Sunday, July 3, 2016

Lots To Get To

  • I Write An Essay
  • I Draw A Picture
  • I Am Planning A Trip
  • 52 Dollar Friday
  • 12 Dollar Saturday
  • Will Probably Go Out Sunday Night To Busk
  • From A Facebook Post

Before I start to regale you with the essay that I started to write a few hours ago, comparing my existence at Sacred Heart Apartments to jail, and reporting on the 52 dollar Friday night, followed by the 12 dollar Saturday, here's another pencil sketch:
"Girl At The Latino Market"

I recently posted the below message on Facebook with the picture of the skeezers (also below) accompanying it.
I repeat it here, because it seems that my 80 "friends" on Facebook don't understand that it is meant to be humorous or they don't get it.
None of them "like"d it.
Maybe my blog readers will think it funny.

From Facebook:

I'm fed up with the beggars around here!
I want to lobby for tougher laws against panhandling...
But, I can't do it alone!
I need your help!
Please send donations to Daniel McKenna; c/o Citizens for the Reformation of Panhandling Laws, 3222 Canal Street, New Orleans.

Nothing is too small; anything helps.

Thank you in advance, and God bless you...
P.S. I'm not a druggie and I don't even drink, so...

I ran into Lynda and Brian, who live near the Lilly Pad, and who are friends with me on Facebook, and, after I had told them about my plans to travel, Brian asked: "Would it be OK if I gave you a little travelling money?"
I hesitated, thinking: "What am I supposed to say, 'no?'"
Then, it occurred to me, especially after he gave me 2 dollars, that he might have been trying to point out to me that, while I lobby against panhandlers I'm ready to take "traveling money" from someone; just like they do.
Hey, but I'm not in everybody's face asking....

52 Dollar Friday

Yes, I walked into the quarter Friday evening, after I had slept all afternoon and missed my chance to grab an all day "Jazzy" bus pass from the office here.
I think I wanted to start from absolute zero. A financial minus 267 degrees fahrenheit.
I had for money, at the apartment, the coins that hadn't gone into the change-o-matic machine at the grocery store, but instead were spit into the "rejected coins" compartment.
Last on the list of instructions for using the machine is the directive to "be sure to check the rejected coins dish before walking off. This is so you can retrieve coins that have become so mangled after having been dragged across the pavement under the weight of a full dumpster
or from maybe having been run over enough times that the presidents on them are unrecognizable. Are the coin-o-matic change machine people suggesting that they still have value, so don't forget them?
So, I was down to 2 rejected pennies Friday.
I got to the Lilly Pad and seeded my tip jar with dollar sized pieces of dollar colored paper.

A Blog Visitor Visits

Then, after about 15 minutes of playing, a guy sat next to me and listened and then put a 5 dollar bill in the jar.
"I guess I can pull out some of this fake money," I said.
The guy turned out to be "Nick," who had started reading this blog after I had run into him when he was listening to Brian Hudson perform on Royal Street about a month ago.
Brian stopped and introduced me to him, as being also from Texas for one thing, and then told Nick that "Daniel has a blog," and gave him the address.   
"I read your blog," said Nick, whom I then talked to for a while, sprinkling a few songs in here and there. The 5 dollar bill actually gave me the sense that I could get an energy drink and a small box of instant coffee and take the trolley home, if nothing else materialized.
He said that he visits New Orleans every other weekend with his family. He was most amused by the skeezer aspect of the blog, and the coverage of them, mentioning David the Water Jug Player by name.
"So, which house is Lilly's?" he also wanted to know.
I played for about an hour, during which one group to stopped and threw a few bucks when I was "really jamming," and another guy gave me 5 bucks to let him play "a song" on my guitar and then played 3. "He got his 5 bucks worth," I said to Nick after the guy had left.
At about midnight, I wanted to take a break, find some tobacco and get and energy drink.
I was also getting to the point of having to broach the subject of my getting "back to work," which, from a busking standpoint would mean not sitting there talking to someone or even playing for them, as a lot of tourists see that the same way as when a tarot card reader had someone in their chair. They figure the card reader is busy with a client, who has their attention. ...he must be playing requests for that guy, let's not bother him...
I was in a quandary, though. On one hand I was thinking: Here is someone who read part of my blog and even knew where and when to find me, and did so. And as a blog reader would be likely to know about my encounters with the-guy-who-talks-to-you-all-night-and-then-say's-he-really-enjoyed-the-conversation-and-wishes-he-had-some-cash-to-throw-you-but-doesn't, and he probably wouldn't be that guy; common sense told me that.

But we had been surrounded by skeezers at certain points. One guy was standing and listening when a second guy walked up and asked him for a dollar or something, to which the first guy replied "I don't have any money I was going to ask him (Nick or me) for a dollar."
I guess in the confusion I kind of forgot who were the good guys and who were the bad guys, and was a little flustered.

But, as I was packing up to run to the store, Nick gave me 20 bucks; and then I wished I had been more diplomatic.
I could have asked him to meet me at Starbucks the next day to chat over coffee.

I got back to the apartment, after picking up groceries and cat food, and placed 39 dollars next to the 2 mangled pennies that the change counting machine hadn't taken.

12 Dollar Saturday

The axiom is holding true that either Friday or Saturday can be a good money night, but not both in the same week.
I feel like I am playing well and getting a good response from people.
I also feel like a pretty good movie that's just being shown in a tiny theater somewhere.

The Essay

Coming soon, after I run to my room to make some more coffee and then return to the computer room, providing nobody has hijacked the thing....

1 comment:

alex carter said...

Your portraits are quite nice. You could seriously get some cream-colored "card stock" and do random portraits and have 'em around your guitar case and sell them easier than CDs maybe.

The border between buskers and skeezers is fuzzy in most people's minds. If a busker is truly excellent and dressed nicely, not trying for the "pity penny" but honestly doing their best to provide good, enjoyable music, then they're clearly a worker and not a skeezer. But on the other end of the spectrum, you have the people who are skeezers and merely using a guitar, harmonica, ukulele, etc as a prop for skeezing. In the middle you have people who must be assumed to be doing their best to provide good music and earn an honest dollar but maybe they can't afford to dress decently, are homeless so baths are not a daily thing, and maybe their musical ability is modest no matter how hard they try.

Trumpet man Jim Stamm in downtown San Jose is an example. He's been a trumpet player since high school, and I honestly think he's trying his best (and reads music better than I do!) but honestly he could generally use a bath and a haircut, and he often puts out signs saying things like "PEOPLE IN SAN JOSE DON'T KNOW WHAT TIPPING MEANS". Also, he keeps a pet rabbit with him - for companionship or for pity? Some consider him an honest busker and some consider him a skeezer. He can play 1000's of songs on the trumpet and that's admirable, but he doesn't quite have the whole "show business" thing together. Should a person be required to have the "show business" thing squared away to exist in life? Maybe so if their chosen occupation is that of a performer.