Friday, June 24, 2016

Plan F

Yesterday, I left early enough, I thought, to have made it to the French Market to get the $5 strings.
The French Market had already closed at about 6 PM when I got there. I recalled then, reading something about the market closing earlier during the summer or something.
"Bilal pulls some strings..."
I thought about talking to people who were still there who might have been managers of the place or to people who had packed up their merchandise but were still hanging around, to see if I might perhaps be able to get the mobile phone number of the guy who sells the strings; and maybe call him to see if he could sell me a pack from wherever he was. That was plan C.
Plan B had been to call Brian Hudson who sells me packs for 3 bucks, as that is about his cost because he goes through the Musicians Friend website. He wasn't in the Quarter and I wasn't going to walk 4 miles (each way) to buy strings from him, on an 85 degree night.
I had 7 bucks on me. The cheapest strings at Louisiana Music Factory are 10 bucks.
Then, I thought about walking around Frenchman Street and asking around to buy a set of strings.
Then, I had a brainstorm. Why not find Tanya and Dorise and borrow 5 bucks so that I could buy a set at the music store.
Then, I remembered that they only play Friday through Sunday (and split $10,000, according to what Tim Todd has heard from someone).
But, I went to their corner anyways, in case they had, for some reason decided to come out, or in case they had given their spot to other musicians who, thus, would know them and might even recognize me.
They weren't there, but across the street, standing in front of his gallery was Bilal.
I explained my dilemma "I took 4 days off, so I guess it's my fault but I needed the recuperation..."
And Bilal lent me the 5 bucks (first time in 4 years that I've asked him for a loan) and I got to the music store after they had already hung the "closed" sign but hadn't latched the door, bought the new strings, put them on at the Lilly Pad and then played from about 8:30 until about 12:30 for 34 dollars.
Again, I had only played about half of the time, telling stories and talking to one guy who gave me 20 bucks. He was, I think, going to give me a lot more, but a young skeezer arrived and just plopped himself down as if he was a member of our "little sewing circle," and the guy I was talking to eventually tired of the skeezer interjecting and changing the course of the conversation in uninteresting directions.
The tourist was trying to respect us equally it seemed. He definitely had been interested in the "starving" part of me as an "artist," and when the skeezer came along, he seemed to extend his sympathy to him; but as soon as the skeezer picked up the roach from what the tourist and I had smoked from right next to backpack where I had placed it, and asked if he could have it; I just wanted him to leave. I don't appreciate his generation. To me, people setting something right next to their other possessions kind of marks that thing as also belonging to them; and his "look what I found" manner of snatching it up had NOLA skeezer all over it.
"I have to get back to work," I told both of them, for at this point, I didn't care if the tourist was going to give us each 20 bucks or give us each 50 bucks; I just wanted the skeezer to leave because I couldn't look at him without feeling sick. He was probably about 17. Very skinny with very wild and curly black hair and horned rimmed glasses, kind of a weird Al Yankovic meets Carlos Santana back when he was skinny with wild black curly hair, look. But it was as if he had seriously harmed himself through using some serious drugs.
The tourist gave us each 20 bucks before he left. I packed up while the kid stood around.
"What now?" he asked, as if we were going to now hang out and find a way to spend our 20 dollars each.
"I'm good," I said and started towards home.

1 comment:

alex carter said...

In my experience, in any given city, begging pays as well or better than performing or doing something constructive. And cities will often come down on buskers/performers but beggers? They're A-OK.

Take a given evening in San Jose, California. There might be 1-2 buskers and this is downtown in a city of about a million. But you'll have no trouble counting dozens of beggars.