No Capo Needed

by Amy

I am finally getting around to setting up my office-slash-craft room in the third bedroom. Thank you, kind-of spring.

In the process of going through everything I have owned and deemed worthy of toting across the country and across the state, I have found some… interesting things. I found my entire CD collection, in various stages of disrepair. I found my old research project from my brief, yet miserable, foray into graduate school. I found beanie babies, the bikini I wore when i was a baby, an old Writer’s Market from 2006, old Wal-Mart receipts with poems scratched out on the back, Weight Watchers journals from 2001 (tuna fish and granola bars much?), and about eleventy bazillion notebooks with attempted and abandoned journals.

I am tempted to shake my head at the odd assemblage of crap that I have chosen to hang on to and spend energy moving over the years. But, every once in a while, my emotional packrattery pays off. Today, I found this:

What may, to some people, look like clutter I should have stopped moving 8 years ago, is, in reality, a testament to the human spirit. To ingenuity, to grace and creativity under pressure.

In the summer of 2002, my best friend had a pretty hefty schedule of bar gigs. I went with her whenever I could to help carry gear, set up, tear down, count tips, get water, you name it. Because of her busy late night schedule, she sometimes found herself without some of the things she needed for the night. Makeup, maybe, or a tip jar, once in a while. But the worst thing she could forget, the most crucial to her being able to play for three hours straight (other than a guitar, obviously), was her capo. If you don’t know what a capo is, it’s basically a little clamp that holds down all of the strings at once on the guitar’s fretboard, and this raises the pitch of the strings so you can play a wider variety of songs without having to re-tune the guitar between songs.

One night, she did forget the capo, and we had to resort to rummaging through my car for something, anything, that would work instead. I have no idea why I had spoons in my car, but, then again, see above for my indiscriminate packing habits. We foraged around in the car until we came up with a spoon and a hair tie, which I had to break apart and re-knot to get tight enough to put the spoon close enough to the fretboard to allow it to act as a true capo.

So we did. We made it, we did it, and you can actually still see where the guitar strings wore into the brown part of the spoon.

That summer was full of opportunities to make do with a little bit. To get by on what either of us could find, to eat ice cream sandwiches in the Wal-Mart parking lot, to swim in my parents’ pool, to stay up late and get up early and still have a ridiculously fun and full life. We are still those girls somewhere inside, and we still have what it takes. I was so happy today to get that reminder.

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