Friday, June 17, 2016

On Not Drinking

  • New Old Song
  • 60 Dollar Thursday
  • 164 Days Sober

I Report, You Decide

The "164 days sober" is still up and running, I didn't drink yesterday.

I had woken up with a depressed feeling in the pit of my stomach.

"Something Told Me" (click to hear)" -one of the more listenable songs that I have from the era of being able to record...
The above is a link to a song that I recorded back when I had the means to record; it wasn't ready to go on a CD but I'm using it to motivate myself to get back the means to record; based upon its sound quality alone. It was done within minutes of having found the harmonica in my mailbox which turned out to have been sent by The Lidgleys, of London.
Last night a couple named Sean and Lucy, who were from England stopped and listened and tipped me well. Sean worked in Leeds and lived 15 miles away from it...

That (the depressed feeling mentioned above) used to happen at times when I was in jail and my fate hadn't been decided; maybe the prosecutor was pushing to give me a 5 year sentence as a "habitual" urinator in public or something; and maybe my public defender was telling me that "It could go either way; it depends upon the judge," and maybe I had been having a pleasant dream about my childhood in the days of wine and roses and woken out of it.

The feeling in the pit of the stomach (which is, for some reason, revisiting me lately) always had its onset when I awoke, even before I had opened my eyes. Opening my eyes vindicated my feeling of dread and it hit like a punch in the stomach, with some bile in the throat for good measure, when my eyes opened to reveal the 9 by 12 cell with the stainless steel toilet, and the mismatched-in-size shower shoes placed neatly at the head of my bed.

On Shower Shoes

Mismatched in size because in the massive daily shuffle of inmates they just don't have the time or patience or concern to go through the box to find a matching set to throw through the portal behind which they sit at the new arrival. Once one has been serving 5 year sentence and has made a couple of months of progress upon it, will come the realization to the staff that he isn't going anywhere soon, and then one of them might say: "Let me see if I can get you some shower shoes that are both the same size."

Placed neatly by my head to mark them as my property and to potential guard them against theft by another inmate whose mismatched pair includes one in the same size as one of mine.

Shower shoes because they A: Encourage showering and B: Discourage fighting. It's hard to keep them from flying off your feet when performing most Kung Fu moves, and I believe that Joe Frazier would have won the famous "Thrilla In Manilla" boxing match had Mohammed Ali entered the ring wearing shower shoes.

The shower shoes also, for some reason, always became a reminder to me that mankind has evolved to walk upright on two legs. That was always a tenuous hope to cling to in jail.

And, since todays post might as well at this point become entitled "Shower Shoes," I will add, for mere catharsis, that one time in jail, I had the song "Haitian Divorce," by Steely Dan "stuck in my head," on constant rotation, and when the line in the song " tears and no hearts breaking; no remarks" came around, I was impelled to stare at my mismatched shower shoes at that moment, as they stood there at attention at the head of my bunk, and their image filled the role of a video for that part of that song, especially the "no remarks" part.

I think that I was sensing a silliness in a society that in some quarters will take offense at perhaps a remark made by someone, contrasted with the ways of a more coarser set who needs to at least urinate in public in order to draw the ire of others.

I remember smiling to myself and deciding that when another inmate asked me the inevitable "What are you in here for?" question, I was going to facetiously reply: "I made the wrong remark." What could he do to me; in shower shoes, anyways.

On Depression

But, I am not waking up in a cell that is very real and that I really can't leave. I'm waking up in my apartment that I am fortunate to have and in which there are no shower shoes.
So, the feeling probably has its roots in the fact that I feel that my fate is out of my hands, out of my control.
This comes with the buskers territory. I can't go out and pick 5 bushels of blackberries and then take them to the market to exchange for the going market rate. I can only go out and pick the guitar and perhaps make 0 dollars, while spending $2.50 for the trolley ride to and from the badlands.

So, I went out yesterday afternoon with all 8 of my dollars and was going to get a half pint of tequila. I was thinking of travelling up the east coast, drinking and busking along the way; being "happy" and thinking also: "Why do I have to go on my blog and tell everyone that I am sober; that's not something worth staying sober over?"

But, I got to the store at the bottom of the street just as, from out of which, issued forth a corpulent lady whom I have never seen doing anything other than skeezing and whom has never said anything to me which wasn't a direct or veiled skeeze.

She was in the company of an older, crusty looking white man who was walking with the help of an aluminum, rubber gripped, tennis ball supported walker. I think the company that sells those, markets that model as: "The Skeeze-Along."

The corpulent lady was mumbling something to the guy out of which I heard the word "drinking," and not much else.

Then I heard the clink of a glass bottle coming from the black plastic bag which was hanging from one of the grips of the guy's walker. I think the glass clinked because he was removing the bag in order to hand it to the lady so that he wouldn't have to perform the circus feat of walking along with the weight of the bag unbalancing his rig.

I imagined their conversation to have been something like:

Lady: "Are you sure you got it? You're sure? Here, let me carry the bag, you got enough to worry about with that walker. I just don't want it to fall, that would suck!"

Guy: "Ok, here's the bag. You got it? You sure?"

Lady: "Here, let me wrap it around my wrist. You told them to double bag it, right? Always ask them to double bag it if it's a half gallon bottle. I don't trust these bags."

The sound triggered something in me; perhaps the clinking of glasses in the proposal of a toast in a social drinking setting; or perhaps the sight of the skeezers made a bell go off in my head and there never was an actual sound from their bag.

I envisioned the corpulent lady saying: "You're just as bad as us!" to me in the near future, should I have gone in the store and bought tequila.

On Zebra Food

I went into the Quarter, started playing at 10:45 exactly and made 60 dollars in 4 and a half hours in which I probably only played half of the time.

At least 3 groups of people came along, hung out and talked and tipped.

I came away feeling like I sit there at the Lilly Pad with a pile of zebra food in front of me, sometimes going totally ignored. But then on nights like last night, up walk people who are holding reins with zebras on the other ends. My original music is the zebra food in the analogy. 

1 comment:

alex carter said...

I would say that being a busker, you *do* have control. For instance, I like to think in terms of a "traveling average" in that, in any given hour, you might make a lot or a little money, but on average, it'll work out to $10 an hour or $15 etc.

But you can guarantee $0 an hour if you don't go out.