The date for my food stamp card to be charged came so fast; one minute I had to wait 12 days, the next thing I knew, I was waking up at 6 PM Thursday, farting around the apartment and then arriving in the Quarter at 10:30 PM, with just an hour and a half to wait before I could go into Rouses Market and stock up.
20 Dollar Thursday
I started playing at around 11 PM, trying to be vigilant of the clock and make it to Rouses before 1 AM, when they closed.
I had a group come by and request "Wonderwall," by Oasis.
"I totally need to sit down and learn this song; you are about the 12th group that has requested it; It seems like young people from Great Britain, or Ireland or somewhere over there (Wales, Scotland?) idolize that group, as if they truly fit the description of themselves in Rolling Stone magazine (or somewhere I read it) of being the new Beatles."
I played the thing as well as I knew it; at least giving them the chorus chords "...and after all; you're my Wonderwall!!...." and I got two 5 dollar bills to go along with a few singles already in there.
Another guy came along and said: "Wish You Were Here?" and I realized that it was fast becoming The Night When People Request Songs That You Have Been Meaning To Learn Better For A Long Time Now.
I did my best to sound out Wish You Were Here (by Pink Floyd) and got another clump of one dollar bills from him.
Then arrived a lady whom I hadn't seen in 2 years. She was renting the place over my left shoulder and next door to Lilly whom is feuding with the owner of in a Hatrocks and McCoys fashion.
She has a daughter named "Carly." I remembered the name of the girl.
The girl looked smaller than she had been 2 years ago and was being pushed in a stroller.
"Wait a minute, I thought Carly was like, 11 years old a couple years ago," I said in reference to her stature. It occurred to me that she might be suffering from some kind of disease, but didn't want to avoid the issue. People with terminal illnesses think about almost nothing else, I imagine, and to just make small talk about the Mardi Gras parades would probably make for a meaningless encounter.
The mother said that Carly looked forward to seeing/hearing me more than anything else during their pilgrimage to New Orleans; kind of like the way I looked forward to seeing my grandfathers chickens in his coop during our annual treks to Vermont when I was a kid, I guess. (I don't elevate myself above chickens).
I can only think that it might be from when I was improvising some lyrics that might have resonated with the girl.
I was up to about 20 dollars. The mother and another couple ladies and Carly finally got through the gate of the place after having trouble with the keypad and she (the mother) said that she needed to get Carly in out of the cold, but would come back out and smoke a cigarette with me.
I decided to play longer, even though my watch said: 12:36 PM, with Rouses closing in another 24 minutes.
Then along came a young black kid who said he was trying to get rid of some weed, and some liquor and only needed 4 dollars.
I told him that I hadn't drank in 33 days.
"But you smoke bud?"
"Yeah, I guess..."
It should have been a red flag that he had weed AND liquor -kind of covering all bases to make sure he could entice me into something... It was actually while he was ostensibly wrapping a bit of bud in plastic that the "Wish You Were Here" guy came along and sang along and then left me exactly 4 dollars as a tip.
He may have overheard the young black kid whom I will never forget the appearance of, because he could have been Dorise Blackmon's fraternal twin brother.
I tore open the sack to discover cigarette tobacco inside; this after he had thanked me profusely for the 4 dollars and even had shaken my hand and wished me a good night. "Make a lot of money," he said as he walked down Bourbon.
I don't know how "these" people think, but, in his mind he might have not felt like a thief at all, rather someone who is just another player in some cosmic type game. He probably saw the 4 dollars go into my tip jar and thought: "The guy threw him 4 bucks because of me standing there; he saw me hanging out and decided to come check out what was going on; and so that money was really mine to begin with..." But, again...I don't know how "these" people think....
I guess it served me right for desiring weed, after having declined the liquor. If I would have said, "Sorry, I don't drink nor smoke nor swear," then he would have tipped his hand should he have went on to enquire: "Well, what do you do? (what can I rip you off on, surely there must be something..)
I could almost wonder if it was a spirit coming to me, the same one that has inhabited Dorise since she kicked heroin like 25 years ago and has been a non smoker non drinker ever since; kind of like the ghosts of Christmas in the Dickens work..."You've 33 days without a drop of alcohol, Daniel. Now you need to quit weed to come to the next level with Tanya and I. I will make it easy for you; I'll rip you off for 4 bucks so that you will certainly not kick in another 5 for a sack when you get to Canal Street, because that would amount to spending 9 bucks on weed when you only made 20 bucks and you are too cheap to abide that, Daniel..."
The spirit of Dorise....
Well, the security guy hasn't come yet, but I am not going to press my luck and have him standing there impatiently as Blogger tells us "Uploading, please wait..."
Tonight, Friday, it is about as cold as last night when Carly needed to be whisked inside, but it is closer to Fat Tuesday, is a weekend night and there are a few parades going on. I should see traffic at the Lilly Pad.