Tuesday, November 24, 2009

12 Days And 12 Nights In Jacsonville

A S"Karrie" Experience
"The Purple Bus Snafu"

We Arrived in Jacksonville on that Saturday night that we hitch-hike ed there, after being mis-informed of the schedule of the purple bus, (which goes all the way to Jacksonville for only a dollar,) by one of their own drivers. It was the driver of the red bus who told us when and where to catch the purple bus all the way to Jacsonville in time to arrive at Altel Stadium for the letting out of the Florida/Georgia crowd (of drunken college kids with their parent's money, and alumni, with the money which was left over.

We worked the game. It was the most pathetic Florida/Georgia game as far as tips which I have ever seen in my 2 years of playing guitar outside of Florida/Georgia games, as noted in the prvious entry which I did in downtown Jacksonville, after having wrapped my guitar in plastic and hidden it in the deep woods of Mandarin in the palmettos, as guitars are not allowed in the Jacksonville downtown branch.

After the game, we eventually made it back to the camp, which was pretty much the way that Larry and I had left it, months before, with the exception of one large plant, which had resisted Larry's attempts to raise (translated: kill) it.

We slept on our brand new cardboard which Karrie carried on top of her head, right up San Jose blvd, through the most "posh" part of Mandarin, and over the creek and to the camp, with that total lack of shame of which she has made a science . I walked along beside ber, carrying my guitar, proud of her, and of science. Mandarin; the classiest, richest part of the city. Even the forests offer the homeless the finest of hardwood, privacy, closeness to nature with a rich variety of songbirds and interesting racoons, water and convenience to shopping, etc.

The next morning, we awoke to the sound of birds chirping; quality birds only found in the most affluent areas, not like the ghetto birds that you hear downtown, by any stretch of the imagination. I told Karrie about the boat ramp and it's private restrooms with running water, and soon, we were running ourselves, towards them, laden with soaps and lotions and potions of the most exotic order. Karrie had her full arsenal, right down to the foot scrubber!

We arrived at the boat ramp and were greeted by a Jacksonville Sheriff's Officer, who wanted to know where we were going and where we had come from and if we had ID. I resisted an impulse to be a smart-ass, but not totally. I told him that we were going northward on San Jose Boulevard, "just like you see."

When asked what we were doing, I told him that we were enjoying our constitutional rights as United States citezens to walk down a public way without fear of unreasonable harrassment.
He (they) handed us flyers which gave the addresses of all the homeless shelters downtown, and told us that if we were seen sleeping on the sidewalks in front of businesses then we would be arrested.

The Jaguars Game

Having spent the week in Jacksonville, and finding that the people in Mandarin were generally generous (on several occasions, cars pulled up and windows were rolled down and money handed out, with "Have you eaten today?" or something similar said), we passed the week this way; I had moderate success playing at the Barnes and Noble, and then Sunday came, and we headed for the Jaguar's game. They were playing the Kansas City Chiefs, who's stadium is shown above, and there was a sparse crowd, due to the fact that the Jaguars are not doing much better than the Kansas City Chiefs.

It was a miserable experience. I sat and played and made about 9 dollars from at least 2,000 who walked past.

Karrie asked a Chinese man if he had any money that she could have. He handed her 20 dollars. I fought the urge to be jealous or resentful. I suppose one of my ulterior motives in bringing her with me, was her ability to solicit money from Chinese men. "At least now, we can get some liquour," said Karrie, alluding to the biggest counter-motive against bringing Karrie with me. Yeah, and a bus ride out of this ghetto before the sun sets, I didn't say.

Taxes To Be Filed As Self-Employed Street Musician...
Now I am at the library on the following Wednesday. It rained all morning. We had neglected to safeguard our clothing from such an act of God, and so, spent the morning at the laundromat, where no lizards crawled out of our stuff, and we dried the clothing. Karrie occupied the ladies' room in a state of near-nakedness while her clothes spun in the drier. Still, with the temperatures forcast to be in the 40's tonight, neither one of us is equipped to do anything except sit in front of a fire or curl up in a sleeping bag.
I am about to work on a spreadsheet which will document my earnings for the past two years, so that the IRS can pore over them and hopefully send my "earned income" credit in the form of a hefty check.

To Be continued...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Feels Like A Wasted Trip

Florida Georgia Game NonProductiveThe Florida Georgia Game

I thought about going to the Florida/Georgia game by myself, but decided to invite Karrie at the last minute. I figured that might give us two "incomes," as Karrie would be in her element panhandling the college kids. I actually thought that she might make a hundred or more bucks off of them, as similar takes have been bragged about by lesser beggers than her. I was being a little selfish.

