Monday, August 3, 2015

New Harp New Strings New Tuner

170 Dollar Friday

Friday night, I went out with one dollar to start my tip jar out with.
The one dollar had come from my friend Tim, the violinist.

I had smoked him up out of what was the remnants of my Thursday night, when I had made about 20 dollars, but then spent 10 on weed, and more on the usual.
I was playing and was ruing the fact that I was still playing the old harp with the few missing notes, when a couple came along, and sat by me and began to snort coke, profusely it seemed, as the sound of them vacuuming the stuff off of the little mirror that they had threatened to drown out the fine points of my music.
Within a minute or so of the snorting sounds, the lady turned to me and told me that what I had just played had been incredible and may have even been her favorite song.
She put a 100 dollar bill in my tip jar, it turned out, but I didn't see what it was when it went in. 
The way the night had been going, I wouldn't have been surprised if it were a one dollar bill. I had had people walk past and stop and tell me that I sounded awesome, or words to the effect, as they laid a single bill in my jar.
I played longer, and the woman placed more money in my jar.
At one point, she went off to use a restroom or something, leaving me with the guy that she was with, who was kind of burly and who told me that he was from "East L.A.,"
He asked me if I had any idea how much money he made each year.
I hazarded a good natur-ed guess of "450 Thousand a year."
"Try 3 million dollars," he replied.
Soon, the lady returned.
There was kind of a discussion between them; something about the powdered cocaine, I gleaned.
Then, a young, rather athletic looking black man arrived, and words were exchanged.
The guy said something to the black man, and then said something to the lady, of which I couldn't hear.
"I gave all my money to him (me)" she said, audible this time.
She wandered off with the black man, whereupon the guy who makes "try 3 million a year," actually turned to me and asked me for some of the money back.
But then the lady returned and he dropped the subject.immediately; leading me to believe that maybe she was the one who made the 3 million dollars.
I decided to take a break, after digging in the tip jar to whittle it down to an amount that I wouldn't cry over if some young punk ran off; and discovering that the lady had tipped me a 100 dollar bill, and then a 20, and then another 20.
I really felt like I should have been the man that I think that I am and said something to them like "Hey, I know you're partying and feeling pretty good, but did you really mean to tip me 150 dollars, I mean, I appreciate it, but a 20 dollar tip would have been fine with me."
I thought about saying that, but, then, wouldn't I be calling the guys integrity into question; he said he made 3 million dollars a year?
But it seemed clear that they had probably just bought an eight ball of coke for a hundred bucks and change, and then, in their exuberance, thrown me the balance of their money, misled by the false sense of security that the coke had given them that everything was beautiful and that it was going to last forever; that false sense that lasts for about 20 minutes; but it seems shorter....
I actually packed up and high tailed it to Lafitts, being careful not to make it look like I was trying to escape with money. I was.
I kind of had the sense that the lady was rich. Maybe the guy was some kind of giggolo who made "3 million a year" through the generosity of rich ladies who liked  burly guys...
I noticed that after the lady walked away with the young black guy who had "coke dealer" written all over him is when the guy seemed to press me with "Hey, could I get like 20 bucks back..we thought we had more money..."  but then, he would shut up when she returned.
"I gave him all my money," she said to him in a tone which sounded like: "And that's how I chose to spend it, rather than getting 'us' more coke; and so, deal with it!"
I went into Lafitt's, kind of like to hide; with my $170 in my pocket.
As I was leaving, I saw the guy conferring with a second young black guy who looked like a second coke dealer, and the body language that I saw didn't sit well with me.
The guy who had asked me for some of the money back had said something, and the young black guy in a tank top and expensive sneakers nodded to him and seemed to assure him of something, which, in my heightened state of consciousness could only have been: "Don't worry. Soon as his ass goes around that corner, I'll have your money back; and maybe a nice guitar for you!"
So, I went into Lafitts and struck up a mundane conversation with one of the waitresses about who the piano player had been that night. Then, I sneaked out of the side door and made a beeline for The Quartermaster, where I felt that I had friends that I had known for a couple years and who had known the French Quarter for a lot more than a couple years.
I explained my dilemma: A couple high on coke had thrown me all of their money and then started to come down and seemed to, at least on the part of the guy; want it back.
There was a young black guy with no shirt on standing outside, seemingly just waiting for something -perhaps for me to leave so he could follow me?
."Have you ever seen that dude that's just standing out there?"
They did. "He lives in the neighborhood; he comes here all the time; he's cool," they said. Cool for a guy who stands around with no shirt on, I think they meant.
So, I knocked off with 170 dollars, rather than try to play for more.
I told the story to a lot of people that I met along my way home; and they were just about unanimous in telling me words to the effect of: "You're a musician, you provided a service to them and they paid you for it. They have no more right asking you for the money back than they do going back to all the  bars that they had  been at and saying 'Look, those 18 dollar shots of Glenlivet were a little bit above our means and my girlfriend didn't realize what she was doing; could we have like 20 dollars back, please?"
And, by the grace of God, nobody that I told the story to turned around and said "They gave you 150 bucks?1? Damn! Hey let me get 10 dollars!" I really would have said "Fuck you," and walked away. I was worried for my least until the couple woke up the next morning with the entire memory of me erased....
I still felt kind of sleazy though, as if I had taken advantage of their altered state the same way a guy does who slips stuff in a girls drink and then basically rapes her.
I really was hoping that they are either only here for the weekend or that one of them really does make 3 million dollars a year and they were able to just chuckle over it in the morning, over their continental breakfast at the Hotel Monteleone.

The next day, I went to the music store and got a brand new harp, some brand new strings and a brand new tuner, not a Snark, but a Stagg.
I had a bottle of red wine and went out to play, expecting to be whacked by a disgruntled coke dealer, who would claim that it had been his money (technically, somehow) and that the lady had no right to spend it because it was his and he wanted it back; if I gave him back at least 50, then things would be cool.
At that point, I would have said: "Man, I don't even know what you're talking about; I make 100 dollar tips every night, I don't even remember who you're talking about."
I had a smooth night and recovered some of what I had spent that day.
I really felt like I should have spent the money kind of irresponsibly; given the circumstances of its source. I should have looked the lady in the eye and said, "Look, you gave me a very generous tip, are you sure you weren't a little extravagant?"
And at that point, she might have said: "I was high as a kite and I just gave you everything in my purse because I was feeling that Eric Clapton song as if angels in heaven were singing it just for me; but...yeah...I could use maybe 20 bucks back so I don't have to walk to the hotel."
Or, she could have said: "That is just so sweet of you to even think of my concerns, and, you know what; I'm gong to go around the corner to the ATM and grab you another 500 bucks (that's the most that the stupid bank lets me withdraw at one time; even though my boyfriend makes 3 million a year).
I really should have done that; but I didn't.
I think that...
may be becoming....
God, I can't even type the word.....
There I said I have to go vomit.....

The computer room is still shut down at theplace, and so these posts may become more sporadic

1 comment:

Alex said...

You need not feel guilty, you did not do the equivalent of roofying someone, the equivalent to THAT would be if you were a pickpocket or pickpurse. She was blowing money like mad and someone was gonna get it that night. That being said if it were me I'd take a few days off and get me some needed things like new strings etc.... Plus check out Wrangler Pro Rodeo jeans, the ones with the tag with a kid roping a calf on them, they wear like iron, shoudnt cost you more than $25 a pair new, and have a secret watch pocket that's handy for a cash stash. So you get mugged etc, you even let em go through your pockets they're not gonna find the hundys in there!