Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Ginger Root (updated final draft!)

When The Comment Becomes The Post
Gotta admit, you're living the Life Of Riley for street bums. Free food, free booze, only get rolled once in a while, mostly every thing free-free-free until another bum takes the T-bird awayyyyy .... Only thing being sacrificed is ... musical progress and the respect of the kind of people who might help you attain that -Alex In California

There's Alex...
I am hoping to address the above comment from the garlic capital of the world, implicitly through the following post...
 
Start With A Penny...
Yesterday, I left the library after posting and drank an apple juice instead of a Hurricane Lager.
I had to use my newly acquired and activated food stamp card for its purchase, as I had a total of one penny in my rear left pocket.
I walked down Royal Street, stopping briefly at Rouses Market, in front of which were playing about 2/7 ths of The Hokum High Rollers.
It was the washboard player, upright bassists/singer and resonator guitarist/singer combo.
My Resolve Not To Smoke Or Drink
After walking past my habitual first stop, The Unique Boutique, sipping the apple juice, and not smoking, I started to sense a feeling of wellness welling up in me.
At Rouses Market, I decided to get an energy drink to set beside me at the Bourbon Street spot as a surrogate to the can of Steel Reserve Lager, which might "normally" be there.

Before I get to the part about the attractive young woman, a sidebar on The Hokum High Rollers...
Four Out Of Seven Ain't Bad...
The ones that I saw were the girl with her upright bass; the guy to her left with the (black) resonator guitar, and the washboard player.  I would say that they play the exact kind of music that you could guess that they play from looking at them and probably be right. The girl is a rhythmically "solid as a rock" bassist, handling the mostly quarter notes (back, forth, back, forth)  beats that she plays with perfect intonation. She probably has the sense of pitch to play any instrument at all, but she is a force on that huge ass violin; and her vocals are right out of the mountains somewhere near West Virginia...She is friendly and quick to smile; and was the one to tell me that the fiddler (not shown) that I inadvertently insulted that one night, was just having a bad day...She often plays bare-footed which is a curiosity to me.....The guy on the black resonator guitar is, quite frankly an amazing guitarist...he uses a rolling banjo-style of finger picking plays fast and very accurately and really makes you want to yell "Yee-Haa!" when he gets going over the steady pulse of the bass and the guy on the washboards percussion. The guy on the washboard makes the thing into a musical instrument instead of a household appliance, simply put. He is an artist on the thing, using the peripheral bells and chimes at very tasteful points in the music. He is very friendly. The guy with the brown resonator, I have only heard a couple of times, but enough to know that  he could probably kick my ass playing any music that mentions (Tennessee) in the lyrics...

 
Worth Googling
I went into Rouses...
As I was deciding upon which drink to get, I saw an attractive young woman drop a clump of something tan on the scale nearby where I stood. I couldn't see the face of the scale.
"3 pounds; one ounce!," I couldn't resist saying to her, trying to guess the weight being registered on the scale and impress her with my ability to evaluate clumps of tan things upon sight.
Taken by curiosity, I made a closer inspection of the clump by inching a little closer to she and the scale, and recognized the clump to be ginger root. A lot of it...
"Oh, ginger root!"
"Yeah." She sounded proud
"I love ginger root," I said, immediately wondering if she even cared that I love ginger root.
"Yeah, its good in tea....and on steak," she said, as if the second part was the divulgence of a secret.
I told her of my own exploits with adding ginger to ginger beer to make it triple strength and she smiled.
"It's good for the throat," was the last thing she said before meandering toward the cashier.

Then it hit me: I had been ministered to by the universe; coming to me in the form of an attractive woman (because the universe can't find any other way to get my attention).
For the past three weeks, I had been maligned by a throat ailment; and had even seen the doctor at Rebuild Center that morning about it.
I bought the white tea energy drink, which has ginger in it; and also bought my own small piece of ginger root.
As I listened to 2/7ths of The Hokum High Rollers play, I chomped upon ginger root and washed it down with the white tea ginger energy drink, and then went to my playing spot and began to play, drunk only upon ginger root... 
The Kansans
I was in pretty good spirits as I sat down to play, but a little sluggish in warming up.
I felt like I was "early" because it was only about 6 p.m. and the street was sort of empty.
I worked on "A Day In The Life," by The Beatles...
I was kind of wanting a beer and wondering if and when I got a dollar; if I was going to run to The Unique store to get my first one; as if on auto-pilot, or would I continue to play.
I was still messing around with the Beatles song, trying different chord voicings when a group of 4 came by and one of them tossed 47 cents into my empty case.
That was like a tease to me. It was half of a beer.
A Cigarette
Then, a mother and two teenaged sons came along and asked if the older son could take pictures of me as I played.
They said that they didn't have any cash but the mother offered me a cigarette, which I accepted.
They took the pictures and then we conversed.
I learned that they were from Kansas, 45 minutes from Joplin (where the bad tornado was a couple years ago).
The father came along and we conversed some more.
They asked me if I wanted a sandwich (ham or roast beef).
Soon, they were ready to go to Laffits to get me a roast beef sandwich with horseradish, please no mayonaise.
The mother turned to me after they had gone a few paces and asked: "What do you want to drink?"
I hesitated.
A Beer
"Do you want a beer?"
I love Kansas. 
They returned carrying a bag with a roast beef sandwich, chips, a brownie and two cold cans of Bud Light.
I had lasted until 6:30 p.m, without smoking or drinking.
I continued to play and made about 11 bucks before taking my first break.
I got to Sydneys, where I intended to buy any kind of beer other than Bud Light (I love the people from Kansas but I don't like Bud Light).
...And A Bottle Of Rum 
A young man came along and asked me if I liked rum.
Sure I like rum -was on a rum "kick" back in 1985, as a matter of fact; tried all kinds of them...
He said that he had 2 bottles of a liter each, one light, one dark; and wanted only 5 dollars for each...
I never made it into Sydneys.
It was a pretty good night for a Tuesday.
I ended up with everything I needed and plus the 10 bucks that I owe to Tanya and Dorise...
Coming Tomorrow: I come face to face with the pocket slasher!!!

1 comment:

Alex said...

But smoking and drinking are an integral part of the street lifestyle.

To get off of the street (if you wanted to) you'd need to get a job washing dishes or bar-backing, then rent a room, and put your guitar-time into practice, recording, and getting indoor gigs.

I'm not saying your lifestyle is wrong, you're a pretty accomplished bum. Food and drink for free, endless half Hand Grenades, snipes, butts, and weed.

It's just that living the life of the accomplished bum is an art form, one you've nearly perfected, while living the life of a successful recording and performing artist is yet another art form. It's extremely hard to fit both in.