Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Pins on the Map

This last weekend I drove solo north to Seattle to help my sister and brother-in-law pack up stuff and pretty up their house as they prepare to move to Montana. Seattle can be a baffling place to drive, but I made it straight to their house--on Magnolia--with the help of a map courtesy Google.

Leo Goff's post on the forum mentions that there are now two Barker Basses in his town, Eads, Tennessee. And there will be three when I get his custom fretless four done. If I don't hear it by the end of the day, at least I'll have seen a needle bounce and know that there are excitable electrons on board.

Early in the life of Barker Musical Instruments I knew--by memory--where all the basses were, and I could even come close on what serial number was where. That moved into a time with too many to recall so I bought a map.

It's a US map, and a big 'un, 32 x 48 inches. I didn't really need it that big, I just like maps.

(If you share that quirk, check out and take a look at your state. Or your country. These people have taken maps to a level that enables you to convince your significant other that you have a piece of art that deserves to go right here, hanging on this wall!)

My US map in the office is more pedestrian than a Raven (I have those at home) and it's mounted on bulletin board material (burlap covered Homasote to be specific) so I can push pins into it with impunity.

Then came Germany. And Japan. And England. And Venezuela. So, shucks, I needed yet another map!

These are humbling things for me to look at.

The heartless business analyst would take a quick glance at the US map and say, "You're obviously not selling many in the Midwest! You've got to figure out a way to make the Barker attractive to those Norwegian Bachelor Farmers, and to the catfish noodlers of Oklahoma! A squiggly line from North Dakota to Arkansas wouldn't bump into a single pin!"

I, on the other hand, look at all the other pins and I think of the interesting bass players I have spoken to and, in many cases, met, and I feel just plain grateful.

Maps can help you get where you're going. Don't leave for Seattle without one.

And they can remind you where you've been.

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