Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Place I'm At

  • 12 Dollar Friday
  • 20 Dollar Saturday
  • Favorite Mule Sunday
  • Dog Day Monday

Right now, I have a bit of a lingering cough, but it is a loose cough. I'm taking the antibiotics (which are for a separate bladder infection which they found while they were testing away) and using the inhaler roughly every 6 hours (as needed), and have increased the amount of liquids that I am drinking. My food stamp card just got charged with 189 dollars this morning; and so I can add a dietary element to the stretching and deep breathing and acupressure and possibly jogging in the near future, routines designed to return my health to the level which it was at in recent years.
A Little Bit of Stuffiness In Lungs After Night Under Dock
I slept under the dock last night, for the first time in 3 days, after having come out of there gasping for air and not thinking that I would make it up the bank of rock before I expired.
I was not in a hurry to test the theory that there might be something that I was breathing in under there (like heron down) which was inflaming the inner lining of my lungs.
After feeling better enough (and not having had a cigarette in over a week now) so that  am not daunted by the prospect of toting my 20+ pound backpack around in the 90 degree heat; I decided to sleep under there last (Monday) night.
I spread my sleeping bag out over the quilt for extra padding and was out like a light. I had lit one candle from Lafitts Blacksmith Shop, and one "olive oil and wick" invention of my own and passed out some time around 1:30 a.m., not regaining consciousness until about 10 a.m., when the turtle woke me up by rattling around in a tin pan in which I had left some fresh tilapia fish that I hadn't stayed awake long enough to cook.
I am still feeling tired upon waking up and returned to sleep for an additional 3 hours. It is my body still fighting whatever virus this is which has had my number.
My cough was a little bit exacerbated in the morning which is probably just a result of the humidity which hangs in the air due to the proximity from the river and the enclosed aspect of the dock. But I had not violent reactions. I didn't see the herons at all. Perhaps, since I haven't been under there feeding the rodents; they haven't been under there feeding upon the rodents. There was no sign of the alligator, either.

I almost was going to have a dog with me (see: The Dog, below).
Lilly has warned me that if the alligator gets "hungry enough" it will attack me. I will have to be sure to grab a few pieces of Popeyes chicken off the top of their dumpster each night on my way past there and toss it in the water where the gator likes to wait for the heron; which hasn't been stupid enough to think that its head (the gators) is a rock yet.
First Night Back Yields 12 Dollars
My return to busking after quite a few days off, due to illness, was Friday night; when it took me a while to get my voice warmed up. I was able to breath much better than when I was nearly suffocating under the dock a day earlier; but my volume level was compromised a bit. I just tried to sing with more finesse and style, and softer.
I have been taking note of the singers who sing very loudly; and have noticed, of course that they, for the most part have a certain frequency range which they stay in; and a certain bellowing style.