We were misinformed by the driver of the red bus that the purple bus (which goes to Jacksonville) would be departing from a certain spot at a certain time. At about one hour past the certain time, we left the certain spot, in disbelief that one of the drivers of the Sunshine Bus Line could be so unable to read their own schedule.

We decided to hitch-hike. Karrie stood out first, unsure of how to hold her thumb, and after about 15 minutes, was sure that we were never going to get a ride, and blamed it on herself. We shortly thereafter got into the back of a pickup truck, driven by a guy who already had a passenger sitting next to him whom he had picked up.
After he dropped the first guy off we got into the front with him, and he told us that we were in luck, because he was going to a place right by the stadium himself. It turned out that he was a person who sacrificed much of himself to help other people, a Christian, and we found out through a conversation that he had on his cellphone that he really wasn't going near the stadium and had gone out of his way, both literally and figuratively, to make us feel that we weren't imposing upon him.

He dropped us off about a mile from The Landing. We walked there, via the beer store, and I set up and started playing. Almost immediately, the black guy who plays the saxophone started playing nearby and drowning me out. He had done the same thing last year, forcing me to move to another spot, where I had made pretty good money. This year, I moved to the same spot and watched college kids walk past, oblivious to my music, as well as to the vendors selling 7 dollar hamburgers. They seemed to be broke and angry about it.
There was a huge yaught docked in front of me, as an affront to me in my futility, which I was tried to bounce sound off of. I sounded terrible, being rusty from the 76 days in jail. It was embarrassing. Even the yaught seemed subdued. It was called The Gallant Lady, and here is a picture of the thing.

The night went miserably, both for myself, playing, and Karrie, walking around asking people for money.

We walked over the bridge into San Marco to sleep in a spot which I had used before and which was more suited to single occupancy. I woke up squashed between Karrie and a wooden fence, wherupon I moved to another spot close by. When I woke up at daybreak, she was gone. I had very few ideas about where she would have gone, but I checked both stores which sell beer. No luck.

I eventually found her at the spot where I had played, after checking every other spot where we had been; not methodically nor especially hoping to find her, but just in the course of my travels.
The Gallant Lady was still there, as was Karrie. We went to the Winn Dixie and I used my food card to buy a lot of food, which we ate behind the store. A good portion were things that she alone liked, I couldn't help noting.

She Even Ate The Yucca Root

Then next morning, we took a bus to Mandarin and got off where Curtis used to hang around. Someone told us that Curtis had died. We had a long walk back to where Larry and I used to camp and then a fitful night's sleep, realizing that the sleeping bag was just not big enough for the two of us. Karrie had also developed the habit of throwing things into the shopping cart "behind my back," things like 5 dollar pieces of cheese. This morning, she was up early, attacking a bottle of vodka, which she had spent her last dime on, and eating all of the food which we had bought the previous evening, even the yucca root which I had baked. She was cantankerous in the morning, told me quite frankly as she handed me an energy drink that it was my last one "I drank the other" and that she had eaten all the food "Everything that I saw in front of me." Even the yucca root. She hadn't eaten ALL of the food, though. She had forgotten that I (or should I say "she") had raisin bread and real butter in my backpack. In protecting it against raccoons, I guess I had done the same against her. When she recalled that we indeed had had some raisin bread and butter, she asked me about it, and if she could eat it. She put some bread on the grate and spread butter on it with her fingers.
Our First Spat
I told her that using fingers as a butter knife is not a good practice in the woods because of the higher than average probability that one's hands might be dirty. She told me to "find a new girlfriend." She then became pretty belligerent, mentioning that she could fight pretty good. That was close to being our first spat, close enough for me. She looked at the few remaining drops of vodka and then asked me how much money "we" had left.

Now I am downtown. I came down to donate plasma for 15 bucks, to be followed up with another 25 dollar donation on Friday. The place is under new management and I would have to come in as a "new" donor, bringing ID, Social Security Card and a piece of recent mail, showing my address. A pretty tall order. My SS card is in St. Augustine. I guess I won't be getting drained any time soon.
I made about 7 bucks last night at the Barnes and Noble, which was OK, considering I am just getting my fingers and my voice back into shape. I was horrible at the Florida Georgia game. Karrie made about 20 during the same period, standing on the side of the road with a sign that read: "Homeless. God Bless." I never claimed that she had originality...
To her credit, she gave me three of the dollars and spent the rest on vodka; though she asked me to spend the same three dollars on beer the following morning, after I had already spent it on aluminum foil.
It feels almost like a wasted trip so far. (Karrie has been wasted the whole time.)
One more task; to check upon the tax return situation and see if I can get credit for the past 3 years as a self-employed street musician.