- $18 Friday
- $48 Saturday
- $8.50 Sunday
- $10 Monday
The problem is that I can't decide if I want to take the night off and miss out on an average of $12 from busking.
That would mean, going out with all my gear and walking 100 yards to the trolley stop and plunking down $1.25 for the privilege of being dropped off at Royal and Canal Streets, catty corner to Starbucks.
If it were to be before 9 PM, then I could go in there and grab a coffee off one of my still active gift cards; that would take me to the non skeezing side of the street.
It has been a long time since I have arrived at that stop before 9 PM, as I have been...
Wallowing In The Mire
After coming out of there with my black coffee without any sugar that might gum up a harmonica, I would then try to slink past David The Water Jug Player.
He can be cool to talk to, and has a unique perspective as his religion seems to be a blend of Rastafarian, Muslim and just enough of some religion that believes that there should be no religions to tone the two down a bit.
He is 65% percent of the time going to greet me with: "Hey, Daniel, where y' at? Please tell me that you're smoking on something..."
And I am put in a position of either lying*: "I have like this one little bud the size of a pea. Just enough to get me going at my spot."
*Statement only qualifying as a lie through the omission of: "And about 40 more like it..."
Or, of spending 15 or 20 minutes hanging out with David The Water Jug Player.
Sidebar: In the photo above the leather strap on David is indeed a water jug strap, allowing him to tote his drum around while keeping his hands free. To gesture, and stuff.
David is a friend and a positive influence. I could transfer this over to the "bio" section at some point.
He kind of believes that in order to do what we do we must live the most humble existence; sleep on a trolley stop bench, wake up broke and literally play for your breakfast. This enables The Great Music Spirit to move through you and touch a human life and it will be the best breakfast that you've ever tasted. Because you will be starving after having drank all your money the previous night, and dehydrated.
This exposes another chicken and egg quandary: Which came first, the sleeping on the trolley stop bench; or the spending all your money on alcohol. Or was it a tie.
But he is the kind of guy that, well:
You hang out with him and he asks you, at one point, for your lighter.
You are a mile down the road before you realize that he never gave it back.
You buy a new lighter and you also wonder if David had pocketed yours intentionally.
You also remember that David had given you at least 2 lighters in the past, on 2 separate occasions.
When you do run into him and the subject comes up, he explains something to the effect of:
"If you knew I needed a lighter- Let my put it this way; if I had asked you for a lighter, would you have given it to me?"
"So, you gave it to me. I just didn't ask."
"I didn't have to ask. I ask Jah for everything; not people."
So, after slinking past David I would walk the 9 blocks to the Lilly Pad, set up and play for and average of $12, with the possibility of that one big fish coming along -the guy that wants to sit next to you and sing while his friends shoot a video and try not to giggle into the microphone and who puts a 50 dollar bill into the tiposaurus' mouth saying: "That was great."
He is always lurking, the big fish, after 11 PM around the last must-see tourist stop on Bourbon Street.
But how valuable is the time that I spend "recharging?."
Jimi Hendrix complained about how he had to go out and be spectacular every single show, because everybody came to be blown away by this amazing guitarist and to see what all the hype is about; and so he had to shake off all the cobwebs and tell himself: "Well, here I go again..."
It is like the jogger who is feeling lethargic and still sore from the day before when he had pushed himself and achieved his best ever time.
He is stretching out; maybe a wind is blowing against him that morning. He is likely to be thinking: "Not today. I'm going to take it easy today, just keep a steady pace, get my exercise in, but kind of rest up after yesterday. I don't even feel like jogging. I could soak in the tub and listen to classical music..."
And then he starts his jog. It is painful initially but then he starts to feel better. Maybe he comes around the lake (that he jogs around) and the wind is then at his back. He realizes at the 3 quarter mark that he is only 3 and a half seconds behind his record setting run of the day before; and the wind is at his back. "Well, here I go again," he might think as he pours out every ounce of energy, and achieves some kind of "runner's high" as he has the sensation right towards the finish line, of being an entity totally detached from his body and envisions himself sitting on a cozy couch in his own head and looking out through his own eyes at the passing scenery- probably a metabolic function of brain to block out the pain, aided by oxygen deprivation; but runner's high sounds sexier.
He breaks his records again.
"Whew, I am so glad I dragged my ass out to run today; I feel great right now!"
Then, he wakes up the next morning. "I don't even think I'm gonna run today; It looks cloudy out and, plus, I've really been pushing it the past couple days..." etc.
So, I can understand Jimi. And the drugs that he eventually found that he came to rely on for: "You know...I feel like I can go out and rip it up every night...just do my little powder, get out there; let The Great Music Spirit run the show, yeah..."
Lately, I have been wrestling with my conscious to the point where I feel guilty on a night off; and insecurities about someone else finding my spot and trying to make it theirs creep up.
And to further compare myself to the late Jimi Hendrix; I have fallen into a pattern of smoking half a joint while tuning the guitar and then going off and playing my ass off for what always seems to be twice as long as it actually was; finishing the joint and the playing for a pretty much equal second set, and then at one point feeling like I have nothing more to "say" and that further musical attempts would likely be meaningless and uninspired.
It is similar to the phenomenon whereby a carful of people on their way home from a wild party might ride along in deathly silence, broken only by sporadic exchanges:
"That sure was a nice house."
And then back to the sound of the tires on the asphalt. No one had put the radio on.
They just don't feel like talking. Not out of any emotion like anger fear or guilt; rather out of lack of any palpable emotion.
That feeling can set in at the busking spot.