I left Rouses Market yesterday (Monday) evening at about 6 o' clock after posting here and after watching the weather report on the TV in their dining area.
The radar showed that we were almost certain to get rain.
I had the instant coffee and a half gallon of juice in my pack, which I thought about dropping off across the river. It was raining very lightly.
By the time I got to Canal Street, it was no longer raining. I could hear the trumpet guy (whose name is also Daniel) playing a couple blocks to the south, as I crossed over to Royal Street, headed for The Unique Boutique.
I had $2.96 in my pocket and figured that I would spend it upon 3 beers, before retreating to the spot in the parking garage beneath the Harrahs Hotel to spend the night out of the elements.
The Lone Spangers
The guy was sitting by a palm tree, banging on one drum.
The girl asked me if I drank, to which I replied in the affirmative.
She handed me a half glass of what turned out to be vodka, saying that she didn't drink vodka, even though she is Russian.
"Spaseeba balshoi," I thanked her in that language; which she seemed to comprehend.
She then stood there asking everyone that passed by "Do you have a dollar, so we can get something to eat?" while the guy drummed away. By the time I finished the half glass, she had asked several people without having any luck.
I lamented that I only had $2.90 myself.
"Yeah, tonight kind of sucks," said the young lady, pulling a pack of cigarettes from her pocket and lighting one.
"Last night was pretty good, we made like 180 bucks, just spanging ("spare change"-ing) she added.
"Just like you're doing now?" I asked, kind of astonished.
"Yeah, we just got a new drum today," she said.
Many thoughts raced through my mind as I stood there...
...If you made 180 dollars yesterday; then how can you be hungry so soon...unless the 'for something to eat' is part of a fraud...
...Did you really think that it was from to your boyfriend pounding on the drum, and not yourself begging for food right in peoples faces that the 180 dollars came from; and then went out and bought a better drum in hopes of making even more, or was the 'new drum' another lie in order to explain how you could be broke and starving so quickly...
But, mostly I thought about how little money I had been making by playing music, compared to them unashamedly begging, and it crossed my mind that maybe I could swallow my pride and try to panhandle my way out of this town.
I just wish more people would see through their scam and say things like: "You don't look like you're starving," or "The money you spent on that pack of cigarettes could have bought you a hamburger and fries and a drink," and then walked on.
I admit that this is because I think deception is generally a bad thing; and using a drum in order to skirt the panhandling laws is an insult to real musicians; but mostly because it is something that I just can't bring myself to do.
But, they gave me a half glass of vodka, so maybe I shouldn't complain.
I went to The Unique Boutique and spent my last 3 dollars on beer. I figured that 3 dollars couldn't really do much else for me on that dreary night.
A Slow Night For Daniel
I then ran into Daniel the trumpet player, who had, by now, stopped playing and was now sitting on a bench along the trolley tracks on Canal Street.
He is the guy who said that he made 2,000 dollars the month of December; but then considered leaving town after January was disappointing; but then backpeddled after February was being much better.
On this occasion he was dejected. He asked me something like "Don't you get depressed when you don't make anything?"
Apparently February had abruptly stopped being much better for him; probably right after Mardi Gras, just as it had for myself.
We had a discussion about buskers and their self esteems in relation to their tip jars, both agreeing that it is easy to become discouraged when you are not making anything at all.
I refrained from telling him about the drum player and his girlfriend and their 180 dollar Sunday night.
|The Kind Of Accomodations We Slept Under...|
Once on the other side, Howard followed as I led him a short distance to the garage, where the cardboard which Steven (formerly referred to as the Shaman) still sat.
Howard went off, saying that he needed to get water from a store; and returned with two 24 oz. cans of beer, one for each of us. I think he appreciated being protected from the rain for a night.
"You've slept here before?"
"Yeah, this is Stevens spot. You remember Steven?"
One Less Spot
In the morning, he was up and out. I remained long enough to see one of the employees of that hotel who informed me that there was to be a bowling alley constructed on that site and construction was soon to begin. They were already clearing out the area where we had slept, making it no longer an option for getting out of the rain.