The Drive

[Photo Credit: Kelly Sikkema]

[Photo Credit: Kelly Sikkema]

People have commented on how vague I can be immediately following the heady heights of my shows. There must be something about leaving all my energy on stage that leaves me open to making very stupid decisions immediately after performing.

It doesn’t help that I usually insist on being the tour driver.

After a massive concert at a venue near Campbelltown, Sydney, tour regular, Mark D and I packed all our merch and clothes into the car rental and set off to our accommodation.

In this case, we were being hosted by a lovely family. We’d been at their house earlier in the day. I typed their address back into my navigation app and drove off into the night.

We pulled up outside their house, loaded our arms up with all our luggage and merch cases and Mark confidently grabbed the front door handle of their house. It was locked, so Mark did the usual Australian male thing and simply put greater effort into wiggling the door knob and in putting his weight behind the door. Still nothing.

Suddenly we were met by a piercing shriek from inside the house. We caught a glimpse of an older lady in her yellow nightie. Even in my post-gig haze, I was sure that we hadn’t ever met her before. It soon also dawned on me that this was not actually the house we were staying at. I’d never been here before. Or as Gandalf would say, “I have no memory of this place.”

We held up apologetic hands full of shirts and CDs as we smiled and bowed unthreateningly, hoping that she wouldn’t call the police, or wake the rest of her household. I wondered if she owned some Dobermans. She had that vibe. Not just the normal Dobermans, but those “Stealth Dobermans” that you read about in action adventure novels - the ones who have had their vocal chords removed so that they can't bark and warn their prey. The ones that are all teeth and are set to bring their silent terror to wayward musicians.

As my retreating behind bumped something in the dark of the night, I shrieked briefly with the strange falsetto of someone with an over-active imagination. Fortunately it wasn’t furry or baying for my blood - it was our hire car.

At this stage, we both burst out laughing. As you would realise from my previous tour tales, my tours have had me not far from hysterical laughter at a ridiculous moment’s notice. And for some reason, my tours are full of ridiculous moments. I’m pretty sure that it’s all the Tour Manager’s fault - Oh wait - I’m an independent artist with no staff. I AM the Tour Manager!

We gathered our thoughts. If this wasn’t the right house, where was the right house? We sat for a moment gazing off into the unlit street around us.

This street was one of those with only enough street lights to heighten the darkness around you. Those kind of street lights that just create evil shadows which flit about the unwary in malignant malevolence.

Mark D started going door to door while I crawled behind him (in the car). In retrospect, we did ourselves no favours that night. As Mark D continued down the street gazing intently at each house to trigger some sort of recollection, I opened my navigation app. The light of the screen bathed my face, making me even more of a target for any of the night creatures that would find me. Something smacked the side of the car window beside me. I jumped in my seat. A moth attracted to my smart-phone light now has a headache. It drunkenly flew off.

On my navigation app I examined the instructions I’d previously followed so carefully. Oh! I took one turn too soon! We were in the wrong street!

I called out into the night, “Mark!” I heard footsteps. The door was thrown open beside me. There stood Mark D, a slightly crazed look upon his face (or it might have been his “resting face” - I couldn’t tell).

A short turn later and we immediately recognised the house we were actually staying at. The front lights were on, welcoming us to this suburban oasis.

We regaled our hosts with our harrowing midnight tale of adventure. Rolling their eyes they told us that even the local mail-person delivered their mail to the house we’d been at.

We turned in, knowing that we’d dodged a few bullets that night. And in five hours we would be flying home. I carefully entered the airport location into my navigation app.

David Willersdorf is a singer-songwriter, traveller and food and coffee enthusiast


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