Our intentions were good: drive up to Kalamazoo and see Tom’s first jazz concert at college. Tchaikovsky is okay, nice for daydreaming, but jazz is what we have been waiting for, the reason Tom went away. I mean, otherwise he could have stayed at home, shoveled goat manure, gone to school at IUSB.
It was just Jojo and me. Gene wanted to see it, agonized over missing it, but there was no way he could get there. He was in another time zone. You can see where this story is going, right? We didn’t make it to Kalamazoo. Any story that starts out with stated good intentions will have a tendency to stray.
The short story is this: The car battery gave out in Jones. The battery was old and the temperature was something like 20 degrees. Go figure. Jojo and I were stranded in the Shell gas station parking lot until Tom could rescue us after the concert, three and a half hours later. We passed the time playing cards, eating up the rest of the car battery listening to Radio Classics on Sirius, and munching on the leftover Halloween candy that our good intentions were bringing to Tom. I told Jojo about the last time something like this had happened to me. Some semi truck drivers hauled my 16-year-old butt and my car from St. Louis to Chicago, but that’s a long story for another day. By the time Tom rescued us we had heard enough stories and we were very cold.
Tom had had his adventures, too. Before the concert started he knocked a vocalist friend unconscious. It just wasn’t his day. It was a running hug that knocked them both off balance and slammed her head into the concrete floor. The paramedics had to come and take her to the ER. She didn’t get to sing. You never know when friendship and gregarious behavior is going to take a violent turn.
We made it home by midnight, though all of our good intentions had gone astray. The concert, according to Tom’s girlfriend Kelsey, was pretty good. I wish I could have seen it. I wish my feet weren’t still numb.