at a Holiday Inn in Lake Texarkana for the night.

That night I got some disheartening news. Chris Watson, who owns the label Park The Van, was probably moving to Philadelphia. His girlfriend, Sabrina, who's actually from the Westbank, got a job offer to design album covers. The offered salary was a pretty hefty raise on what she was making in New Orleans, and they were seriously thinking about taking it. Chris had just signed up to sell ads for us, specifically to labels. He has great contacts because of his label, and we've always enjoyed working together, so it seemed to be a match made in heaven. This was the first time things felt different.

Other AG writers had already decided to stay away. Santos and his girlfriend went to S. Carolina, and was trying to go into photography school anyway, so this simply sped up his timetable. Miles had his house in the 9th Ward wiped out, along with Lizzie, who did publicity for the House of Blues. They said they'd likely end up in her hometown, Jacksonville, or in one of the Carolinas.

Somewhat depressed, I went to sleep.
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