Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Working On Third Day Sober

Playing Sober
Monday night, I went out and played totally sober at the Lilly Pad, knowing that my food card would be charged at midnight with 194 bucks, and that Tiffany would be there at Rouses Market willing and able to buy any amount off the thing in exchange for 50 cents on the dollar; a loser's deal; a junkie's deal...
After playing sober for about an hour in the 44 degree air and struggling to tune the guitar, because of the cold (I thought) I had only made 6 cents.
There were as few people as I have ever seen on Bourbon Street.
"This is all the change I have," said a guy who had a guitar on his own back and was dressed in such a way to indicate that he had had an inside "club gig," as the change went into my tip jar.
I had started the jar out with a 1,000 peso Colombian bill, and 67 cents. I knew that I had that amount, because I was sweating over making at least enough to take the $1.25 trolley home.
If I was going to load up, after midnight, on heavy items like juice for the fast and water for the fast and apple cider vinegar and honey for the cleanse and a can of tuna for Harold the cat, then I didn't want to be toting the 25 pounds of it for 2 miles up Canal Street to get home.
I wanted to make the trolley fare on my own, without involving Tiffany, because she might persuade me, in my weakened state, to trade more food off my card than just the trolley fare. She has 4 kids to feed, and I would even feel guilty just offering her a couple bucks off it; she would pout and probably show me pictures of the little tykes and get her way.
I decided to play from 9:50 PM, when I started, until at least after Tiffany went home at 11. If I hadn't made more than the 6 cents, I would ask another employee at Rouses, Gloria, for a loan of 60 cents so that I wouldn't have to tote my stuff home.
The guy threw the change in my jar, probably thinking that I would assume that it was at least more than 6 cents, unaware that I knew exactly how much change I had in there.
I didn't make another penny, but, it wasn't bothering me, as I had completed my first 24 hours sober and, most importantly, had busked my way through it; busking being about my number one "trigger" to drink.
As I walked towards Rouses Market, my thoughts were, for the first time in weeks, upon spiritual matters and feeling grateful for everything that I did have, rather than being drunk and pissed off over the 6 cent night.
Gloria lent me the 60 cents.
Rachael The Professional Beggar
I had about an hour to kill before my food card would hit, so I went outside to smoke, and found 10 pennies on the sidewalk across the street where "Rachael" the beggar sits with her sign and her dog and her sad puppy eyes.
Rachael must have had a good night (and I had seen a well dressed lady squatting down and holding her hand in conversation with her on my way to my spot; I figured that the lady might be praying for Rachael, and that Rachael would most likely find a way to skeeze something off of her. The lady had no way of knowing that Rachael is one of the pros who consider 100 dollars a bad day for sitting there with the sign and the dog and the sad puppy eyes -do you know how sore your face gets after about 5 hours of that?!?)
Then, when I was walking back to Rouses, there was a dime laying in the middle of St. Peters Street, which hadn't been there when I first walked by -40 more cents, and I would be able to pay Gloria back before I ever got on the trolley.
Louise The Tarot Card Reader
I loaded up with the heavy food, after midnight and then lugged it in my pack down Royal Street, where I passed the figure of Louise, sitting behind her tarot card reading table, wrapped in a woolen blanket with only her eyes and above showing.
I was carrying a can of a cherry flavored ginseng energy drink, my only "food" after a day of juice fasting; and I was feeling so good that I almost wanted to stop and tell Louise that I had just made 23 hours without a drink; but decided not to. She would congratulate me; offer me advice; and then probably begin the process of ingratiating herself towards me which is sure to begin. There are just too many cold nights coming in the next 2 months.
I knew that she would have loved nothing more than to have let me lift her cart onto the trolley for her and then rode it with me to my place where she could take a hot shower and sleep on the couch, rather than tote the thing to her sleeping spot, "somewhere where there used to be a dumpster, but now there's just a little area behind a gate" where she would have to wrap up in the same blanket, and sleep with a crowbar within reach.
I also thought that, I had played a hand in bringing about the disaster that was the 10 days that she had stayed at my place in December, by having binged on alcohol while she did binge on Cherry Garcia and potato salad, both of us "enabling" each other.
As I walked past, the blanket said "Good Night."
"Happy New Year," I said.
"Happy New Year," the blanket replied.
...once bitten; twice shy....

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