Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A Free Ride

Come on and take a free ride.


I was up early enough Monday, after having having had an 18 dollar Sunday night after I skipped Saturday night after having had a 67 dollar Friday night.


Friday night was so wild that I only this (Tuesday) morning discovered another 3 dollars inside my guitar, when I was shaking it, looking for my pick, which wound up being on my almost pick colored couch.


I remembered that, on Friday night, a guy came along and sat by me, who had a 4 year old boy with him. The boy drew some attention and comments from a few tourists who evinced mild shock over seeing a toddler on Bourbon Street at nearly midnight. I had made enough money at that point that I merely saw an opportunity to take a break while the little boy made toys of my sharks, and, of course, the tiposaurus. The father told him to leave them alone, as they were part of my stage setup, but I told them it was OK, even as the boy pulled the tiposaurus out of the jar and then played with the money, over the renewed protests of the dad. He stuffed 3 bills into the sound hole of my guitar, at one point.


"That's good," I said. "I'll forget that they're in there and some day when I'm flat broke, I'll find them, and they will pay for my trolley rides and save me a two mile walk..."


Well, I found them this morning, and now I have 7 dollars and 48 cents in cash, but am up early (10 AM) and will run to the church on the corner to grab a food bag out of their food bank which they open every Tuesday morning for a few hours.


Yesterday, I took a long voyage during which I encountered good fortune.


With 21 dollars on me, I planned to get an all day bus pass for 3 bucks, a bottle of wine for another 3 dollars and change, and then ride the trolley to the bus that would take me to the music store, way out on Magazine Street.


The mention of this plan to Tim, my caseworker, as he stopped by the computer room, where I was deleting a months worth of mostly spam from my e-mail box, and downloading some lyrics for R.E.M. songs (that bands vocals being usually buried in the mix and impossible to discern -who can pick out all the words to "What's The Frequency, Kenneth?" for example) produced a free all day bus pass from him. "You're allowed one per month," said Tim. Permanent Assisted Housing has its perks.


"Termination" Notice For Howard



At the same time, Howard stopped by and asked me if I had gotten the same letter from the housing authority, which he described as a "termination" letter, which came along with an application. He said that a couple guys from upstairs had gotten them also. One, he described as an upstanding guy who paid his rent on time, the other as having had drug related issues, which enshrouded the letter in further mystery to him.


I told him to tell Tim the caseworker about the letter, but he said that he didn't want to "make a big ruckus" over it. I assured him that it was not something that Tim shouldn't know about. It's not as if Tim would say, "You should have buried it and not brought it to my attention; now we have to evict you, because we have knowledge of it and now have no choice.


I took my free all day bus pass (a 3 dollar value) and walked down the street where I bought a half pint of brandy (a 4 dollar value) and arrived at the music store with 17 bucks still on me and where I was told by the staff there, after having chatted and joked around with them a bit, that there were some acoustic strings in the "discount" box; a box that I had been told only contained electric strings upon a prior visit, when I was ready to plunk down 10 bucks for strings. The discount box strings are $4.35 out the door, and I was able to find a set of Ernie Ball "super slinky" acoustic strings, which derive their slinkiness by being super thin -.10 gage, as a matter of fact.


I left there before they were about to close at 6 PM, and decided to capitalize upon my all day bus pass by staying on the trolley until it took me a couple blocks from the Rouses Market where I loaded up on about 65 dollars and 30 pounds worth of food off of my card; a load that would have been a bitch to tote the .75 mile back to the apartment.


While in the store, I was looking at a tenderloin steak which had been "reduced" to half price, which was $11 per pound.


A large black man in white overalls was straightening up the case nearby me and I remarked to him: "Wow, 11 bucks per pound is half price; so this is normally..."


"22, yeah," he finished my sentence.


"There must be some rich people in this world. I need a better job," I joked.


"Let me see that, I'll fix it for you," said the meat department manager type guy.


And fix it, he did. He soon emerged from out back and handed me the 22 dollar steak with a $3.46 price tag on it. First the free bus pass, then the 4 dollar strings, and now the steak.


Somebody of thing was watching over me yesterday.


A couple notes on that:


In the morning, I had gotten a text saying "Happy Birthday, love Lia"


My birthday is in 6 days, and I wondered if it was someone who knew me, and called the sender, who turned out to be a lady who had intended the message for whomever had previously owned my phone, before I got it from one of those "free phone with 250 minutes free per month" tents that are set up around town, where the only requirement is that the recipient is either on food stamps or medicare.


I have always thought that the phones were a mechanism by which the government tallies an unofficial census of the homeless and others who have fallen through the cracks and basically never encounter a census taker, unless that official goes under the wharf to count heads, for example. Offer the homeless people free phones and you will be able to add them to the census figures by counting the number of phones issued. And, I think that, politically, a state has more clout in Washington the more residents it has to "represent" there. Nothing is free in this world, as my dad used to say to me.


The only thing I paid cash for was a 4 dollar bottle of wine, which I sipped as I ate the tenderloi
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