Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A couple of weeks ago I was driving to a show in Danville, California, about 2 hours from Sacramento, when my van started acting up. It was stalling when I came to a stop. I drove the entire way in the slow lane – just in case. This was stressful. Since my biggest fear was that it would not start the next morning when I had to set up, I parked it at the show site the night before and got a ride with some friends. I figured as long as I knew I would be able to do the show, I would deal with whatever happened later.

After a sweltering weekend (a whole other story that involves paramedics) I did manage to get it home Sunday night and to the shop on Monday morning. They assured me they would have it in tip top shape before Thursday which was when I had to leave for my show down in La Jolla.

My van is a 1990 Dodge Ram Van with a great stereo. I bought it from another photographer about 5 years ago. He had already built platforms and cubbies for all the paraphernalia needed to do a show. A place for panels, a place for the ez-ups and places perfect for safely getting the art to the final destination. While this van was not the prettiest kid on the block, I took care of it and it got me where I needed to go - until last week.

The shop called to tell me there was no way they could get the part they needed to fix “Big Blue” (one of various pet names this van has been given) before I had to leave on Thursday and even if they could, it probably wasn’t worth putting that kind of money into.

Needless to say I was not prepared for this news. I thought that if I took care of “Van Morrison” and loved him with all his imperfections, he would transport me wherever I needed to go.

I am sad to announce that “Blue Van” will never again fly down the freeway, it’s driver singing along with the tunes coming out of the great stereo, and everything packed tightly in its proper place.

For the rest of the season I will be renting a non- descript, white van, just like everyone else drives. While this may sound boring and dull, it does come with some perks. Power windows, locks and mirrors, a rear view mirror (never knew how handy those were), better gas mileage and a certain sense of security that comes when driving a new vehicle. I don’t know what I will do next year. I really don’t need to make a decision right now. All I know is that I am really glad it started acting up when it did because breaking down on Highway 5 going south toward San Diego would have made me very grumpy.

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