Monday, July 27, 2015

Dealing With Adversity

50 Dollar Saturday
Yesterday (Sunday) I took the trolley into the Quarter.
I was, once again, up against the clock in a race for the Louisiana Music Factory, to get a new harmonica. One of the notes had plugged the night before.
I was still able to make 50 bucks, mostly due to the fortune of having one Tanner, and his girlfriend, Casey sit on the stoop to my right and listen and request songs.
When they first sat down there was another couple of guys, one of which kept wanting to play my guitar, to my left.
The guy threw me a 5 dollar tip, and asked if that was enough to cover him playing my guitar for "a song."
It was pretty late at that point, and so I weighed the amount of traffic against the 5 dollars and let him play.
He did interesting stuff which, it turned out, was not his own. It was some Hawaiian "ska" band, that he told me I should check out, and the name of which escapes me now.
He wanted to do more interesting stuff, and I kind of protested that I needed to get back to work, and I think his buddy put another 3 or 4 dollars in the jar, and he played some more.
They finally left and I turned my attention to the couple to my right who were apparently not with the two to my left.
The guy introduced himself as Tanner and said that he had sat on that very same stoop and conversed with me and I had played him music last year at about the same time.
He was understanding of my not recognizing him, because I see thousands of people a year, yet those people only see one guy with a hat and a harmonica and singing about carcasses, or what have you. It's easier for them to remember me is my now belabored point.
Tanner and Casey wound up throwing me a 20 dollar bill, plus the singles that they had thrown while I was playing, and it brought my total to almost exactly 50 bucks for the night, which ran about 3 hours.
There were a couple of Susan B. Anthony dollars in the bottom of the jar with the change, and I  could recall where they came from. I remember that I had thanked the guy whose tip went into the jar with the telltale chink of change, just as sincerely as I would have somebody who had place a 100 dollar bill on top of the pile in plain view.
It's easy to think, sarcastically, "thanks a lot for the change, a couple more tippers like you and I can afford the trolley ride home," but there have been several occasions when I heard change going into the jar only to discover later that it added up to several dollars worth, and often to discover that Susan B. Anthony coins comprised most of it.
That was Saturday night, and I left the spot and headed in the general direction of the trolley on Canal Street, feeling rich after having started with 2 dollars and ended with 50.
I drank a couple of brews which set me back almost 8 dollars; ran into David the water jug player, who asked to borrow 3 dollars, so that he could get an all day bus pass at 4 AM and ride around sleeping in the air conditioned bus for 8 hours.
I gave him the 3 dollars, which he promised to pay back.
Sunday, I made it to the music store just before they closed, bought my harmonica, and then ran into a girl with some weed, right across the street from the place.
I bought a "nick," and then, overcome with feelings of generosity and realizing that the time was only 8:30 PM, and my spot really never even starts to get busy until an hour after that, I decided to walk back to Canal Street to smoke up a friend of mine.
I met a guy at Rouses Market who was carrying a guitar and who said that he loved to play Grateful Dead music.
I told him that I was on my way to smoke up a musician friend of mine, whereupon he offered to pitch in some weed, which he described as "better than that," after I had shown him what I had gotten for 5 bucks.
The result of getting baked on Canal Street on what indeed turned out to be better than that was, that I made it back to the Lilly Pad and began to play, forgetting to replace the harmonica with the missing note with the brand new one, but somehow thinking that I had.
I was so happy to have a brand new harmonica, even though I wasn't using it, that I swear the old one began to sound like a new one, and there weren't any missing notes on it. It was like mind over matter.
But, it was Sunday night, and the fates did not conspire to embellish that miracle to include me making more than 3 dollars in the couple hours that I played.
I knocked off, with less than 5 dollars on me, and a brand new harmonica (which was still un-played, since I had forgotten to switch it for the old one) and the whole of the sack of weed.
I then walked Royal Street, stopping to listen to another musician named Daniel who has a very distinctive singing voice and who sits on Royal, usually at the same spot by the Supreme Court building.
It was there that I discovered that I had been playing the old harp all night, when I found the brand new one, still unopened, in my backpack..
I began to break it in, playing softly along with Daniel, and eventually jamming a long at a good volume.
"That sounded good," said Daniel.
Then, I somehow lost the new harmonica.
It may have fallen out of my pocket when I squatted down to get in my backpack, wearing pants which are my least favorite because they are too large and require me to tighten my belt, and because the pockets have a tendency to flop open, allowing things to fall out.
Maybe I didn't hear the thing hit the ground over Daniel's playing, or maybe someone picked my pocket at the Unique Grocery, or maybe it fell out onto the seat of the trolley, but, scour the apartment as I did this morning, it was nowhere to be found and I suffer the humiliation of knowing that I spent 12 bucks on a harmonica that I never got to use, and tonight I go back out with the old, and out of tune, one; and this is a test of my proclivity in dealing with adversity.
I ran into David the water jug player, before getting on the trolley where the harp may have fallen out of my pocket; whose first words to me, echoing the ones of the past few consecutive days, were "Tell me you have some weed."
I kind of got angry, and began to think that David is the kind of person who, if you tell him you did "alright," and had a 50 dollar night, is going to turn into a leach.
Not only did he make no mention of paying me back the 3 dollars that I had loaned him, in the midst of my feeling that I was well off after a 50 dollar night, and that the next night promised to be just as good, with the new harmonica; here he was asking me to smoke him up.
I got kind of angry and walked away.

1 comment:

Alex said...

You need to get pickier about pants, Wrangler Pro Rodeo jeans are only about $20 brand spankin new, I swore by em when I got around by motorcycle and they have great pockets, even a secret-ish watch pocket for your major cash stash.