Can Be Heard 3 Blocks Away
One can find his own such range by starting out yelling as if calling to a friend who is a quarter mile away. After achieving maximum volume (and hopefully attracting his attention) one will find that he is yelling at a certain pitch, which can be found on the piano keyboard; and which is a byproduct of the physical size and shape
This would be a starting point for singing very loudly. The rest would have to do with embrachure(sp?) or the way that the throat and mouth are positioned in order to shape them like the bell of a trumpet or other horn. This changes the tone of the note; removing a lot of the harmonics (which give a voice its individualistic timbre) and making one belter-out sound like the next; but it makes one sound like they have a "deep" voice; like an opera singer who is of the loudest ilk out there.
This would not serve a singer like a Bob Dylan or Andy Gibb or Paul Simon; but listen to Melissa Ethridge for an example of how to sing loudly or Jay, The Loud Guy on Royal Street across from the Hotel Monteleone each evening, who has a tone like Johnny Cash and amplified just his guitar so that it can compete with his voice, volume-wise.
I hadn't drank in 3 days; but brought a 24 ounce Tecate Lager with me; which was sufficient; as I was on the medication which I was able to get after nearly dying of the C.O.P.D attack early Thursday morning.
Even though my performance was a bit lacking; I had the positive attitude of someone who went through such an ordeal as to have caused him to wonder, in the midst of it, if he had any future at all and would ever be able to look back upon the incident.
Nothing could dampen my spirits as I sat there and played music; and I eked out 12 one dollar bills from not more than 12 people who walked past; not counting the skeezers and the the "shoe shine" men.
20 Dollar Saturday
Saturday night, I got back a bit of my stamina; was a bit light-headed during harmonica solos; but was able to make 20 dollars in a couple hours.
The Dog
Sunday night, I was given a dog by Jason, who works at Sydneys on Decatur Street.
He had been standing there, holding the thing which he said was 10 years old -70 years old in "dog years."
It was a Shetland, or Sheep Dog.
After some consideration, I took the thing by the leash and headed back to the Lilly Spot with it.
In its 10 years on earth, it had been owned by no less than 10 skeezers.
"It's a great homeless dog," I was reassured.
It came with paperwork, listing its name as "Doogie," (that had to be changed immediately) and a bag of dry dog food.
As, advertised, the dog took its place by me as I played the guitar and didn't seem to freak out at the sudden burst of harmonica notes which came in the middle of "Little Wing," the Jimi Hendrix song.
Lilly and Angelique showed up with Angelique, who became fascinated with the animal.
I had been asked by Jason to return the dog to him, if it didn't work out and not give it to any "asshole on the street who is just going to try to make money off of it..."
The ever wary Lilly cautioned me that if the dog bit anybody then I would be in big trouble...maybe the alligator will eat the dog if it gets hungry enough then I won't have to worry about that...
The Thing (right)
The dog did jump up barking and nipping at one particular group of two ladies and a guy as one of the ladies went to pet it. "Good luck with that," said the guy a
"Cuteness" is such a commodity that....
ey walked off. His implication was clearly that the dog wasn't going to help me make money by nipping at people.
But, the dog was friendly towards most of the tourists with only a few exceptions; and I was handed a 5 dollar bill by one young lady whom I encountered on my way to Rouses Market with the dog to get food. The dog didn't like the dry food which it came with.
Thanks for letting me pet your dog, she said.
Then another person handed me 5 dollars and told me to feed the dog.
Everybody seemed to love the Shetland in its heavy fir coat on an 85 degree night.
The dog waited excitedly as I dug through the trash at Rouses Market. I was the only one there at 1 a.m..
It being the 3rd of the month, the skeezers all either had their own disability checks or were skeezing off of those that had.
They were eating large at McDonalds and Krystals and were nowhere near Rouses reject-amentia. They wouldn't reappear for a few more days.
That would be when their entire months worth of disability money would out. They seem to be un"able" to fathom that phenomena.
Doogie and I went to the sign spot, and chowed down upon people food.
At some point in the night, its leash came unhooked from the shrub that I had wrapped it around; but the dog never bolted; rather, it dug itself a little bed, showering me with mulch in the process and lay down next to me. A good homeless dog, which had been owned at one time or other by every living skeezer in the quarter, I would find out the next day.
The next day, I woke up and was still a bit tired due to the lingering effects of the virus which had nearly killed me 4 days prior.
The temperature was creeping towards its eventual high of 90 as noon approached. The dog was panting.
I gave the dog all of the water which we had, which it gulped down.
I thought about how I wanted to blog for at least 3 hours in the air conditioned Starbucks; and how I would have to leave the dog tied up outside in the heat, to do so.
This was necessary since the battery has died on this 3 month old Toshiba laptop.
I may be able to get the battery replaced but will have to call their customer service number on the Obama phone, which crapped out in the middle of my 911 call when I was trying to call an ambulance Wednesday night.
Then, as I was walking down Canal Street ruminating upon these problems, the dog squatted and did its business right in the middle of the sidewalk right in front of the carpet which welcomed people to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.
Ooops, let me get that;  just need to fish some cardboard out of the trash can here, and then I can scrape up the bulk of it and just wipe up the rest with the napkins that  need to get out of restroom; -always wanted to see what it looked like in there... I must tell you that I just got this dog last night and the runny-ness of the stool that it just dropped on your "welcome to the Ritz-Carlton" rug is all about the previous owner which the dog had who fed the thing God knows what; I just wanted to say that; let me go into your restroom and grab some napkins (wash my face and shave real quick while in there) and come out and clean this mess up...

