Thursday, June 19, 2014

Back To Busking

Something seems to be working.
Tripling the the time that I have been putting into this blog seems to be increasing my traffic...by about 20%!
United States
38
France
21
Thailand
16
Philippines
9
Ukraine
8
United Kingdom
5
Netherlands
3
Australia
1
Japan
1
Russia
1
I stayed up until the sun joined me, this morning.
After the second consecutive night of not having busked, because I wasn't feeling in the mood, but rather spending about 5 hours blogging and a little bit of Facebooking because I WAS feeling in the mood; I got to the dock about 7 this morning, after having waited for a store to open so I could pick up more apple juice to enact day 3 of the juice fast.I learned that 7 o' clock was too late to go under the dock, as, various crews were bustling about the Natchez at that time; too risky...
I went to the sign spot, where I found that I couldn't sleep.
I sat up and read most of a New York Times, which I had found in a box near a trash can on Royal Street and stuffed into my pack; to help cushion this laptop against the bottles of juice and water; or for toilet paper in an emergency; or to do as I did, and read.
As I sat there sipping apple juice, and trying to will myself not to smoke cigarettes, I came across the article about Tony Gwyn the former baseball player who just died at an age just 3 years my senior from cancer, attributed to chewing tobacco.
I still couldn't sleep, hindered by the temperature which would peak in the 90's (as Tonys career did) and so, went to the air-conditioned library and put another 5 hours in on computer related work.
I wound up falling asleep back at the sign spot at about 2 p.m., with the satisfaction of knowing that I had figured out how to, and had loaded a bunch of sheet music into this computer, and looking forward to adding copious amounts of songs to my repertoire. Before dozing off; I learned "My Sweet Lord," by George Harrison.
I woke up several times, the last one at exactly 9 p.m.
I saw this as a symbol that it was time to go to work (the "9 to 5" shift of convention).
I was finally in the mood to play music, and headed straight to the Lilly spot; no stopping for beer or cigarettes, "do not pass GO".
Getting to the spot, I observed that one of Lillys air conditioners had produced a stream of water which ran through the spot where I sit, so as to be under my spotlight. I also observed a pan-handler sitting on the stoop.
It is known that I play there regularly and, so far, anyone sitting there for that purpose has yielded the spot to me upon my arrival. I haven't had to invoke the name of Lilly.
I went to Laffits Blacksmith Shop Tavern, to try to find a piece of cardboard to put down under me.
I was foraging for one, when a man called to me who was sitting with a lady in a couple of the chairs which are out front.
"Do you want to jam out on a couple songs, I play harmonica?"
I broke the Indiana out and played in the key of E, while he played the harmonica. This lead to a conversation, during which I gave some of my history, both past, and recent, to include the juice fast and the fact that I wasn't drinking, as I declined their offer to buy me a drink.
At one point, a skeezer came by and murmured something to the gentleman, who returned: "Sorry," to him.
"I don't have any cash.." he added with a shrug of his shoulders, as he skeezed off in a northern direction.
This could have been a test of me, to see if I had adopted the purpose of skeezing them myself, and to see if I would stick around and continue my "believe it or not" life story, given this knowledge.
I really wasn't "money motivated," -at least not with the intensity of someone who is dying to get high, as opposed to someone who wanted batteries for his spotlight, scissors to cut his own hair, and a set of new guitar strings. 
By 11 p.m., there was a steady stream of tourists passing the stoop and keeping the pan-handler busy, trying to get "something to eat," to supplement what he had already eaten that was causing him to slur his speech.
I told Ron and Amy, as those were there names, that I was ready to go to my spot to play and that I hoped the pan-handler would relinquish it.
That became a mute point, as they walked there with me, with Amy speaking up, telling him: "Hey, you're on our steps, you need to go!"
The couples well-dressed appearance may have erased any doubt in the skeezers mind that this was true, and he complied immediately. 
Skeezers are quite knowledgeable in the intricate subtleties of fashion, and the tell-tale signs which will distinguish the real McCoy from, say, a homeless lady who has found a nice dress in the Goodwill box, and is using it as a ploy in order to enter bars.
I sat down and began to set up my rig.
The spotlight and the sharks seemed to amuse the couple, along with my "Free music 40% to 60% off, Tonight only. All songs must go!" sign.
"Oh, look!" said Amy to Ron, at the sight of my harmonica.
I started the sharks off with 6 pennies and a 10 euro cent coin, as that was what the past few days had reduced me to.
I played "Little Wing," by Jimi Hendrix, with a bit of harmonica added.
Amy was very complementary, telling me that I was very interesting, and before the couple went off to enjoy Bourbon Street, she said: "Put that out of sight," pointing to a bill which had found its way into my case.
I pocketed the bill without looking at it, while thanking them; as is my custom. Looking at it in front of them would be something like leaving the price tag on a gift that you'd given someone ...maybe in reverse...
I then went back to playing, with only the 6 cents and the 10 euro cents between the sharks, and was enjoying myself, especially the precision with which being sober engendered.
Skeezis Bicanis
Then, along came two dog skeezers, headed towards the "crazy" lower numbered blocks of Bourbon Street.
A guy and girl in their late teens; each one of them with a dog on a leash (a double dog skeeze) and with visions of riches in their eyes.
As they approached me, I knew that their primary attention would be focused upon whatever tip jar I had, and their giggles and their tone of voice just about told me that they had spotted the 6 pennies and 10 euro cents and were making me the butt of a joke.
I was so tempted to pull out whatever bill I had in my back pocket and say: "Hey, I need some small bills to start my tip jar with; do you have change?" I had to deal with with my pride.
Having seen them digging through the Lafitts Trash looking for unfinished drinks; I had a good idea of what the bottom line of their ledger sheet probably looked like.
I asked myself: "Why should I care what a couple of dog skeezers; excuse me, double dog skeezers (skeezus bicanis; is the Latin, I believe) thought of me?
I asked myself, also: "To what purpose would it serve me to have them perpetrate a rumor that 'He has a lot more money than what you see when you walk by'?" throughout Skeezerhood.
I swallowed my pride and washed it down with some apple juice, and then kept playing.
Soon, another well dressed gentleman came and put a 5 dollar bill on top of the 6 pennies and 10 euro cents, when I was struggling to remember "Duprees Diamond Blues," by The Grateful Dead, another of that mornings downloads. And then, a black man added about a dollar and a half in change.
The bill in my pocket turned out to be 20 dollars.
I decided that $26.50 for about an hour of playing was satisfactory; and so, knocked off to come here and blog. It is already 5 a.m. and I have been at it for about 4 hours; and am going to miss my chance to go under the dock, if I haven't already.


1 comment:

  1. Skeezis Bicanis....great description! I listened to your recording of Dancing Days...I really like it!

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