Scootin’ along

Last year, prior to my blogging hiatus, I wrote about renting a scooter. Subsequently I promised to share that experience here, so let’s get to it.

NAMM. The National Association of Music Merchants as it used to be known, now called the International Music Products Association. This is a convention held each January in Anaheim, CA and it is the Holy Grail for musicians. Anybody who is (or wants to be) anybody finagles a pass for this trade event in order to check out the latest and greatest in gear, catch up with old friends, network and be seen. (Back in the old days we’d make up badge names to give to our friends like Dwight Mansburden, Mike Oxlong, and of course the Stitz sisters, Gloria and Norma ~ think on it, you’ll get them. But I digress….)

So after my NY debacle, this is where I opted to make my scooter debut. I rented this cool red number that was delivered to the Marriott for me. When the bellman rode it in, he looked pretty happy and a tiny bit smug, and at that point I wasn’t sure why. Whatever dude, here’s a couple of bucks, thank you very much.

I stopped and started and jerked it up to my room. Music hipsters, generally with attitude, held the elevator doors, asked others to wait, gave me big smiles and aided me in guiding my way up to my floor. I was genuinely warmed by their helpfulness, and quite frankly, a little surprised. I’d run into a lot of these same folks in previous years later at night and they were not nearly so genteel.

In the morning, I gathered my briefcase, computer, purse, media kits, a sweater and loaded up the buggy. I banged into every surface of the hotel room maneuvering out into the hall and finally got sorted out and on my way. The same ilk of hipsters (slightly less effusive on the dawn, but still helpful) got me down to the lobby and I was on my way. Once I got outside to a clear sidewalk, I got the bellman’s smirk. This sucker was fast!!

There was just one tiny problem. In addition to being fast, it had a hair trigger going both forward and backward. My fingers have a tendency to be a little numb all the time, so I couldn’t always tell how much juice I was giving, or which direction (forward or backward) I was going. No matter, let’s get on with it!

I pulled into our booth where our marketing manager Kirby was suitably impressed (and I think a little jealous) when he saw my cool ride. Showing off a little, I gunned it, and proceeded to go through the wall of our booth right into the one behind us. Uh oh. I was laughing so hard I was crying. A nice, tiny, foreign woman came around the corner apologizing for her booth having been in the way and Kirby shooed me off while he took matters into his very capable hands. I felt I was off to an auspicious start. (In hindsight, I was laid off 2 months later, so perhaps it wasn’t so auspicious after all).

At any rate, I had a wonderful time motoring around as did my clients. This was my 29th NAMM show (as in yes, I attended my first show in 1981) so of course there was a lot of meeting with old friends, who all wanted to take a spin. My friends John and Dusty really took it for all it was worth and raced around the convention center sending attendees scattering. It was joyful to watch.

I was sorry on my final day to turn it back into the bellman (who was happy to see me, and now I knew why). Not only did I feel remarkably refreshed after a 5 day convention, but I had discovered a new side to the  humanity of NAMMsters.

I made myself a deal years ago that I wouldn’t go to NAMM for 30 years ¬†(egad ~ an old rockster, the worst!) and thanks to the alignment of stars and endless management changes at my old company, I will not be attending this month. That is a relief, but I must admit, after finally taking the scooter plunge, I was kind of looking forward to again hurtling around on that bitchin’ red scooter, as I’m sure were Dusty and John.

One thought on “Scootin’ along

  1. I remember the moment you informed me that you had MS. I later become aware that you’d been diagnosed years earlier, but since you’re one of the most vibrant people I’ve ever known, it was absolutely shocking to me to hear the news.

    You’d told me beforehand that you’d be using a scooter at the NAMM show that year, and I must admit; I cringed a little. Your trademark strength, with a confident stride as you made your way down the aisles (often tugging various ad reps and editors behind you like the wake of a speedboat), had become part of the show for me over the many years we worked together. There was something about the idea of seeing you in need of mechanical assistance that made me sad… until I actually saw you at the show.

    There you were, your smile as big and bright as always, and now people were having to actually break into a jog to keep up with your shiny red scooter. I’m pretty sure I had to make a football-like wide receiver move to juke out of your way as you turned a corner. I’m not entirely positive that you even had all three wheels on the ground at the moment. Feeling the pain in my own feet and legs, the pity I anticipated feeling toward you quickly morphed into jealousy. While I certainly appreciate my physical abilities to handle a long and grueling trade show, I can definitely see the benefits of having a bad motor scooter on which to cruise around!

    Anyway, it’s a pleasure to read this blog and see with no doubt that you are as strong and funny as ever. I have several friends fighting MS, and I’m going to be pointing them in this direction since you seem to tell your story in a fun and inspirational way without glossing over the rough edges. In other words, keep being you, and like always, you’ll bring light to everyone around you.

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