I had just moved to New York and I was in a guitar shop looking around—that’s you do when you’re broke.
Suddenly I saw the most beautiful guitar. It was a deep wine color with no inlay, no gold, no fancy rosette. It was simple and spectacular.
I was just staring at it and its dangling price tag turned the other way when the store manager walked up. “Beautiful, isn’t it? Have you ever heard of a Quinones guitar before?”
“They were a Spanish family that handed down their guitar-making business over a couple of centuries to the sons and grandsons,” he explained. “The final grandson came to Brooklyn and tried to make a go of it here, but sales struggled. He folded around 1965. That’s a ’61.”
Did he say they were a Spanish family? My family is Spanish. And did he say that that guitar was made in ’61? I was made in ’61!
I stood there shaking my head. There was no way I could get it. Even so, with my pulse rate peaking, I turned over the price tag. AUGH! It was worse than I expected. It was $800. I had $10.
But when I left that shop that day with my Quinones in hand, I had to play back the events of the day to figure out what had happened. Between the time I saw it on the wall and I took it to the cash register, it didn’t get more beautiful in appearance or sound. Yet something had to happen to make me spend money I didn’t have.
It was a story. Nothing else is that powerful.