Thursday, May 28, 2015

I Chew On The Idea Of Eating

17th Day of Juice Fast...
  • 31 Dollar Friday
  • 19 Dollar Saturday
  • $5.25 Sunday
  • Rained Out Monday
  • 16 Dollar Tuesday
  • $12.50 Wednesday
13 days sober are in the books.
At 10 PM this evening, I reached the milestone of 13 days without alcohol nor coffee.
On the evening of the 12th day (Saturday) I broke up the foursome of alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and weed, further; reducing it to 2 items, by smoking weed.
Alcohol and coffee are still "alive" in the game of "Can I Stay Off It?"
New Weed Guy
It turns out that a particular older black guy who is skinny, and sits often on Lilly's stoop opposite to me sells weed. At least he's not skeezing.
He is the same guy who was sitting there the night that the new kid in town set up and was busking next to Lafitts Blacksmith Shop Tavern; and the one who Lilly, after running the kid off, enlisted to keep an eye on me. "I know you sit here a lot and I never say anything to you; and I don't mind you staying here, but will you keep a watch in case that guy and his friends come back and try to mess with Daniel?"
I was packing up Saturday night at about 1:30, to take what I was thinking would be a 20 minute break, when he spoke up, asking me if I was leaving. "No, just taking a break..."
"That's what I need too; a break," he said, and then reiterated what he had said the previous Saturday: "Don't worry; ain't nobody gonna mess with you here."
Then, as I was walking away, he kind of mumbled something in which the word "weed" stood out.
5 dollars and an especially large (just for me) bud, and a trip to the corner store for rolling papers and 5 minutes sitting on some other stoop smoking, later, I was back on the stoop to play another 45 minutes, or so.
There was rain in the forecast for Sunday, and so I thought that I should strike while the iron was hot, and get in as much busking as I could that night.
I had needed a break, though, feeling like I had for the moment, run out of talent.
I chose another stoop to smoke because Lilly seems to be against marijuana; certainly with regards to her daughters; who might be led down the road to promiscuity (or, led to step out of their front door and walk to the right, to use a metaphor) if their resolves were ever weakened by the hallucinogenic.
This is undoubtedly why the weed guy had kept me in the dark about his activities all this time; and why he had mumbled the word "weed," thinking that Lilly and I might be of the same mind on the subject of the "whacky tobaccy;" and that I might inform her and get him thrown off of the stoop. Although, I would lose a bodyguard in that scenario.
The iron was only luke warm, as I made just a few more dollars before knocking off at 2:45 AM, Sunday morning.
Health And Science
I am on a juice fast right now; 13 days in.
I came back to the apartment, looking forward to the grape juice that I had picked up at CVS off of my food card; the card that I am about to be put through the ringer for (beginning 7 days from now).
Note Concerning Job1 Job Acquisition School
I believe that had I intentionally flunked the reading test, they would have said "Sorry, you aren't eligible for the skills seminar. You don't have the opportunity to come here at 9 AM every day for two straight weeks, and stay until 3 PM each day (learning God knows what).
To boil my hypotheses down, I had concluded that the "Job" classes, if they are not a test to see who can manage to merely show up daily and do God knows what for 6 hours; and thereby qualify themselves for actual decent jobs that the agency would be happy to connect them to; then they are either A: a ploy to weed off of the food stamp program as many people as possible (by knowing that a portion of the people on food stamps are on food stamps because they are f***-ups; and they are going to f-up somewhere along the two week line and then, BAM! the state will be able to save another 194 bucks times 3, after they close his account for 90 days (the penalty for failure to comply with the program -The irony, of course being, the program is ostensibly there to protect the true f***-ups against starvation because; how are they going to hold a job if they can't even make it to some boring class for two weeks straight, without missing a day? They NEED food stamps).
B: Just a means for the people that work there to keep their cushy government jobs by pushing their pencils, and they could care less who has to take the classes, and who gets out of them by telling them the right things.
I mean to call them and ask somebody what the deal is with losing your food money for 3 months if you refuse a job that you are offered. Then, I need to ask my caseworker here if I would have to start paying rent should I take the minimum wage job that they might offer me; and how much would I have to pay.
Howard has to pay one third of his income in rent.
If I worked 40 hours per week at minimum wage; a rough estimate would have me paying over 300 bucks per month for rent; in order to continue getting 194 bucks in food each month; but wait; if I was making money, then, they would probably reduce my food benefits to the 140 per month that Howard gets. So I would be set back 160 bucks a month and have to work 40 hours per week at a minimum wage job, to make it happen.
I Test My Hypotheses: OK, I Called Them, But First...

