Thursday, October 1, 2015

Teeth In A Glass

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It is Thursday afternoon. I have just slept about 3 and a half hours, having set my alarm for 5:30 PM, in order to acquire 8 full hours of sleep, yet, I was up at 1 PM, full of energy and unable to go back to sleep.

13 Dollar Wednesday

I Begin With Nothing

Yesterday, I was flat broke, after having spent the exactly $3.24 on my coffee table in the morning on a $3.27 bottle of wine (she let me slide on the 3 cents).
I sat and listened to some of the recordings that I had made and saved, during the last 24 day period of sobriety that I enjoyed. My drunken self is blown away by the abilities of my sober self; yet, it is funny that, when I recorded the things, they hadn't "done" anything for me in an artistic sense, and I am lucky that I even saved them; in an obscure folder called "demos" that I have on my hard drive.

Then, before the sun went down, I started my walk towards the Lilly Pad, absolutely penniless.

Of course I ran into David the Water Jug Player, who almost instantly asked me if I had any weed; and then who asked me if I had any money for weed after I answered in the negative, and then who stood there as if lost for words after I told him that I had run myself flat broke and would not eat nor smoke nor ride the trolley home if I didn't make anything that night.

A Beer From Barnaby

It was nice to get to the area and see Barnaby sitting on his stoop talking to Charlie (a female Charlie) whom he was engaged to marry a couple months ago, but whom he had broken up with.


But, they are still friends and I chatted with them, and Barnaby gave me a beer, which I sat down with and started playing.


There weren't many people out.


Tuesday morning, after I had played on the off ramp of the Interstate for about an hour and made 13 bucks, I did make it to the VA to inquire about dental care.

Reality Bites
They handed me the card for the dentist who had examined me back in January and concluded that I should have all my teeth removed and replaced with dentures.
I will probably have to be examined again, x-rays and all, since 9 months has passed since then, after I balked at having all my teeth removed; feeling that it was irreversible, holding out the long shot hope that I will win the lottery and be able to restore my own teeth rather than remove them, and not ready to accept the fact that I am getting old nor take on the vestige of age, namely dentures.
I have always felt young, and still do. Just 6 years ago, when I was in St. Augustine, Florida, my friends were mostly teenagers and we would run around and hop fences and sneak into places and hang out and play music and party, and most of them knew I was older, but figured me for late 20's at most.
Having my teeth in a glass on my bed-stand would be too much of a "reality check" for someone my emotion age, and so 9 months has passed, and I never followed up on my referral to LSU University hospital's dental clinic for removal of #19, #21, #16, #12 etc., and "deep cleaning" of #23.
But then came the toothache of a couple weeks ago and the swelling of the jaw, which teetered on receding or swelling further for a while, but then receded; mostly based upon my knowledge of using neck massage and hot showers and diet (no red meat or anything else that taxes the liver) to help the thing go away.
The worst thing is to lay there in agony, believing that you need a dentist. The best thing is to work the blood flow to the affected area and to exercise vigorously to spur the immune system and put some adrenaline in the bloodstream.
But, I went and talked to the VA doctors, who assured me that they wouldn't just pull all my teeth out and then leave me to my own devices as far as chewing food was concerned. Dentures are included with the deal.
My other concern was that the dentures would almost certainly not be the exact dimensions of the teeth that I once had, and would change my appearance, perhaps for the worse. Maybe I would look more like a woodchuck than ever before.
And I was concerned that they would change my speech and/or singing, maybe even give me a lisp when I talked and/or sang.
But, all those concerns notwithstanding, dentures would surely look better than my natural teeth at this point, even if a little fake looking. The last time a doctor checked my throat pursuant to a bronchitis complaint, he told me that I had that ailment and then, as an aside, said: "You definitely need some dental work."
Not to belabor the point; as I have now forgotten what I started writing about here.
All Dressed Up

Oh, yeah: While at the VA, I got access to their clothing distribution room, where there was also a cart loaded with books, about which I was told "grab all you want." I loaded my backpack down with about 20 pounds of books, and grabbed a nice pair of black cotton pants and a very nice button up shirt to go with them.
The 13 bucks that I had made that morning on the ramp were not enough to make me feel like I would spent $1.25 on the trolley, so I walked back to my apartment under the weight of the books.
That night, when I got to the Lilly Pad, I was as dressed up as much as I ever had been, wearing the new shirt and pants. I had actually thought about changing into more grungy duds, like a tank top and holey jeans, thinking that that might be part of my shtick as "the lonely homeless troubadour," and that it might have been garnering me tips and attracting those types who want to sit next to me and hear my life story; but I tried the new clothes as an experiment.
One thing that I can say is that I got the idea that people, especially one young lady who did a double take upon me and then enthusiastically walked over to hear me play; expected me to sound more polished and professional and/or jazzy because of the fact that I was dressed up.
I suppose if I was playing something like ragtime guitar, I would always be dressed up like Harry Connick Jr., or even Tom Waits.

Or like Johnny B., yikes...
The particular young lady mentioned, walked off after hearing me play whatever Beatles song or whatever that I was doing; and in my mind I thought that it was because I was over dressed for the material that I was doing.
I think that I should look like a skeezer and surprise people by actually having some ability, rather than look like I am gigging inside Preservation Hall and have just stepped out during my break to busk just for the goof of it.
Just my opinion.
Somebody did tell me that, the better dressed you are, the more money you will make; citing "human nature" as his reason.
I will have to experiment further with the new shirt and pants.
Maybe a guy wearing a tuxedo and playing "Creep," by Radiohead or its ilk would be a hit at the Lilly Pad. That is just part of the allure of busking; the fact that you never really know why someone just threw you a 20 dollar tip. It could have been because the word that you just sang was the very word that the person had in his head at that instant, as he thought through something, or it could have been because of anything.
That's why it is important to "just be yourself," as it saves you a lot of energy that is wasted by second guessing everything. I can remember changing my shirt from a black one to a white one once, when I wasn't getting any tips. That kind of crap hearkens to those baseball players who have been wearing the same pair of underwear for the past 12 years; and will continue to do so, as long as their batting average stays above .250 LOL!!!!
"Are you here to watch football?"
It is Thursday evening, and my choice is whether or not to watch football with Howard, or to go out and busk.
I can to both, if I want to get to the Lilly Pad at about 11 PM, after the game ends.
One of my best night ever there started at 1:30 AM and went until almost 4, and netted me around 85 dollars. It probably wasn't a Thursday, but one never knows...it could be that the words you are singing are in peoples heads at that instant as they walk past.
In general; the better your skills are; the more money you will make. Tanya and Dorise might concur with that statement. That just about cements me in to my 16 dollar per hour average, unless my skills erode (or my harmonica goes out of tune, or I break strings).
   

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