Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Gift Of A Guitar (final draft)

Come see me tomorrow;
I've got something for you..
. The overwhelming support which I have received from the New Orleans street musicians after having my guitar stolen was, quite frankly, overwhelming...
I had originally wondered if this were not a test of my character and would I would have to experience what it is like to start "all over" with absolutely nothing and have to pull myself up by my bootstraps by the sweat of my brow and to learn to appreciate everything I acquire because of how hard I worked for it...
I thought about what the appropriate strategy would be if I were a stranger in a strange city -like if I fell from space (without a guitar) and landed somewhere near Cleveland- and had to do everything through my own volition. 

What would I do?
Then, I realized that I had already done all of that; a few times over, even. How soon I forget..
I was NOT all alone in a strange city (well, I should specify: "unfamiliar" city...NOLA is strange as f*** no matter how long you've been here)
I decided that I would tell everyone I met about my ax being stolen.

"You'll Get Another Guitar."

I'll keep and eye out...
They, in turn, were all very supportive; whether with an encouraging word "You'll get another guitar" (OK, 4 encouraging words) -The Hokum High Rollers 

Or with additional encouraging words: "I'll keep an eye out for someone who might let you pay in installments for one" -Paul , of Doreens's Jazz Band, 

Or with no noticeable outward reaction at all, but with an internal tacit prayer to The Great Music Spirit -Tanya and Dorise ...let us just let that sink in and we'll see what transpires....
Or with a 5 dollar bill here and there because they knew I was out of work -Brian Hudson; or with an offer to let me borrow a guitar -Christina Friis, and ultimately with the gift of a guitar from a guy -Bilal- who, a year ago told me not to worry about anything in New Orleans because I had "some good friends," even though I had only run into that particular friend a few times hence.
I was standing at the doorway of the very angel who was in the process of lending me her guitar when Bilal was 45 minutes tardy of the time that he said that he would meet me; when up walked the latter, who handed me the one that I now have (see below) which plays better than the one which was stolen.

It is humbling to think that somehow through accident or otherwise, these fellow musicians have come to appreciate me enough to be willing to help me out.

These really are some of the best musicians on the planet...(freaks that can play 4 guitars at the same time if they take off their shoes notwithstanding).

Fear Of Flying
I really had misgivings about sitting on Bourbon Street "flying" the cardboard sign: "They stole my guitar, help me!" 

But, don't think I wouldn't have...after enough whiskey...
It might be that these other musicians are thinking: "We need variety here; diversity; we need a balance; musicians that totally suck are part of that balance; let's keep this guy going..."

"Can you use 5 bucks?"
"Do You Want To Borrow My Guitar?"

The Indiana Scout; in the same color as my sleeping bag...
More Cosmic Stuff
Signed By Sal
After Bilal had handed me the blue guitar, halfway between where Brian Hudson was playing on the corner, and where Christina Friis resides down a street, he apologized about the flat top being "marred " by two autographs.
One of them was from Salvatore Geloso, who is one of my favorite street performers who come through here once in a while.
It had always slipped my mind to ask Sal his last name, when I hung out listening to him on a resonator type guitar; playing along with an excellent upright bassist named Josh (I think), so I could never Youtube him or post pictures of him etc.
Well, his last name came to me with the guitar.
"Sal is one of my favorite musicians, I don't mind his autograph (adorned with a drawing of a woman) on my guitar," I told Bilal.
So, the cosmic thing...
I'll get to it.
First; Christina seemed to heave a sigh of relief as I returned to her doorway with the guitar and said "I guess I won't need to borrow yours."
She was almost being too nice, I thought.
I wondered about at which point I would return the guitar to her; and it seemed that it would have to be a daily struggle to ensure that the guitar was in the right place at the right time.
What if I only made 2 bucks the first night with it?
13 Dollar Monday
I probably would have made 13 bucks with it that first night.
31 Dollar Tuesday
And then 31 the second night, because that is what I made with the Indiana Scout (as that is the brand name of the blue guitar).
I would have ostensibly been playing my ass off on her guitar while saving up as fast as I could* for one of my own.
*cheap beer
So, I heaved a sigh of relief too, even as I was wondering just what kind of guitar was in her case, and if it would sound even better than the Indiana...
I Save Christinas Amp
It seems that I had inadvertently saved Christinas amplifier from possible theft the other night; when she must have just gone into her apartment and gotten involved in watching a movie or something and forgotten that her amp was still sitting on the sidewalk.
As I had walked up that night, I inspected that amplifier.
It was a nice rechargeable Crate Street Cube.
I didn't know that she lived there.
I said something about it to a semi well dressed man who was milling about; I think he was from one of the nearby businesses.
"I don't know, It's been there for about an hour..." he said...
The thieves probably thought that it was surely being watched, or that it was bait left there by the police to entrap them.
I left a note with my phone number and walked off with the amp; but not very far.
Brian, who was at the next corner, recognized it as her amp and took it off my hands.
Christina may have felt indebted to me to some degree because of that; but the point became mute after Bilal gave me the Indiana Scout. 
Autograph On My Guitar

The Cosmic Thing
Along with apologizing for the autographs on the guitar, Bilal also lamented that it was missing its top two strings, as it was.
When I walked to the corner with the guitar; Brian Hudson was there. He informed me that he had those very two strings in his case and that I could have them.
He had changed strings -except for those two. "I just didn't think that I would break either of them..."


Steve Finnell said...
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Alex said...

Hey cool you got a new git-fiddle, back in the saddle again.

Alex said...

I was looking on the NOLA craigs list and rooms are teh cheaps over there, like $300 a month pretty routine and lower than that even. So .... if you could set aside an average of $10/day you could get indoors.

In a bunch of ways I'm tempted to move there esp. finding rents are less than half what they are here and from what you tell me, I could make 3X-4X what I make here in California. But the humidity/heat, crime, bunch'a stuff like that worry me.

Daniel McKenna said...

Brian Hudson was just asking me the day before this why I didn't look into a $300 per month place; he even said quote: "That's only 10 bucks per day" (a little less on months with 31 days)
And of course, finding a trustworthy roommate so that I could pay 5 bucks per day (and not "you get what you pay for" the case) would be pretty cool; the fridge would be chuck full of free food; and the quality practice/recording time would lead to more $ down the road with the creation of a CD -some tourists seem to collect them like baseball cards and want one of each buskers

Alex said...

That my point, why live like a hobo/skeezer unless that's what you really want to do?

Man it's tons cheaper to live there than where I am, and internet access in San Jose CA sucks, it just absolutely sucks. You're far ahead of me as far as internet access goes.