Today was a bad day… This morning, after driving home through the night from North Carolina, we managed to not securely latch the side door of the trailer when we dropped everyone off at Joel’s house. When we got back to our place to unload our stuff, I opened the side door and both of our suitcases were missing…
Moments later a Range Rover pulled up and the guy shouted, “You guys lose some luggage back there?”
“Yes!” I replied, still in shock.
“Well, I saw it fall out back there, so I grabbed it…” He replied
Oh. my. god… Relief flooded through me… Nothing like coming so close to disaster and avoiding it at the last moment.
He got out, popped open his back door, and there was my suitcase just sitting there… “Great” I said, “What about the other one?”
“Sorry man, I didn’t see anything else…”
The relief I had felt was instantly banished from my body by that wretched sinking feeling again… I don’t even think I was able to adequately thank the guy because my brain just ceased to function in that moment… I looked up and saw Natalie’s face… I couldn’t believe this was happening.
I jumped back in the van… Natalie, fighting off tears and panic, jumped in the Suburban and we headed back to retrace our steps. I called Joel and he popped right out of bed to start scouring his neighborhood while we were on our way… It was not a fun drive.
However I did think, thank goodness we decided to just head to our place instead of Columbia… Trying to retrace our steps from the five minute drive between Joel’s house and ours was making my face numb… The thought of trying to retrace the hour drive down to Nat’s parents… That probably would have melted my brain.
I pull into Joel’s neighborhood and I see his truck coming towards me… Adrenaline and anticipation are pulsing through me… Please let him have found it… Please let this be over…
So I whipped the trailer around to head back to the interstate and scour the on-ramps… It’s got to be there… As I pulled back onto the street I saw Natalie headed up the block in the Burb… As she got closer I could see tears and mascara all over her face… Having to look her in the eye and shake my head was the worst feeling… But we pressed on… We drove the route from our place back to Joel’s four times…
Even Ryan headed back in from Mt. Juliet to help and drove it himself.
… I couldn’t believe this was happening.
The issue wasn’t the shirts or the jeans or the hair dryer… Natalie doesn’t care about that stuff… It’s the belt that she wore on both her album covers… The jewelry that has been gifts from her family… The tools she’s been using to get ready for shows since she was a kid… That’s the stuff that broke her heart to think is gone.
The good news is that it’s all stuff and it can all be replaced… Unfortunately some of that stuff was awfully important to her.
I will ultimately take responsibility for what happened this morning, I should have gone back and checked the door myself before we drove off… To me today is less about the suitcase itself and more about the fact that we failed to do something so simple and it let her down in such a big way…
Obviously, for the most part, we are very good when it comes to this stuff… We have come a long way from my dorm room at 150 MASS Ave.
The problem is that with certain things, doing it right 99% of the time is just not good enough. There’s no extra credit for good effort with a lot of things in life and in this business. And if we are going to be ambitious in life and this business, this stuff matters.
Getting things right under ideal circumstances… When we’re rested… When it’s nice and warm outside… When we’ve got plenty of time… Is easy.
If you can’t do that then you don’t even deserve to play the game… But in order to achieve anything worth achieving, it’s about getting stuff done right when you are tired… When you are cold… When you are in a hurry… And every step we take further down this road, the stakes are going to be higher… The consequences are going to be greater… And the amount of things that we have to get right is going to grow.
There is still a small chance that we will still get her suitcase back. We will call in tomorrow to the police station and see if anyone called the cops when they saw it laying in the middle of the street.
If not, we will just start replacing all the stuff that Natalie needs. It will be fine… Thank goodness Natalie does not lust after expensive jewelry and clothes… And thank goodness we work enough that we are able to get it done… But in the end, it’s more about letting her down…
Even if I wasn’t married to her, I would still think she’s pretty awesome… And she didn’t even get out of the van this morning. She was in there writing us all checks for the shows this weekend and we dropped the ball… That’s a tough pill to swallow tonight.
Will losing this suitcase prevent us from achieving our dreams? Of course not… But even though it sounds obvious, every step we take back is a step we are not taking forward… Things will happen… Transmissions will die… Tires will go flat… Gear will break… You can’t control that stuff… Which is why it’s so important to make sure we affect the things we can… Like double checking locks.
However, I don’t believe that these things are random… There is a reason we are supposed to be learning this lesson again today…
Achieving big dreams starts with doing the little things right. Booking a tour to the middle east where we land on aircraft carriers and hang out of helicopters started with Natalie going door to door in Nashville and sitting at the bar with her press kit and not leaving until the bar manager would talk to her.
Getting a tour bus, hiring roadies, guitar techs, and sound guys… Starts with us being focused and doing the little things right every day… Getting rest… Taking care of gear… Making sure the 17 webpages we maintain are all updated and accurate… Being nice to the people around us… Double checking the locks on our trailer. All those things…
And it’s getting harder… Every year there are more moving parts… More things to keep track of… More things we have to get right.
But the good news is that means we’re getting close… That all the years of hard work we have put into this are starting to pay off… But we have to deliver on our end… Every day… Every show… Everywhere we go.
I know we can do this… Let the lesson we all take from today, whether we get the suitcase back or not, be that it’s time to gear up for the real push. It’s time to stop being too tired to double check the side door… Too worn out to think ahead to the show in front of us and see what we need to do to make it better… Too distracted to double check the details on the calendars… Too timid with the things we are uncomfortable with to get them done… There are good excuses for almost everything… But winners don’t make excuses, they just get it done…
Life is a game of inches and the inches we need are all around us.
We are staring at an opportunity to achieve things that most people never will…. But it’s up to us… The big things, the small things… We’re all in this together.
It’s time to step up and make it happen.