16 Dollar Tuesday
Tuesday night, I went out and played, having switched to spring water only on this, the 16th day of the fast. I felt commensurately weak, physically, but my spirits remained high and, I had blown off the idea of smoking weed, so I wasn't insecure and paranoid, nor  laboring under any of the other side effects of that hallucinogen. The happy busker always makes some money.
I had gotten a Snark® guitar tuner from Dorise Blackmon, after I had talked to her Sunday night, and asked her if she had "any old tuners laying around" that she might sell to me cheaply. She was out and about Tuesday and met me at the thrift store which is near her house and gave it to me. I had bought a 4 pack of light bulbs for a dollar, and a wall clock for 3 dollars.
What a difference a tuner makes. Set it and forget it and focus upon the music. I had never used a tuner before in 8 years of busking.
"All my guitars now, have tuners built in, so I never use it," said Dorise.
I tuned up and made 16 bucks in the two hours between 10:30 PM and 12:30 AM, which I was happy with, because there was a sparse crowd; and I am playing and singing my best.
I Chew On The Idea Of Eating
I was thinking that it might be time to start eating. A lot of the chronic pain in my cervical spine has diminished, but hasn't totally gone away; and eczema is almost a non factor.
I wasn't sure if I would start by eating apples, by the bushel, or brown rice only, for the next few days. I should consider going 40 days, like the heavyweights, such as Jesus did*.
*I have my doubts about that figure, considering that "40" was used biblical to mean "I can't count because this is the first century and education just isn't what it will be 2,000 years from now but, it was a hell of a long time; like 40 days!"
The danger with breaking the fast rears its head in the fact that I am craving brown rice and warm sake right now -seems like heaven now.
I Test My Hypothesis About Job1
One of my personality flaws has always been the reluctance to, and hence procrastination in getting on the phone and calling around, to acquire information and to save myself trips and to avert surprises, by getting the scoop right from the horses mouth; rather than relying upon, say, a letter which I had received.
I have a friend named Donna, who uses her phone prodigiously. If she were to receive a bill in the mail, she would immediately call the issuer, to alleviate any minimal wonder she might have "Hi, I just got my bill, and I just want to make sure it's right.." or, before the first day of school, calling the school to make sure that her kids bus stop will still be in the same spot, in case they had neglected to send her a notice. She got a lot of peace of mind out of using her phone that way.
Myself, I have always been the opposite. I think that, if I call people, they might say something that I don't want to hear, and I will no longer be able to hope for the best; having gotten the worst, right from the horses mouth. It's as if; what I don't know can't hurt me.
And so, I am very reluctant to get on the phone. A lot of times I think that I could make matters worse by saying the wrong thing.
But, this morning, I called the number on the letter which told me that I needed to show up at Job1 on Monday morning.
The phone only rang once before it was picked up by a guy who sounded so relaxed that, adding the fact that I heard no background noise at all, I thought I had dialed the wrong number.
I explained that I had gotten the letter, and he basically asked me what I needed to know; kind of curtly. I wondered if I heard in his tone of voice: "Go ahead; try to get out of it. Ain't happenin'. We got you by the short hairs, Unity apartment dweller!"
I just started talking and explaining my situation and voicing my concerns.
He assured me that they weren't a staffing agency and that they were not going to find a job to try to foist upon me. He added that they didn't want to help get me a job that I didn't want, but rather one that I did want, one which would help me along in my "career."
He said that the 60 hours would be devoted to more than just teaching me how to fill out a job application; it would involve creating a resume and doing practice interviews, and such.
He did concede that one aspect of the program was to weed people off of food stamps. He mentioned some politicians who "think they are all mooches."
I told him that, when I did work, I made much better than minimum wage, but that the (computer) skills that I utilized then, have become obsolete.
It's kind of funny that the "breakthrough" for me came after I made a random comment. I said something like: "Oh, I was worried that they were going to tell me that I needed to be at the marina in the morning, wearing hip boots and ready to clean tar out of the bottom of barges...if I valued my $194/mo. in food benefits."
"Actually, there's pretty good money in that but, yeah, I understand what you are saying..."
Then, I mentioned that I used to work out of the labor pool in Jacksonville, Florida, as "recently" as 2006, but then the new house market dried up and the labor pool jobs along with it. "And that's when I became a musician."
"You're a musician?"
"Well, then, you work. Do you do gigs?"
"No, I play on Bourbon Street with a tip bucket out."
"And, is that how you make your living?"
"That's where all the money that's in my pocket has come from for the last 8 years."
Then, the nice man, who described himself as "a liberal socialist" at one point, told me to write a letter stating that I worked 40 hours (his words) a week as a street musician; then get the letter notarized, then bring it to them before the start of classes on Monday; and I will be exempted from the program.
No threats of being cut off for not walking the line; no income to report to the apartment people; life back to normal.

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