A Rainy Day with a Guitar

by keithrlau

I didn’t have a car when I was a teenager. I walked everywhere. I used to go places with my guitar. I’d take it to school for music classes, or to a friend’s place to practice. I remember walking in the rain with my guitar. I’d be worried about it, as I didn’t have a case. But whatever, I needed to be places.

Today, I’m driving. I have the heater on. It’s cozy. I’m older and fatter. I’ve never been cool, no difference there. And it’s raining. I stop at an intersection and I see three teenage boys. They’re navigating the gray, windy rain. Three dorky teenagers.

One kid has a guitar in a case.  Must be nice.  Another is carrying the most modest-looking practice amp that has ever been built. We’ll call him, “The Roadie”.

The Roadie had an intensity in his eyes. He’s carrying the guitarist’s rig. He is devoted to his rock-star friend. Someone needs to do the grunt work. Someone’s gotta haul this rig. Intensity is the fuel. Guitar God is moving through the rain, like an awkward newborn colt. The Roadie in tow.

I just want to jump out of my car and talk shop with these kids. I want to talk about guitars. Cars piling up behind my derelict car. I kinda miss the rain, I guess.

I’m watching these kids and they see me looking. The Roadie narrows his eyes. Not in a threatening manner, or like a puffer fish. It was like a proud peacock. He’s the roadie!

It became clear that from where these guys were standing that I wasn’t cool. Or a peer. I was a random adult, in his warm, cozy car. And they were the reckless youth of the times. They’d probably have spikes going through their nostrils if their moms would only give consent.

And I think for the first time, I genuinely felt “old”. I kinda hate that shtick.

“I’m getting old! Kids nowadays!” And now that’s me. With my New Balance shoes. And my warm car. No rain gumming up the works. Just Toto playing on my Pandora radio station.

But ultimately, the real sign of my lameness isn’t any of that. For one thing, I don’t own any New Balance shoes. They’re Sketchers, thank you very much. But they look just like New Balance.

No, for me the real tip-off was that I was viewed as a dork by the roadie.