Thursday, January 17, 2013

Happy Thursday, Everybody

All 30 or so, of you....
Yesterday, Wednesday, was the coldest day that has transpired since our arrival here in "The Big Freezy."
The order of the day, make no bones about it; was the quest for thermal protection, to keep from freezing our bones off.
Busking was not an option; I have two broken strings, and one tuning machine which I have had to wind in the opposite of its intended direction; as it is stripped the other way; an improvisation which I have employed before and which I have found to be a short lived fix.
Not that I would not have played the 4 string guitar if the weather was permitting, I thought that I came up with some righteous jams on the Jasmine in that condition, Tuesday night on Decatur Street; and I even got a few people to stop and listen. Those people had "I wish I had a couple bucks to throw you, but I'm as broke as you" written on their faces and I made no money at all.
I Get My Mail
Deciding to avoid Stevens Hilton Hotel employee parking lot sleeping spot that night, I retired to the Simon Bolivar statue spot, grabbing the ramp which was not occupied by a supine Howard, whose snores were reverberating off of the granite walls.
Being thus situated, I was able to arise at 8 a.m.
, noticing as I stuffed my beddings in my pack that the ramp had indeed warded off quite a bit of rainfall throughout the night, as evidenced by the surrounding sodden grass.
After A quick stop at Walgreens for an Arizona "Jack Nicklaus" honey infused iced tea (anyone who can hit a 5 iron 200 yards has got to know his iced tea) I was soon at the Rebuild Center with plenty of time to spare before the mail room was to open at 9 a.m. -no Steven alongside, beckoning me to stop and reflect upon how the glory of God is beheld in a wad of gum stuck to the sidewalk by those who just take the time to notice and who are in the proper reverent state of mind...
Thanks, Mom
I got 40 bucks (in cash, enfolded in a letter so it wouldn't be visible through the envelope) from my mother; and 11 dollars and 22 cents in a check from the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison, which was the balance of my commissary account when I left there on September 24th of last year.
As this was the coldest day yet since my arrival here, I made a bee line for the dock, under which I had been sleeping on the rocks, before the "no trespassing" warning was painted there.
The Blanket That Saved My Life
There was the blanket, which had saved my life once, during what was probably the second coldest night since my arrival; and there was a sleeping bag, which had been spread out upon a slab of concrete which was flat and probably afforded comfort on a clear night, but which had become soaked on a rainy night, and which I had hung up to dry, for the benefit of whomever the owner might be; or for the benefit of Howard, should the owner not show up in an allotted amount of time to reclaim it.
There is a chance that the owners of the blanket and the sleeping bag (and the huge shiny dog dish with water in it) have been incarcerated until after Mardi Gras, a fate which has already befallen a number of people with dogs, who sleep under a dock. They have one foot in the jail and the other one on a pile of dog poop, in life, in general, here.
I wrapped the blanket in the sleeping bag and then hopped on the ferry, for Algiers. I was gambling on the 30% chance of precipitation which was forecast in the local paper turning out to be a hoax.
Once on the other side of the river, I chowed down on three of the two dozen "meals ready to eat," from the carton of them which someone had left, apparently for Howard and I. It was probably one of the people who walk their dogs past our spot; and whose dogs point us out to them with their noses and/or their tails, and whose owners have to yank them away from an investigation of us.
The thermo chemical packets did their trick and I had steaming vegetables and southwestern style chicken with crumbled crackers within 10 minutes -quintessential comfort food as I sat in air which had blown across the chilly waters of the Mississippi that were newly arrived from Minnesota and even colder points to the north.
Howard showed up before I had finished my meal.
"Are you eating some of that food?"
"Yes, Howard." What gave it away, the olive green packet with 'Made in the USA' stamped on it?
"They're not bad; if that's all you have..."
I told Howard that he could have the sleeping bag and kept the blanket to stuff into my sleeping bag, hopefully bringing its "rating" from 40 degrees, down to 35 degrees. 
The blanket is made of a strange fabric which is almost like foam rubber in that it stretches; and which I found to be adequate all by itself against the one sub 50 degree night during which I employed it under the dock.
I had moved the large igneous rocks around, like a stone mason and crafted them into the shape of a hammock which I was quite proud of. I was able to wiggle myself into a position atop my sleeping bag which allowed my hip and shoulders to fit into depressions like a custom contoured mattress, costing thousands more.
That night, as I lied there, I kept picking up the scent of hydroponic marijuana in all its skunky sweetness. In the morning, I moved the rock which I had been using as a pillow and there, right under my nose, was a bud of the "purple cush" which goes for about 10 dollars for a bud its size in Jackson Square.
After, I threw the blanket over a couple of beams of wood which were atop the rocks and intersecting at a right angle, to let it air out, and then retreated to a spot further up under the dock. 
I consumed the bud out of an improvised beer can bong (Newcastle Ale,12 oz, for you trivia buffs).
From that vantage point, thus fortified and looking back at the blanket draped over the criss crossed beams, it appeared just like an image of the crucified Christ, complete with the garment for which die were cast. It was a miracle! (that I found pot that good under a rock, I mean...).
I liked the fact that most people would never think about trying to sleep on a pile of igneous rocks; and those that would are probably making enough money doing stone masonry that they can afford dwellings. There wasn't any competition for the spot, even though it was covered.
See You In Court, Fellas. I'll Be The Guy In The Body Cast!
It's too bad that I may have been seen coming out of there by the wrong person who instructed other wrong people to stencil the "no trespassing" ditty upon the girder. There goes my chance to slip and fall and then sue the Natchez Cruise Lines for endangering me with their negligently placed igneous rocks. The warning sign  gives them a leg to stand on in the courtroom.
Thursday Afternoon
It is, and the forecast is for a little warmer tonight, and hopefully a lull in the wind.
Sweeps Week
In this lull before the frenzy of the upcoming Super bowl, it is important to keep a low profile, so as not to get caught up in the sweeps of the streets to remove all of the homeless who are not world class bums of distinction; befitting the greatest and most televised spectacle of the year. There's nothing the TV crews hate more than having to prep their "local color" shots of the French Quarter by moving  a bum out of the shot and mopping up his vomit before rolling film.
My business, as soon as I finish this paragraph and then find some random photo to post up top, is to Google a music store in town that might sell individual tuning machines for guitars and might have knowledgeable staff who could pick up a screwdriver and show you just how easy they are to install by demonstrating the procedure.

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