Monday, July 17, 2006

Holiday in the Sun Part 1: The Corpulent Man and the Guitar

Check in time at the Winner's Circle Last Resort in Solana Beach, CA is 4:00. We usually get there late, say, 6:00. It's a 90 mile drive from Rio Nada and we never, ever hit the road on time. And if we ever do, we still get there late because the traffic on the 5 South is always in slowmo from Oceanside to Imperial Beach. (I watched the first moon landing on a dinky black and white Magnavox TV with a coat hanger antennae in Imperial Beach).

But this year, we were way ahead of schedule. So we stopped in Carlsbad to check out Giacolleti's Music Store in the Village. I hadn't been there in a year or two so Liam Canary and I decided to check it out. They usually have an excellent ukulele selection and for a time had carried some one of a kind handmade ukes that a guy from Temecula makes that are visually intriguing and sonically impressive. Brother Atom Bomb of Reflection bought one a few years back that is shaped like a shark egg but sounds much better.

I was a little disappointed this time. There were two Flukes, a Lanakai and a wall full of gaudy things that had tiny "Made in China" stickers on the back of each fretboard. I am suspect of ukes that are made in China.

But I did find a case for my Arthur Godfrey Vega Baritone.

I was putting my Vega in the case and taking my money out of my pocket when the bell on the door tinkled and in walked a corpulent guy carrying a guitar in a hardshell case. The guy looked like he should be setting bowling pins somewhere, not carrying a guitar around Carlsbad. He had a sloppy blue shirt that didn't button right, a pair of cheap flip flops and extra large glasses that listed starboard. He had a bit of a waddle and a reedy voice.

He wanted to sell the guitar to Eddie Giacolletti, the owner's rockabilly son.

"It's a Seagull from Canada. 25th Anniversary. Only 2,000 made." he said, "I'll sell it for $200 bucks."

"Sweet guitar," Eddie answered, "Nice wood! Cedar! But man, I ain't got the cash!"

The corpulent guy looked at Eddie for a moment, turned and shuffled out the door.

I was leaning on the counter with the cash for the case in my hand when it dawned on me that maybe this guitar thing was an opportunity that shouldn't get away. "Hey Eddie," I said "Was that guitar worth $200?"

"Hell, the case is worth $200!" Eddie popped.

We were out the door faster than a Mahavishnu lick. Vivage and Princess were in the bead shop across the street and they had the cash! And there was the guitar guy lolling down the street in the oppposite direction with the guitar slung across his back!

We snaggged the cash from Vivage and ran out the bead shop door. Schnikeys! Guitar guy had vanished!

" He can't be far." Liam said "He can't shuffle that fast! You go that way and I'll head down toward the beach!"

We ran like a couple of canaries on fire.

I was running fast, dodging old ladies and strollers, sticking my face in every antique shop and overpriced diner I passed. He was nowhere.

SCREEEECH!!!!! THUMP! THUMP! There was Vivage, Princess and Liam sitting on the sidewalk in the SUV.

"Hop in!" hollered Princess, "This'll be faster!"

I hopped in the Montero and we zoomed down the street with one purpose: Find the Corpulent Guitar Guy!

After driving up and down every street, road and alley in the city of Carlsbad, after asking every tourist, citizen, bum and gas station guy, it became clear that we were wasting our time. The Guitar Guy had simply vanished. Our search was futile. We gave a collective sigh and headed down Village Drive toward Pacific Coast Highway. The new Johnny Cash CD played sweetly as we headed down the highway to our well deserved vacation.

"THERE HE IS!!!" screamed Princess.

He was at the train station ten steps away from boarding the Coaster Express headed South.

Vivage gunned it and crossed into opposite lanes, nearly mowing down a passle of bicyclists in Spandex, and raced towards the Coaster parking lot. He was just stepping on to the train when Liam and I jumped from the car and ran toward the open train door. The Guy disappeared into the car as we approached.

We were stopped at the door by a burly conductor with one hand on his hip and the other raised in the international "Stop Right There" position.

"We wanna buy the guitar from that guy!!" we yelled.

"The Coaster must leave. Either get on or step back from the Coaster!" said the Conductor.

"But the guitar..."

"Get on or step back!"

"But we don't know where you're going!"

"San Diego!"

"Duh!" we thought.

"At least give him our phone number and ask him to call. Please?" I begged.

And the big conductor laughed a hellish, nasty laugh as the Coaster door slammed shut and the train began to roll South toward San Diego, screeching, blaring and messing up our hair.

No matter where you are on Pacific Coast Highway between San Clemente and San Diego, you can see the Coaster as it rolls up and down the coast through Carlsbad, Encinitas, Solana Beach, clacking and clanging as it passes by. We must have seen seen it 20 times as we ate at some cafe or sat on the beach. We saw it as we sat on kayaks a half mile out in the Pacific. Another time it was five miles up the coast when we spied it from the window of a second story Indian Restaurant in La Jolla. We saw it from the top deck of the Del Mar Racetrack as our horse came in second and from Dog Beach when we tried to fly our kites, teasing, mocking and pernicious with its sounds.


Blogger vivage said...

Mystery Corpulant Guy, where are you?

You forgot the part where I screeched the Montero to a halt, leaving smoking hot rubber on the pavement. All eyes turned to us and you and Liam flew from the car doors sprinting at top speed!

10:55 PM  

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