I thanked my driver for finding me. It’s cold in the evenings now in Arizona; the desert doesn’t hang onto any daytime heat as soon as the sun disappears. My driver’s car was nice and warm.

I was surprised that he was blasting thrash metal. “It’s metal night, Malcom?” I asked. [This is our first time meeting. I only know his name because it was sent to me through the dispatch service from disability services.] He laughed and said that he had jazz on earlier, but no one seemed to like it. I asked him if he played instruments because that is usually the case if someone likes jazz, and he said yes – trumpet. I told him I played violin, clarinet and a little bit of piano. He said that his two sisters played clarinet, and he and his two brothers played trumpet. My driver said he wanted to play violin because there were two songs he wanted to learn that he thought would specifically sound great with that instrument, but he didn’t really have an affinity for the violin, and so he thinks it probably won’t ever happen.

My driver told me that he was working on collecting vinyl, and had a decent collection after some years now. I told him about receiving Eddie Rabbit as one of my first records. He wasn’t at all familiar, and I told him it was okay, that if he wanted country music in his collection, he should look to the older stuff like 1970’s Willie and Waylon or even older Hank Williams Sr. My driver asked me if I had any Toby Keith. I laughed, and realized that was his point of reference for “old.” I told my driver about how we had my parents pull all of our old records, and we gave them to my nephews for Christmas a few years ago. My nephews didn’t realize the absolute solid gold discs they received, because they were about as thrilling as a bag of potatoes as far as they were concerned (damn you, Minecraft!!). I mean, who wouldn’t want Wham! and Duran Duran?

We talked about how my driver got his musical education. In most schools, you get a recorder to torture your family around 3rd grade, and then you start band in either 4th or 5th grade. When he was in 4th grade, he was in school in Sierra Vista and started trumpet, but that school didn’t start anyone on recorders until 5th grade. His family then moved to where his mom grew up in Mississippi and that state doesn’t start kids in band until 6th grade – presumably because of budgeting. So he was way ahead of everyone else by the time he was in 6th grade band. Everyone else was just learning what a spit valve was. (Gross, I tell ya, just gross! It never fails – kids will always empty their instrument spit on other kids when they wanna fight.) But they definitely let everyone dig into the recorders at the regular age. My driver just kind of missed out on recorders. I told him about when I was just sitting at my desk for work and I decided I would probably be able to play a few Simon and Garfunkel songs on a recorder, so I ordered one. And I did. I figured them out in a few minutes. These were simpler songs, no key changes or craziness. Whatever. So my driver thought that maybe if he tried, he could figure out a few songs too. And how much is a recorder? $5? Okay, maybe he could finally close that chapter.

We also talked about what it was like to change from a bigger city to a smaller city. His change from Sierra Vista to Mississippi was about 65k to 15k. Small is small, but 50,000 can make a big difference. One will have a hospital and the other one won’t. One will have multiple fire departments and the other one won’t. One will have more options for shopping. It all adds up. And now here we are, living in a city of five million, the fifth largest city in the U.S.. I was out tonight because I needed to pick up two emergency prescriptions to try to address an infection that developed after a dental procedure. This 24-hour Walgreens is always, always busy. I’ve never been in a line this long before though.