Thursday, July 28, 2016

Live, Without A Cushion

  • 4 Dollar Tuesday
  • 2 Dollar Wednesday
I had thought that it was Thursday, last evening, as I put in my 2 hours of playing at the Lilly Pad for almost nobody; and made 2 dollars.

Before I started at about 10:45 PM, I had stopped to talk to Barnaby, who was sitting on his front stoop drinking what was probably gin and soda, along with his current girlfriend? roommate? named Kendall.

I remembered the times in the past when I was sober and had no money, and Barnaby would produce a glass of straight gin for me; and I would hit that first chord with gusto.

He is (becoming, perhaps) that kind of chronic drinker who will -well, let me give an example.

He asked me last night if I had a place, or if I was still homeless.

I have had a place for 18 months.

Right after I got the place, I told Barnaby all about it.

He was very happy for me at that time, and congratulated me profusely.

We had a certain conversation centering around the fact that it was my veteran status that had sealed the deal and allowed the agencies, whose members knew me and seemed to like me and even read this blog, to get me off the street. I described the place to him and the arrangements.

"That's great, Daniel, I'm so happy to hear that; I worried about you being homeless out here, I really did!"
Last night, Barnaby, through slurred speech, asked me if I had a place, or if I was still homeless.
I told him about my place.

He was very happy for me and congratulated me profusely, and we embarked upon basically the same conversation, which was actually the third iteration of it, since I had gotten my place.
I guess my point is that I am better off for not having drank the past 6 months, because I had started to black out and do the same thing before catching myself: "Oh, I already told you about that, didn't I?" "Yeah."

David the water jug player is the most extreme example of this; seeming to have only about 3 or 4 paragraphs of material in his head, which he will repeatedly regale one with, as if it is all fresh and new.

I rode up to him on my bike, after I had just bought it for 15 bucks off a guy who lives in our apartment building.

He had looked at it; commented upon the disc brakes as being an asset, told me that I needed to get a much better lock, followed by the story of how his own bike had disappeared after he had secured it with the same kind of lock that I was using. He told me exactly where it had disappeared from (right in front of Starbucks on Canal Street) and expressed amazement over the brazenness of the thieves, and warned me that that was what I was up against . Then I explained to him that the lock was just a deterrent to someone hopping on the bike and riding away on it; and that I would keep it locked and within my sight.

"You better, Daniel. As soon as you see them with the bolt cutters, you better be ready to yell 'Hey, what the f*** are you doing?!?" said David.

Last night (a few nights later) I rode up to David the water jug player on the bike, who was actuated, upon the sight if it, to launch into a word for word repetition of the above.
I was even prompted, like an actor using cues, to remember my same responses to his statements, which, in turn cued him, I guess, to run through the same spiel, as if it were fresh and he was composing it on the spot.

It's the "devil and angel" thing...
It was right after he had told me that I needed a better lock "You definitely need a better lock, Daniel. Definitely!" and right before: "Mine's got stolen with a lock just like this one; just like it! You want to know where they stole it from?!?" that I excused myself, telling him that I needed to get to my spot and play.

I played and made the 2 dollars mentioned above.

I rode away thinking about how I used to pay $2.50 every night to ride the trolley, and that I usually made at least that amount.

Now the bike is saving me the money; and my income has shrunk accordingly.

I had $4.50 to start out with, and spent it, along with the 2 bucks I made; on a pound of barley, a can of cat food, a one dollar cigar, and a newspaper.

The purchase of which left me with 20 cents.

I thought about Johnny B., and how he had to make a certain amount for rent and for methadone treatments, and how he would just stay out until he had done so.

I need to make like 9 bucks when I go out; for a can of cat food, a newspaper and maybe a little weed, and I guess my operation reflects this.

If I was a crystal meth addict; I would think nothing of going out early in the morning, before the sun rose, because I would be up anyways pacing my apartment or maybe vacuuming the rug for the 3rd time; and playing on the off-ramp of the Interstate, ready to put a meth fueled beating on any skeezer who vies for the spot, maybe getting myself 25 or 30 bucks before the sun came up; and then by the end of the day, I would probably be able to afford rent and a methadone treatment.

I'm not saying that I expect my life to be easier now that I don't drink, or that I expect money to start to pile up at least at the rate of the $2.50 per day that I am saving by riding the bike; or that I expect to be making more because my playing is improving through sober practicing; but it would be nice.
The prospect of going on the road and playing other places is ever more enticing.

I just have to get over the psychological hurdle of thinking that I can't hit the road with just 20 cents in my pocket, and that I need to have a couple good nights playing here in order to give me a "cushion."

1 comment:

alex carter said...

"The sauce" can sure do a number on people's brains. I'm glad I didn't get *that* bad. But if you read up on what long term alcohol abuse does, it actually shrinks the brain - scary.

I'm about 2-1/2 months sober now and it *is* different. For instance, I'd get some whiskey poured out, and then nip on it while practicing my trumpet, thus making scale exercises and such interesting, and making working out songs quite amusing. I just can't get into that "tee hee hee, this is so fun" mode sober.

Drumming is fun though and hence I'm spending a good half of the money I'm saving by not drinking, on drum lessons and various accoutrements associated with them. I probably retain my interest in drumming because it goes 'way back to when high school was something grown-ups did.

I'm not sure how to make a bike theft-proof other than to ride some ugly old hardtail mountain bike, and pull the seat off and keep it with you so it will look like the thieves have already picked it over. I run a risk of bike theft myself as I'm about to get my bike back on the road and frankly, it's a pretty damn cool bike. In my own case, I just have to assume that there's a chance I might lose $500 worth of bike and panniers, and be prepared to replace it.

I really think busking is a patience game, and a few gimmicks don't hurt, are you still using the Tipasaurus or your sharks?