I cleaned it up, under the watchful eyes of the doormen, and then bent our tracks towards Sydneys, where I planned upon giving the dog back to Jason, telling him that I had not had to foresight to see that I spent too much time indoors, between showers at the VA, and computer time at the library or Starbucks; in order to give the dog the life that it deserved. It didn't deserve to spend half the day tied to a lamp post...
Before I had gotten half way to Sydneys, I noticed that Doogie was pulling me either left or right at each fork in the road. I decided to humor him and allow him to lead me by the leash, rather than the other way around.
We went through alleys and down side streets, encountering water fountains that I had never noticed before and which Doogie drank from; and encountering no less than 3 skeezers, all of which told me that they once owned Doogie. They petted him as they told me their histories with the dog ...lost him when I went to jail; then bought him back off of so and so for 5 packs of cigarettes; then he got stolen but we beat up the guy and stole him back; but then lost him when I went back to jail for beating up the guy on camera; and then sold him to so and so when I had to go to Tennessee and I couldn't take him on the Greyhound...this a good dog; just don't give him dry food; you know what he likes is those Dollar Store treats -the ones shaped like bones- don't you, Doogie, yeah good boy!
Then, I ran into one skeezer who was drunk and who physically grabbed the leash saying "I know whose dog this is!! This ain't your dog...you stole this dog...I've known this dog since it was a puppy!!!
After I produced the paperwork, witnessed by a couple of tourists, that skeezer was prevailed upon to let the leash go. I wasn't going to let him take it just on matter of principle. He was drunk and no shape to have resisted me; but on Doogie and I walked towards Rouses.
To Kermit, The Dog
Then, at Rouses Market, I encountered yet another skeezer whom I was somewhat acquainted with, named Kermit.
I had an iota of respect for Kermit because he is friends with Doreens Jazz Band members and has helped them out by holding their spot for them; and is has also helped Tanya and Dorise in some capacity which caused me to think that he might be a trustworthy person.
After deciding that I just couldn't keep the dog because of my lifestyle; the fact that it nipped at a couple tourists; crapped on the sidewalk and couldn't come inside buildings with me; I was thinking that the dog needed to be placed with someone who had a back yard that the dog could run around in.
Kermit also knew Doogie.
I told him that I was on my way to return the dog for the reasons outlined above.
Kermit told me that he was staying at a house and even gave me the address of it; then he said the "magic words" that he had "a back yard" with a fence around it, where the dog could run around.
Against my better judgement and my promise to Jason that I would bring it back to him if things didn't work out, I handed the dog over to Kermit, along with the paperwork.
I went on to see Jason at Sydneys, who asked immediately "Wheres the dog?"
I explained the above.
Jason said that he wasn't angry (which was kind of a veiled allusion to the fact that he may have felt that he had a right to be) but that he just wanted to meet this "Kermit," to make sure that he was a decent guy.
He was just getting off work, and so I bought a beer and accompanied him in a search for Kermit and the dog.
I had narrowed down the possible locations that we may have found him to a patch of land bordered by Rouses Market, which sells beer, on one end. And the spots where skeezers skeeze on Bourbon Street at the other extreme.
Getting to Rouses Market, we encountered a group of about 3 guys who, based upon their general appearances and the fact that they tried to skeeze us for a dollar as soon as we walked up; seemed like they might know the whereabouts of Kermit.
"Have you seen Kermit?" asked Jason of the first one.
"Kermit's in jail," said the second one.
"No he ain't. I saw him this morning," said the third one.
"I gotta get this dog back!," said Jason.
We headed in the direction of where all 3 of them agreed that he would probably be: "Up by Krazy Korner."
"There he is," I said to Jason as I spotted him on the corner in front of Krazy Korner, standing there but not holding a dog.
We approached him and Jason made a brief introduction and asked about the dog.
Kermit had sold the dog to "Dirty."
"I'm really sorry, I misread Kermit totally," I said to Jason as we stalked off in the direction of where "Dirty" sat on the sidewalk with another skeezer.
Dirty Dog Dealings
There was Doogie, laying in between them, near a cardboard sign which read something like: "My dog is starving; anything helps" and apparently appointed to guard a bottle of whiskey.
Dirty didn't want to give up the dog, even after Jason and I explained that the dog belonged to Jason and that I had (admittedly) made a mistake in giving it away; and that all (we) wanted to do was to place the dog in a better situation.
"I bought this dog," said Dirty, who was apparently not a very good liar.
"How much did you pay?" asked Jason, reaching for his wallet.
Dirty was in a quandry. Of course he wanted to skeeze the maximum value out of the situation; but if the amount he gave was too high, as in: "Where the hell did you get your hands on (insert implausible amount here) bucks, dirty?" then he wouldn't be believable. And, plus:
"I can just go ask Kermit how much he sold it for..." said Jason, who wasn't born yesterday...
Dirty started to mumble something about Kermit having owed him a debt which was cancelled as part of a deal which......
And Jason cut him short by pulling out a 20 dollar bill and asking: "How about 20 bucks? And, you won't owe Kermit anymore," he added not without a trace of sarcasm.
We walked off with Doogie, Dirty walked off to acquire a backup bottle of whiskey, and only one issue was left unresolved.
"It looks like I cost you 20 dollars by giving the dog to Kermit," I said to Jason.
"Just catch it up here and there," he said; which seemed fair.
The Skeezing Kettles
After all I did have 10 dollars just handed to me out of the blue in just one night of walking the dog.
I used that, in part, to get fresh batteries for my spotlight, to fix the 2 tuning machines on my guitar and to buy one new string...and to keep myself in beer, admittedly; lest I be the skeezing pot calling the skeezing kettles black.


alex carter said...

Looks like you finally got some medical care.

Sleeping under the pier does not sound healthy at all. And Lilly's right about that gator, even a little 5-footer can give you a hell of a time, remember they take deer and so on, the thing is, they grab a limb, then pull into the water while twisting. Plus all that bugger has to do is spot your hand, say, moving in your sleep, and think it's a smaller creature, grab it, Oops it's got a bigger creature, never mind now it's all in and will fight like hell to drag you into the water etc.

I'm pretty sure if you made yourself useful to Tanya & Dorise, they'd find some kind of housing for you. Plus the housing program for homeless people there.

alex carter said...

Since you bought the laptop at Radio Shack you should be able to call them using the phone at Radio Shack or they may just arrange to have a new battery sent to that store where you can pick it up.

Daniel McKenna said...

Yeah, they seemed to think that the purchase of the laptop will be easily checked upon without having to have receipts and the original box that it came in and to have mailed in the warranty card and to have "registered" the thing online and....Hopefully I can call in like you say and have a battery sent to Rebuild...I'm just thinking that I'll have to turn in the defective battery so they can use it for quality control; and I hope I don't have to spend 10 bucks to mail the (2 pound) thing to Taiwan...