- 8 Dollar Monday
- 4 Dollar And 50 Cent Tuesday
- Attempt At Smoking Cessation Made
I am at Starbucks; it is 6:56 PM, and therefore, I haven't smoked a cigarette in 3 and a half hours.
I am working on day 17 without a drop of alcohol; but the alcohol thing seems like child's play, compared to how I feel right now, with a cup of coffee in front of me and money in my pocket (despite having made an almost record low amount of $4.50 last night).
Near Record Low
I could almost say that I set a record for the least amount of money that I have ever made since coming to New Orleans in 2011, last (Tuesday) night.
I definitely set the dollars/hour low, after having played for 3 hours, and made $4.50, plus a good pair of socks.
The socks were from a couple of ladies, who turned out to be from Ohio (40 miles north of Cincinnati) who offered me first a peanut butter sandwich, then added: "or, we have some socks."
They had stopped and listened to me playing "Best of My Love," by The Eagles; and waited for me to finish, before starting off with the oft dreaded: "We don't have any cash, but..." and then gave me the heavy socks, after I explained my aversion to the oil that the peanut butter in the sandwich most likely contained.
I thought that they were on a mission from a church group; but they never tried to pray over me; unless they were doing it inwardly.
Day 16 Sober
I was working on 16 days without alcohol; and had struggled mightily earlier that day.
Twice, I decided that I was going to drink; but just didn't.
The first time was after getting off the cable car, and walking past David the water jug player, who was slumped over on the bench of the very same cable car stop, asleep, and to the Unique Grocery store.
I was about to grab an energy drink, and then changed my mind. I would grab an orange juice and then get a half pint of vodka to spike it with.
But, I didn't do it. I got to the register, where I practiced one of the Amharic phrases which I have learned out of an Amharic phrase book that I downloaded.
It is the language which they speak in Ethiopia, which is where at least 3 of the employees at the Unique Grocery hail from.
I had already known how to say "hello" and "thank you"; but had expanded my repertoire to include "long time no see" (or equivalent) and, distracted by trying to repeat the phrase as I had memorized it; and by the ensuing surprise and joy evinced by the 2 Ethiopians upon hearing their native tongue emanating from the likes of me; I forgot all about the vodka, and walked down Royal, puffing away on a cigarette.
Had I been drinking, there is no way I would have been up in the mornings learning Ethiopian; along with several other pursuits; and retaining what I learned.
I think that is what trumped the urge to drink; an urge which is just spawned by insecurity before going out on a Tuesday night to play -a night which can be dismal, money-wise. The irony there is; Why spend money to get drunk because you are afraid that you might not make any money?
I get a better feeling from communicating in Ethiopian than I do from the bottle, I guess.
A Monster Temptation
But, then I decided that I was going to hit Sydneys before going to the Lilly spot, to get something to drink -something high quality, and a little more expensive; perhaps a micro-brewed ale.
I walked towards that store, but opted for a $2.50 Monster Energy drink, once there. I guess I still satisfied the desire to spend a lot on a drink with that purchase...
I could feel the eyes of one cashier in particular upon me as I walked towards the cooler.
She had given me a disappointed look when I first walked in. Maybe she was having a bad day and "everything was falling apart;" and now even Daniel, whom the last time she spoke with had said that he had gone X number of days without drinking; was back at it; what a world of shattered hopes...
She happily rung up my Monster drink; and I felt like I could afford it, with all the money I was saving on alcohol.
Sobriety On My Side
It turned out to be a good thing that I was sober, on a night when I only made $4.50 in three hours.
A drunken me wouldn't have appreciated the fact that I had gotten a new pair of heavy socks, which are a few dollars in value; and the fact that there just weren't a lot of people out. There were stretches of 10 minutes or so when nobody walked past me
I probably would have gotten angry, in general; and might not have even made the $4.50.
Then, I would have been in that mood when I walked Bourbon Street, picking up discarded drinks, on the way home, past all of the skeezers who had endured the same hardship on a night when tourists were few and far between and cheap to boot.
They didn't seem to be taking it as well.
There were skeezers on the verge of fist fighting; even the female ones. A lot of people who didn't get their fix of heroin that night were about; in my face, telling me that they were "sick" (and I had to do something about that) and I had to take the high road and walk past them without setting them off like a powder keg by reflecting their toxic attitudes back at them. A drunken me would have teased them by saying that I had just spent my last 20 dollars on an eight gram of "donkey" (a opaque corruption of "Mexican tar" heroin) just to tease them mercilessly so they would follow me, begging every step of the way; so I could make snide remarks, and make them suffer.
I was thankful for the 16 dollars that I still had; the new pair of socks; the apartment where I was headed where a new jigsaw puzzle waited for me, with fish defrosting in the fridge, an plenty of pasta, etc.
My playing had been a little off, but that was almost like a correction of how well I had played on Monday night; when I had made just 8 dollars; from a similarly sparse crowd.
Monday, on the way into the quarter, a guy gave me 5 dollars, after I had watched his dog while he ran in and out of a store. That had me entering the quarter with about 20 bucks on me.
The "crazies" have gotten their "crazy checks," today, along with other disabled types.
This means that most of the tenants at Sacred Heart Apartments will have money for the next, I would say, 7 to 10 days.
This morning I woke up and wrote the following:
"This is a dumb song..." is ringing in my head; on this sunny Wednesday morning, with the forecast high of 80 degrees well on its way to coming to fruition.
I feel like jogging, or something; I might do a couple sets of push ups and then hit the street.
I ate fish last night, for the first time in 2 weeks, and I must say that, despite having strange dreams after having gone directly to sleep after eating it, I feel as good as I have since about day 8 of the fast, when I broke it by eating an orange. That orange gave me "a sense of well being."
It is time to take the step to quit smoking, by smoking my last cigarette, inhaling it deeply and admitting to myself that I am not enjoying it, only alleviating the craving for nicotine, and would smoke it even if I had bronchitis and it made me cough until I saw stars.
Out I Go
I now leave Starbucks, on this Wednesday night, hoping to make some money.
My food money comes in about 75 hours.
I am craving a cigarette; but I am also thinking about a beer; to celebrate not having had a cigarette for 4 hours now; a good high quality, nutritious beer. I must walk past The Unique Grocery; I might as well step inside and say "Hello, long time no see" in Ethiopian, while I'm in the neighborhood.