Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My Name Is Sue, How Do You Do?

Here They Come!
Yesterday, (Tuesday) was to be the day that I returned to Scotlandville (part of Baton Rouge).  
My plan was to busk for a couple hours before the departure of the last bus out of here at 6 p.m.
I had left the library and was walking across Tulane Street when I heard a voice cry "Daniel!"
I turned around to espy none other than Sue, the Colombian lady, wearing a turquoise colored shirt, a departure from the brown, almost the color of her skin, hues that I had come to associate her with.
My plans to busk for a couple hours then take the last bus out changed, as I realized that I was free to do whatever I wanted, including staying another day, so as to spend time with Sue.
We walked towards The Unique Boutique, while Sue regaled me with tales of being stalked and harassed, and reaffirmed her resolve to get out of New Orleans at any cost.
Sue Ratted Out Over Cat
I suggested that she come with me to Baton Rouge, after she told me that she had been at the Greyhound station the day before planning to take a bus "anywhere," (she hadn't known that I was in town) but, one of the street people who hangs around working (i.e. panhandling) that area, saw that she was on the verge of escaping, and that person went to the Greyhound security people and reported that Sue had in her possession a live animal (to wit: a cat) in one of her bags, whereupon Sue was shaken down, Kooky discovered, and her ticket money refunded.
"They're trying to stop me from leaving!," she said, almost on the verge of tears.
We went to Uniques where I bought a pint of Heavenly Hill Whiskey and a large can of Arizona "Arnold Palmer" Iced Tea.
We then went to PJ's Coffee on Grenier Street to sit on their couch and plug in this laptop so that Sue could hear my last five creations with the Audacity program.
We each had our palms wrapped around an "Arnold," which is what I dubbed the concoxtion. I guess you could say that we were both Arnold Palmers!!!
*pausing to let the laughter die down a bit before continuing*
The Backbone Of My Sound
Sue was very complementary, as she listened in awe but, from where I sat, shoulder to shoulder with her, what I could hear bleeding through the headphones sounded quite often out of pitch or obnoxiously out of balance, and after she kept mentioning a certain "fuzziness" in the sound mix, I had to explain to her that it was caused by cars speeding by about 90 feet away from where my little "studio" was.
When others (such as Alex in California) have panned the recordings, my stance became one of "Well, it's not THAT bad, it's just that....etc" and I would be focusing upon what did come out well, either a guitar melody or a harmonica riff or something.  
Hearing Sue's lavish praise of me ("I love your voice so much") made me take the opposite tack and become extremely self-critical, hearing only the flaws. "It's not THAT good, there's way to much echo here, the mix is muddy there; and that sounded like a garbage truck just then..."
But, I am still determined to make better (Facebook worthy) recordings. 
I am listening to freely down-loadable mp3s of artists who just play acoustic guitar and sing, and taking note of the way their stuff is equalized and mixed, since those two elements should be the "backbone" of my sound.
More Doors Close
Sue became pretty intoxicated after drinking her Arnold. She could have used a designated driver. She sat, trying to iron things out; while I putted around, trying to decide upon which course to take..
We started to walk towards this library, where Kooky was secreted in the storage room, and she broke down in tears and beseech-ed: "Why did you leave me here all alone. I needed you, but you left me!"
As she sobbed on my shoulder, I reminded her of my unsuccessful attempts to get her to come along with me.
Then, as we sat on the steps of the library, she struck up a conversation in Spanish with a Spanish guy.
I told her that I was going to go play my spot.
She gave no indication of wanting to come along with me; so I walked off, towards my spot, wondering how someone who was so broken up over my leaving town for a couple weeks could decline to accompany me on what could be one of my last few evenings here.
The Sound Of Hooves Approaching
I played at my spot, after having run into a medicinal herbalist in Jackson Square, who had silver and black skin and who wrested 14 dollars from my grip, leaving me with 5 bucks (after having woken up with 32) and had recovered about 7 dollars of it when up rode three cops on horses. It was a little after 10 p.m.
The one cop, who spoke for all three said "Your not supposed to be playing here, this is residential"
I thought about Barnaby, the condo owner across the street's advice to me on how to handle that particular contingency. 
He had told me that the best approach would be to put myself in the mindset that "The guys with the badges and guns are always right" and to be overly apologetic and say "Yes, sir. No,sir. I'm sorry sir, I wasn't aware of that, sir. Thank you, sir. I appreciate the work you gentlemen do, sir..."
"I have the blessing of the people in the condos around me...until 10 o' clock," I said, forgetting to append "sir" to it.
"The law says 8 o' clock," said the spokes-horseman.
At that point I made an effort to follow Barnaby's advice and managed a weak "Oh, I wasn't aware of that, I'll move on..." but my heart wasn't in it.
I put away my harmonica, scooped up my tips and was tying up my case and noticing that the same horse cop was stationary in front of me, as if wanting to follow through on seeing me actually get up and walk off.
"I'm going to leave, sir" I said. "I mean, I don't want to waste your time..."
"That's OK, I don't need to be anywhere."
I left, with half a mind to set up on another spot somewhere, which I did, on Canal Street across from the casino, but it was feeling too much like a Tuesday night and I knocked off around 11:30 and went back to the sign spot, where Sue and Kooky were already in repose.
I had stopped at Rouse's Market and bought one peach, one apple and a 12 oz. jar of peanut butter. I would have brought something for Sue and/or Kooky to eat or drink; but I think if I had, then she wouldn't have been there. I think that is how that works...
I drifted off to sleep while Sue stroked my hair and kissed my neck.
I woke up with 7 dollars; and a slight feeling that Sue's forebodings of being trapped here might be contagious.
Monday and Tuesday nights are the only ones upon which I had ever had any confrontations with the law here. Funny how they had ridden up right after 10 p.m., even though "The law says 8 p.m."
No More Guitars
And, I was just informed by the security guy at this library that "She doesn't want any more musical instruments coming into the library."
"She," being the lady who decides what comes into the library and what doesn't.
I guess I will be blogging from the coffee house when here, rather than try to hide my guitar somewhere before coming to the library.
There are people that would fan out and look for it if they happened to see me without it on my back..maybe even borrow a bloodhound from a gutter punk for the job...


Alex said...

Maybe you and Sue can leave NOLA. She has good panhandling skills, wants to leave (Howard couldn't care less) and a guy/girl pair is more appealing to drivers to pick up than an older guy/younger guy pair.

Daniel McKenna said...

See blog post for reply; cause' that's what its mainly going to be about