Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Back On Track

27 Dollar Monday Timely
After having tested the cat Sunday evening, by leaving it alone in the apartment for the first time; and having had it pass the test by not crying so loud so as to call attention to itself, or having scratched out a patch of wood from the door in an attempt to claw its way out; I left it alone Monday night, for what would be about 6 hours.

Passed The Test...
I used all of my cash to take the street car into the Quarter. I was properly weak on the 3rd day of fasting; and properly broke after 3 days of not working, out of fear that one of the Quarter demons would possess me and make me drink.

 A demon has done this in the past.

The time that I was 18 days sober and came upon a cardboard box with an unopened fifth of Chivas Regal scotch (with a ribbon wrapped around it, no less) just sitting there, next to a trash can comes to mind.

The likelihood then is that there had been some kind of party inside the place (which was like an art gallery/ear ring store) and that there had probably been a makeshift bar set up and that the people who showed up turned out to be non drinkers, along with the hosts of the event, and when the occasion ended and there was still an unopened bottle of scotch, and since Christmas was right around the corner, they decided: "Let's just leave it out by the trash can; one of the street people will surely make use of it; here, I'll even put a ribbon around it...Merry Christmas, skeezers!!"

But, I had taken 3 nights off, in order to steel myself against any such shenanigans by the Quarter demons.

I even had to include a nickel in my street car fare which I had doubts about the usefulness of. It was corroded and misshapen and scratched, as if it had been dug up from where it had been buried for years and then placed in the road to be run over by a few vehicles. It was literally my last nickel, and I had refrained from taking it with me because I was pretty sure that I would get the "coin not valid" voice-over from the street car coin receptor.

I had found that copy of the Bhagavat Gida (sp?) on the morning of the day that I got the cat, which is the exact same color as the jacket of the book (prompting me to wonder if the cat is another incarnation of Krsna) and had found some solace in flipping through it with my eyes randomly? 
landing upon verses which were fortifying to a person who was fasting and who was going out to play music without concern for any "fruits" that might come of it.

It was true that I really wanted a new harmonica and, as I walked Royal Street, chanting Hare Krishna under my breath, I felt like I was going out to play solely out of love for whomever might hear me, and for litter and a can of food out of love for the cat; but I was already cringing at the thought of trying to play around the one hole in the harmonica that had blown way out of tune.

I ran into Tim the violinist, who had bought my amp from me under the agreement that he would pay me 50 bucks a week until the price of a new one (300 dollars) had been paid to me, and he told me that his phone had been disconnected the past week or so.

This was probably a good thing, because on those last couple days before I quit drinking, I had gone out early in the mornings and had had terrible luck making any (drinking) money, and had certainly left him messages to the effect of: "Can I meet you somewhere and get some money from you?"
I had mentioned in the texts, the harmonica being out of tune, the guitar strings being old, the battery on the tuner being weak, the solar powered spotlight being stolen, and I suppose he already knew that I also "needed" cigarettes and alcohol.

But, he didn't get the messages, and here I was on my 4th day sober and not really feeling the pinch to make any more than my trolley fare home; everything else would be a bonus.

He started to tell me that he had been struggling to make his rent, but would try to catch up with me as soon as possible on the money. After I mentioned the above, he reached into his pocket and handed me $1.50 in change.

So, I started at the Lilly Pad with my ride home already assured.

I was glad that I was sober, as I was able to work around the blown hole on the harmonica, and a few one dollar bills started to flow. And, they flowed in the good way of having come from people who had walked past me a few yards, but then returned to throw a tip.

Then, as has happened on the previous 4 or 5 nights which were my first night playing sober, a lady came by and placed a 20 dollar bill in the jar, said "You sound good," and walked on.

That was a new harmonica, a bag of kitty litter, a can of cat food, and an all day bus pass, which I am using today.

Then, also in line with the previous 4 or 5 first nights playing sober, it was not long before a young lady came by; listened a bit, and then asked me "Do you smoke weed?"

I don't know if this is a hump that I need to get over, or a wall to break through; or if I have done nothing since the last sober time except make a big circle leading right back to the same junction; the same fork in the road.

I'm not sure that there are not two demigods that actually duke it out with each other over the souls of people, with one of them trying to get the person drunk, and the other working under the premise that weed is the way to go.

I have heard "learned spiritual" people say that weed opens ones heart, whereas alcohol closes it down and increases the persons bondage to the material world.

And it is true that the term "demon" alcohol has been coined, whereas a whole Rastafarian "religion" embraces "one love," and marijuana. 

 I guess I wouldn't find out where the other road leads this night, because I said "Yeah. I'm not drinking (nor eating) but I guess I could smoke..."

We each took a hit, where after she became paranoid upon seeing "a large group of people" coming down Bourbon towards us. She was from some place where the Law was a lot stricter concerning pot. The irony of Louisiana pot laws are that they are SO harsh that they are rarely enforced, I tried to tell her; not even the cops "believe" in them.

Her name turned out to be Koreine, and she wanted to sing a couple songs with me.

We sang a couple of cover tunes, Cat Stevens and The Beatles and she harmonized pretty well.

I hadn't been trying to impress her with my playing, just to try to make sure she was having fun; as I wasn't worrying about the fruits of my actions, because of all the Bhagavat Gida reading I had been doing.

Then, she kind of surprised me by asking me if she could play a song on my guitar before she left.
I handed her the guitar and she broke into an almost professional sounding original song of hers that was kind of in the flavor of  a mixture of Bonnie Raitt and Alanis Morsette.

I felt a little bit taken back.

"That was sweet," I said. "You've inspired me. I realize now that I could have been putting a lot more into it, after hearing you."

"No, you sounded good."

"I have originals too, but I usually play covers until I make enough money to 'cover' my expenses"
She handed me back the guitar and, since I was up about 25 bucks and had covered expenses, I played a couple of my originals, featuring my "latest" one, which I have about 85% down (and I blamed the other 15% on: "that was really good weed").

We exchanged phone numbers and she said that she wanted to keep in touch "because I'm a singer/songwriter and I'm always trying to hook up with others."

And, so, I came home a hero to the cat which has not yet been named (but that probably will wind up with a name out of the Bhagavad Gita) bearing fresh litter and a fancy tuna feast.

I had 22 bucks when I woke up and headed out to get the new harmonica and another can of cat food.  

That's how it stands now.
 Key of A, Egh?
I was intrigued to learn that the "New Orleans Special," which was really the only harp in my price range, was only available in the key of A, and not C, like the last few times. They seem to get them in batches of a single key.

It all just seems like divine intervention; in this time of fasting and reading the Bhagavad Gita. I'm going to be brushing up on the key of A major and F# minor and B minor, and E blues; whether I like it or not...

It is Tuesday night, and "heavy" rain is in the forecast. Rose, the lady who gave me the cat asked me if she could borrow 4 dollars. I returned with exactly 5 dollars and 35 cents from my trip to the music store; and if it rains heavily I won't be able to work; but what else do I have to spend money on?
It is another test of my ability to serve Krisna and not sweat the material world...

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