Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Nice Try

I was determined to start a juice fast yesterday, and to abstain from alcohol.

I made it through most of the day, drinking expensive bottles of things like an apple cider vinegar drink and an organic white tea and ginger one; purchased at the big Rouses Market on Baronne Street off my food stamp card in the early afternoon; while I blogged using their wi-fi.
Then, I walked the mile to the Starbucks on Canal Street, where I had planned upon going inside and working some more on this laptop.
Having varied my morning "routine," by waking up at the residence of Jim (my friend who has Parkinson's Disease) and then walking to the Unity office; the big Rouses Market, and then into town; I found that it was easy to be unshaken in my resolve to stay sober.
Once I reached the familiar haunt of Canal Street, I started dying for a beer; and I felt a huge vacuum sucking me, along with the $2.65 in my pocket, across the street and to The Unique Grocery.

I had one more struggle with my inner self, and I walked across the street to in front of The Old Saint bar and restaurant, to think.

I saw that one of my number one excuses for imbibing, Monday Night Football, was an hour and a half away from kick off.

I decided to get a beer.

Turning back towards The Unique Grocery, I came face to face with none other than Leslie (who may just have materialized out of the ether, the instant that I opted to get a beer).

He was carrying his mandolin method book.

I told him that I had sneaked off the prior night because he was starting to become angry...
"...over stupid things," he finished my sentence.

He apologized again (the 3rd time, if you're keeping track) for being "out of line."

Then, he asked me if I was in a position to help him out with bus fare. This would indicate that he had not enough money (out of the 400 dollars which he had gotten 5 days before) to get one more beer, and then take the bus home.

"I have, like, 2 single dollars, and I don't even know how much change. I didn't play at all yesterday; just drank and watched football..."

Then, an amazing thing happened: Mr. Hard-to-get-rid-of replied: "Well, I guess you're headed to the spot to play," and then walked off.

I then went to get my first malt liquor of the night, over my own protests.

Dire Straits For Johnny B.

I walked down Royal Street, and past Johnny B., who was playing across from the Hotel Monteleone with a thin black guy on saxophone, whom he has been jamming with, lately (and reporting a spike in revenue; even after splitting 50-50 with the guy).

He called to me, and I returned.

He asked me if I was still outdoors; and after I replied in the affirmative, told me that he was in dire financial straits; having had a "terrible week" and having had bills come in unexpectedly. He said that we might be able to work something out.
I hadn't been pretentious enough to think that he had been offering me a chance to freeload, at least not for more than one night; but now he was laying his cards on the table.

Too embarrassed (or proud) to say: "Dude, I have $1.32 in my pocket," ...and it's Monday night; and as I look up and down Royal Street, I am not seeing just as many tourists as I'm sure you're not seeing... So, I told him that I had watched football and spent money the prior day.

Johnny B. has told me that he considers me talented, and told me that I "always sound good," (after I had mentioned that, with the stuffed up left ear, I couldn't hear myself very well and wondered how I sounded) and he probably equates this to my having an income level approaching his.

Again, the short answer is: Johnny B. has a Roland Street Cube amp, and a Shure microphone, and plays a $3,000 Taylor guitar (I looked it up on Guitar

He is loud enough to stand up to the saxophone guy who plays acoustically (but, they are in an enclave which reflects the sound) and, turning the "effects" knobs to add reverb and echo also adds money to his tip jar; giving him about a 4 to 1 advantage over myself, money-wise.

I have never exaggerated the amounts of money which I have reported making; the times that he had been curious. Maybe the 136 dollar night which I had almost a month ago now, stuck in his memory.

I tried to hint at a ballpark figure of what I might reasonably be willing to chip in on his rent in the future by adding: "I would have to have at least a 50 dollar night, before I would consider breaking some off to stay inside....that would leave me enough for my daily expenses..."
He nodded, without hesitation, and said: "I understand" in a tone which at least indicated that he would charge less than 50 dollars per night. -minus "my daily expenses" he might be thinking around 20 dollars per night.

Economics 101

My rule of thumb; established when I used to 1998, is that 20% of my income was comfortable; 25% do-able, and rising above 30% began to put a strain upon my finances.

So, if I DID have a 50 dollar night; I would be comfortable giving him 10 bucks to crash on his floor; $12.50 would be do-able; and I would probably rather wake up at the sign spot with the whole 50 dollars on me than sacrifice 15 of it....

"Well, if you do get blessed tonight, I'll be here 'til 11," he said, as I walked off.

I walked towards the Lilly spot, stopping at Rouses Market, to get a second beer, knowing that it would mean that I would be starting out with no seed money

But, I had come up with a solution to that problem by tearing into dollar sized strips the cover to a pamphlet which I had found which was pretty close to the right shade of green, and had designs and patterns on it which were close enough, in the dim light of the Lilly spot.

I still haven't gotten batteries for my spotlight, as I am trying to get them while they're still on sale at Wal-Greens. (32 batteries for 10 bucks plus tax).

There were hardly any tourists out. The excuse was that they were all inside places, watching the game. The Saints were playing.

I took a couple breaks to peek in on the action, finding almost full and cold due to the weather, beers each time. The second one a...

The Curse of the Thompson Residence

My business really has fallen into disarray through the course of the 3 weeks spent at Leslie's house. And the recordings which I made are small consolation.

Reaches Even Deeper

Plus, the Unity worker at The Rebuild Center this morning, asked me where I had been, and reiterated that they were placing "just veterans until the first of the year" and that I had been "missing in action."


Now, on this Tuesday night, I go out with one 25 cent piece in my pocket; the tiposaurus jar

1 comment:

alexcarterartist said...

I think that's a good rule for rent, I believe the Section 8 calculation is that rent should be no more than 1/4 your pay, and rent's worked out for me OK when it's been 25% or less of my income.