I carry a wooden box around with me to a lot of the places I visit. In fact, the reason for my visiting so many of these places is directly linked to the fact that I carry around a wooden box with me. People stare at my box with a curious and puzzled look across their face. Some make attempts at guessing what it is; a cat house, an animal-transporting vessel, an old-fashioned suitcase. A few geniuses actually guess correctly at what it is. "That's one of those box drums, ain't it?" Yes, yes it is, I assure them. They proudly nod to themselves like they knew it from a mile away.
I recently attempted to bring my wooden box--called a cajon; meaning "drawer" in Spanish--to the great State of Texas so that I could play some concerts with my friend Grayson. I make sure to keep my cajon close to me at all times because it is extremely fragile and the airline baggers rarely treat it with the care it requires.
I carry it on with me to the plane, knowing full well that it doesn't really fit into the overhead bins, nor does it squeeze beneath my feet under the seat in front of me. Even with this knowledge, I still take it with me because the poor thing doesn't travel well with others and I don't want to risk it being digested to bits in the belly of the plane.
After three trips up and down the aisle of my plane from Sacramento to Phoenix, trying to find a safe place for my cajon to be settled, the pilot finally saved the day by agreeing to personally carry the cajon with him from our current plane to the plane we'd be flying on to Dallas, which he, coincidentally, was also flying on as a passenger.
I left it to him. And was honored that the box would be under such qualified supervision.
Once landed in Phoenix, we made our way on to our Dallas flight and got comfy in our seats. We noticed that the passenger across the aisle from us was the captain from our last flight. I smiled at him with an expression of gratitude for what he had done for me. He looked back at me with an expression of confusion and epiphany.
"You just came from Sacramento, right?" He asked.
He slapped himself on the forehead and mumbled under his breath.
"I forgot your box thingy." He said. "Are you going to need it soon?"
I told him that I was going to be needing it real soon, that it was an instrument and that it was pretty fragile. He was really upset at his forgetfulness. I sat there feeling helpless.
The pilot managed to make some calls and have the cajon flown in three hours later on another flight from Phoenix to Dallas. Somewhere along the way they put a "RUSH" sticker on it.
My first grade teacher used to say that haste makes waste. It was alway annoying when she said it over my shoulder, breathing her cigarette breath into my ear. However, she was right. Haste often does make waste.
When my cajon showed up, rushed into my arms, it looked like it had been treated like a wooden box and not a cajon.
The positive ending to this story is that some really intelligent gorillas invented an adhesive that they sell at Lowes, which can be used to fix a lot of things. The cajon's wounds have healed and the shows have gone on.
We're in Oklahoma now, near OKC, in Sooner territory. We ended up renting a Crown Victoria to cruise around in and we're feeling pretty awesome about that.