Saturday, May 16, 2015

Stormy Friday

Yesterday, I almost decided not to go into the Quarter to play.

It was about 9 PM, and I was sitting on my bed, thinking that I needed one more night of water fasting and rest to put everything to right.
 
4 Days Without Booze, Cigarettes of Coffee

But then I thought that, like the sick person whose ailment lingers longer if he sits around waiting to get better, it would be better for me to get back and work my way through it.
In the back of my mind I was wondering if I just wanted to go into the Quarter because I would find tobacco there.

I took the street car into the Quarter, feeling so out of sorts that I didn't even want to look anybody in the eye along the way. My skin is slowly healing from the rash of eczema which had attacked me the week before; but, as is always the case; as the skin underneath heals, the skin on top peels; and one can look worse before looking better.
I was trying to make a beeline to the semi darkness of the Lilly Pad, where I would hang my spotlights in such a way that my face would be in the shadow of the brim of my hat.
I wanted money for things like laundry, and potting soil for the few plants that I have which have become "pot-bound" and for a mop of some kind for the apartment -not for booze or cigarettes or weed. This made going into the Quarter highly optional.
As I was sitting there on my bed at 9PM; I told myself what has become my mantra since getting the apartment: "If it sucks, I'll just get back on the cable car and come right back..."
Just as I was getting off the cable car at Canal and Bourbon streets, a few drops of rain started to fall.
I wondered if this was the universe telling me to get on the next car to take me back home where I would drink spring water and catch up on reading and writing and song practicing.
The rain stopped, but there was thunder and lightning in the sky as I walked down Chartres Street, and a moderate cool breeze from behind me.
I was feeling a lot of anger, for some reason. Skeezers seemed to be everywhere.
All the half smoked cigarettes on the ground were wet -the universe, again?
I got to the Lilly Pad to see a group of 3 skeezers in between my spot and Lafitts Blacksmith Shop Tavern. Their sign said: "Need money for beer and weed."
On Lillys other stoop sat a lady of about 50 years old who had some kind of sign of her own.
I no sooner had my guitar out when it started to rain pretty heavily.
I put it back in the case and sat on the stoop; as tourists scurried past; some of them voicing their displeasure over the fact that, because they had to go around me, they were forced to walk under a stream of water which was coming from a hole in Lilly's gutter.
(Lilly cannot fix the hole in the gutter without getting some kind of special permit; because the building is historic, and no kind of modernization is allowed, because it would mar the "period" aspect of the neighborhood. She would probably have to patch the thing using 18th century materials, or very good replicas of such).
I again considered running for the cable car as soon as the rain let up.
The old lady with the sign was doing a thriving business. I saw a few people, all of them males, stop and give her money; all of them speaking to her in a patronizing tone, as if saying: "Here you go, you poor thing..."
I was going to tell the lady "You can have this, I'm going home," as I walked past her on the way home.
She has been there before and always leaves for another spot as soon as I start to play. I don't know if Lilly has anything to do with that; but she does sit in front of her house.
Soon, a black guy on a bike arrived and stopped in front of the lady. Then I could smell marijuana. Then I saw the lady give the guy some money, whereupon he rode off. Probably to get the heroin, I couldn't help thinking. Those guys could have been handing her 10 and 20 dollar bills.
The guy on the bike seemed absolutely giddy as he rode past tourists, greeting them and making lighthearted comments and laughing.
It stopped raining and I went and got a dry piece of cardboard to sit on and set up my lights and began to play.
I was playing well, and sober; and instantly got a dollar 10 seconds into the first song ("Do You Want To Know A Secret," by The Beatles).
Then another skeezer whom I have had encounters with before, came an sat on Lillys stoop next to me.
He had come and sat there before.

The first time, he was drunk and listened for a while, then tipped me a dollar or two.

The next time, he sat there for a while, and after I began to pack up and call it a night because I was making anything with him there; and he noticed me leaving, he asked me for 2 dollars.

When I told him that I hadn't made that much that night (with him sitting there) he got angry and told me that he tipped me "all the time," and that he now just wanted 2 dollars (back).
I think I had said something like: "Well, were they tips, or were they loans?"

He returned a couple weeks ago and promptly nodded off. I moved to the other stoop that time, because, again, the tips stopped flowing; probably because it looked to people like we were partners, of some sort, and that he was nodding off on heroin, so I too was probably on it.

Last night, I think he was intentionally sitting there; because he didn't say a word, just sat there.

I didn't recognize him, before I had played a couple songs. He might have expected me to say something like: "Dude, I asked you not to just sit there and block my tip jar," and wondered why I didn't. But, he soon nodded off.

I went to the other stoop and made about 11 bucks; which I was alright with, considering the wet conditions; and the fact that I had forgotten to bring my tiposaurus and its sign, and the fact that I was then only a few feet from the lady with the sign and the pout on her face.

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