Saturday, March 21, 2015

14 Dollars Per Harpless Hour

12:15 AM Start
I got to the Lilly spot after leaving EnVie Cafe at midnight, when they closed.
The streets were pretty empty along the way, but there was the usual swarm of people milling about Lafitts Blacksmith Shop Tavern, visible as soon as  I made the corner.
I got to Lillys stoop to find a crack pipe and some brillo sitting upon it, which I threw into a nearby puddle, left from the earlier rain storm.
The coffee that I had drank had me wired; but in a strange way, having not eaten in 4 days.
The first half hour only produced a dollar and 50 cents, and had me thinking that I had, at least paid for the cable car ride home.
Harmonica Blown
My harmonica proved to be unplayable, with yet another note which wouldn't sound, and the some of the other ones out of tune. There is a reason that the Hohner "Ol' Standby" brand are only 12 dollars.
I played minus the harp.
The Guy Who Wants To Play Your Guitar
A guy came along and offered me 5 dollars if he could play a song for his girlfriend, whose birthday it was, on my guitar.
I accepted, and he played the Steelers Wheel song, "Brandy," and substituted the girls name, which escapes me now, for the title. A couple of his friends added a couple more dollars, after he was finished, and "Brandy" made a motion towards her purse, but then rescinded, probably remembering that it was her birthday and, wanting the guy to feel like HE paid for the gift of music to her.
I kept playing, without the harmonica, and became determined to get a new one today, especially after a 10 dollar tip from a guy, who told me to "keep spreading the love."
I spread the love until 2:17 AM, giving me about exactly 2 hours of playing time, and 28 dollars and 50 cents.
Sleepless In NOLA
Getting back to the apartment at 3 AM, I sat up and read the newspaper over coffee, and then tried to go to sleep at around sunup, but was still up, with my mind racing over random things, like Benjamin Orr, the bass player for the band The Cars, who died of cancer at the age of 55.
Will I Outlive Him?

His solo album, "The Lace," ("Stay The Night," "Too Hot To Stop") became one of my favorites, and I wondered how old he was when he recorded it; trying to remember which year it came out, and trying to calculate his age at that time, based upon trying to estimate his age at the time of the Cars debut release, which I estimated at 1977, and then finally, wondering how he felt physically at my present age, which would be 3 years before he died; and then eventually telling myself: "Can't you just go to sleep and stop worrying about Benjamin Orr?!?"
It was no use. My mind drifted to Linda Ronstadt, who now has Parkinsons? disease and can no longer sing because she can't control her vocal muscles; and thought about how she too, in 1977 was so young and pretty; and remembered one particular photo of her, sitting on a roadie case, backstage in a pretty black dress, waiting to go on stage; and wondered about the publicity and marketing machine which brought us all Linda Ronstadt, and how the "industry" has changed now. I determined that Linda is my favorite female vocalist of all time (Stevie Nicks "warbles" a bit too much) and then finally told myself: "Stop worrying about Linda Ronstadt, and get some sleep, dammit!!" To no avail.
Then, Tim, my case worker knocked on the door, just to say "hi" and make sure I was alright.
I told him that I had been up tossing and turning for 3 and a half hours with my mind racing, and that, no, he hadn't woken me up.
We talked for a good hour, mostly about music -he plays guitar and writes songs; and then I was somehow able to drift off and sleep from about 2 PM, until 8:40 PM, when I woke up, realizing that I had 1 hour and 20 minutes to get to the music store and buy a new harmonica, out of the 35 bucks that I then had. I didn't make it.
Am I keeping you up 40 years from now, Daniel?

My time management skills are basically terrible, even without the alcohol (5 days sober, as of now btw).
Somehow, lacing my boots, sipping coffee, brushing my teeth, bagging up my trash, packing my backpack, making a new "The Tiposaurus Rarely Bites" sign, putting 2 new strings on the guitar, deciding upon the sea green shirt over the white shirt, staring out the window and spacing out for a minute, missing the first cable car that I saw by seconds...all added up to me being dropped off at a certain time on Canal Street. I checked the time as I hurried down Chartres Street, to see that I had only 8 minutes to make the 15 minute walk there.
Now, I face a second night without the harmonica, and will probably play the same 2 hour time slot. Time sucks. Just asks Linda Ronstadt and Benjamin Orr... 

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