Saturday, January 17, 2015

Busking Sober

The big issue of yesterday was the fact that I had gone on another Dr. Christopher juice fast the day before, and I knew that coming into the Quarter to busk on apple juice alone was going to be a challenge.

It is easy to sit in ones living room alternating between sipping apple juice and distilled water every half hour and meditating; and another thing entirely to come into the Quarter and go through a regular day and night.

I wasn't sure that I could, or would, do it.

I had only 20 cents on me.

Having only 20 cents on one is NOT enough to keep one from drinking.

I walked the mile and a half down Canal Street, and then found myself headed towards where David the water jug player usually hangs out. He usually has a pint of vodka or gin in one of his pockets.

I veered away, towards Starbucks, where I bought a lady her coffee off of my gift card, telling myself that it was for streetcar fare, should I not make any money at all and be faced with the same mile and a half walk; only through the dark; and carrying a laptop in my pack and a guitar on my back.

I made it past the Unique Grocery Store without spending any of the 6 dollars (it was one of those fancy coffees, skim mocha chai latte frappicino with caramel or something) on any alcohol.

The sight of all the drunks milling about that place was repulsive to me (do I act that stupid when I drink?) and there was a gaseous odor of alcohol which 2 days of fasting had tuned my nose to.

I got to Rouses Market, after having passed Christina Friis, who was singing on the corner of Royal and St. Louis, the spot which I had held for her Monday night.

She congratulated me upon my 2nd day sober.

I told her that I still had to make it past Sydneys Beer and Wine, Liquor and Cigar Store, before getting to my playing spot.

"Don't do it," she said.

Sometimes someone saying that evokes a reverse psychology, making me prone to go and drink because I feel guilty over having let the person down by going and drinking; even before I went and drank.

I got to Rouses Market, where I used my food card to buy a half gallon of apple juice -the good kind; not from concentrate and $4.59 per bottle- the brand that Dorise Blackmon drinks.

Then, as I closed the last 4 blocks to my spot, I decided that I was going to go to Sydneys and get a half pint of vodka to spike the apple juice with. That way, I would still technically be on the apple juice fast; and vodka is just made from water, right.

I passed the spot where John Patton the classical guitarist usually plays, but he wasn't there. It was cold; about 45 degrees. He doesn't drink, and I thought that he might offer me a word of encouragement or congratulations, or play so well that I would conclude that the true masters don't drink and play.

Then I got to the corner where Sydneys was one way and my spot was the other way.

I couldn't bring myself to turn right towards the vodka and walk the walk of shame, mumbling to myself some kind of rationalization.

I went to the Lilly spot and set up. I had brand new batteries and a brand new piece of cardboard with "The tiposaursus rarely bites on it," and I played for a total of about and hour and a half, fumbling over the chords and notes (one really does have to re-learn how to play sober) and made 31 dollars, which I pocketed and walked the length of Bourbon Street witnessing drunken behaviors and smelling booze on everyone.

I spent $1.25 on the street car and made it back home, successful in my endeavors.

This morning, I bought a whisk broom and dustpan and a bottle of shampoo.

Now, I go out and try to make it 3 days sober. My mental energy is coming back, along with my memory for lyrics and songs; and it is about 55 degrees out (10 degrees warmer than last night).
I look forward to doing some material that I haven't done in a while; and then recording some stuff at the place, and then meeting Howard to watch football at the bar...tomorrow.

Bars serve non alcoholic stuff.


Alex said...

As long as you do your recording during the middle of the day I doubt anyone will complain in your building. I doubt you get that loud.

Daniel McKenna said...

The problem with me not getting that loud is similar to the problem with a dog which has been so beaten down that it walks with its head down and its tail between its legs; blearily looking out for danger.

Recording music for so much of the recent past while outdoors and fearing that the glow of the laptop screen is going to attract a thief to come up behind me with a 2X4 was not conducive to "singing out" and so with most of my past music, I've sounded nervous and tentative, like the dog.

And, I've kind of imposed a certain grace period upon myself; based upon a hypothesis that, if the new guy moves in and starts strumming away and singing out; those around, not having met me and talked to me and coming to understand that music is my livelihood, etc. would be more prone to try to nip it in the bud..."Oh, no! I'm not going to listen to this every night...we were here first, and need to lay down some rules, here....
Plus, I frankly didn't want to sound too happy (humbly grateful would be better) to be in my free permanent "assisted" housing unit...
Especially some of the security personnel who sit at the end of the hall near the back entrance (my apartment is at the end of the hall near the back entrance) and who cast a derisive, envious "...wish I could live rent free; must be way he deserves it, while I have to put in my 8 hours a day here..." look at me when I encounter them.
They would love to get someone thrown out..."HA HA! Back on the street, buddy! Get a job and pay rent, asshole!!"
When I was out in the hall seeing where the apartment next to me was situated (i.e. which walls I would have to pad with egg cartons to be considerate of them) one security guy asked me what I was looking at.
"I'm just wondering if my guitar is gonna leak through the walls."
"It do," he replied.
I hadn't even played a note and he was telling me that it was leaking through the walls...
That is indicative of a certain mindset to me...
That being said; I am gradually raising my voice into my louder registers, rather than sticking with Nine Inch Nails "under ones breath" style vocals (or taking the kind of half sung/half spoken Mark Knophler approach)not wanting to offend the neighbors...
Hopefully, once I am "friends" with "everyone" they will cut me some slack and just turn their TVs up a notch or two....