Monday, July 4, 2016

The Bet

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It is Independence Day; which is, as most people at Sacred Heart Apartments know; a Will Smith movie.

Mediocre Blog Month

My Blog traffic, the past month has settled back to just a little above where it had sat for months, before the recent surge, earlier this year when it just about doubled for a few weeks.

It seems that the country of France's interest has cooled; accounting for the drop off.

Sunday Night Off

I didn't busk last (Sunday) night; and lamented it a bit, because it was the last day of the Essence Festival. 

I have found that the festival crowds are usually busy getting out of town at the end of the last day of the festival; and a lot are out of money, etc. I had been up all day Sunday, after having come in Saturday morning at about 3 AM.

At 3 AM, I arrived to find Harold, my cat, meowing profusely for the cat food that I had forgotten to buy.

I went inside, leaving him meowing at the back door. Usually, I pick him up and carry him inside when I arrive home, and that is when I feed him. If I hold the door open for him, he won't enter, though. On the other hand, from the apartment, he will scramble to get through each of the 3 doors held open for him, until he is outside.

I snuck out the front door and walked the 3 quarters of a mile to the Walgreen's and back with some cat food, a liter of Mountain Dew, a sleeve of mixed nuts, and a newspaper.

Then, I drank coffee, and alternately listened to the radio, read the newspaper, drew another pencil sketch, and soaked in "Hawaiian Black Lava Detox" bath salts. Earlier in the day, I had gotten a pencil sharpener at the dollar store, and can now draw with a sharper tip. I had picked up the bath salts, peanut butter and bananas, and a pack of cigarettes during the day, and made it back to the apartment, lucky to still have any money left at all from the weekend.
I think soaking in lava from a Pacific volcano was just what I needed; and at $11.99/ounce for the bath salts, let's hope it was.

Metal Detecting

As I walked back to the apartment along the median strip on Canal Street where the trolleys run, I found a quarter on the ground and was revisited by the idea of getting a metal detector to scour that 2 mile stretch of grass along the trolley line, which also happens to be a Mardi Gras parade route. How many drunken revelers lost their gold diamond ear rings in the middle of jumping for something thrown off a float? The amount of change I've come across on the ground in plain sight might just be the tip of the ice-berg. Plus, I suppose one could find a gold Spanish doubloon, worth about a grand, anywhere in this city, provided it is a place where no one has already looked.

Gold Panning

Well, the metal detecting idea soon lead me to a search for metal detectors online, which soon had me watching videos of guys panning for gold in Alaska. Way out in Alaska. Like, first a flight to Juneau, and then another flight in a smaller plane to some place that was basically picked clean, but not totally, during the "gold rush."

I imagine the expense of getting there, which is probably exorbitant to the same degree as a guided expedition to the top of Mt. Everest, which runs at least $30K, is what keeps swarms of people away; who are not rich enough to be able to afford to try to get rich up there.

The guys in the video I saw found about 4 ounces of gold nuggets in the weeks time that they spent, basically looking for it with pick and pan. That's about 5 thousand bucks worth, and they seemed pretty happy about it, so maybe the plane rides aren't that expensive.

That would be a great diversion from the rigors of busking; and something I've always wanted to do. When I was in Arizona I wanted to learn how to recognize gem stones, so I could pick around looking for rubies, sapphires, amethysts, opals, and maybe an emerald or two. That is one regret I have; not having taken advantage of that aspect of Arizona and Nevada...

Permanent Supportive Housing

My existence at Sacred Heart Apartments reminds me, in certain aspects, of being in jail. Especially when I sit up all night drinking coffee and reading; and when I find myself being triggered to do things by external events; like pulling the blinds up to allow the coming daylight to come in and fall on my houseplants as soon as the photosensitive light outside my window turns off in the early dawn.
I wondered Sunday morning, if checking the exact time that the light turned off, would lead to the discovery that it was turning off 2 minutes later each morning, commensurate with the sunrise occurring about that much later each day.

If I were in jail, I would certainly use something like that in order to know the time of day; when locked out of view of any clock. 

I would look out the slit of a window, down upon the city, for clues. Maybe a certain corner store that I could see from my vantage point opened at 5 AM, and upon looking out and seeing it open, I would know that it was after 5 AM (but before 6 AM, if the breakfast cart hadn't arrived).
This is about the only importance of time of day in jail. Meal times.
There is comfort in the regularity of when the meals arrive.. The gates will electronically snap open at exactly, 6 AM for instance, depending upon the jail; when the big hotbox on little wheels; arrives.

Same thing with the military. They seem to make it a point to serve "chow" punctually -makes the soldier feel like he can count on the army; 3 times a day.

The days, I tracked in jail, using the angle of the sunlight coming through the slit as a sundial, making pencil marks on the wall to measure the increments between days; and then protracting it out to deduce where the shadow will fall upon the day of my release, and maybe drawing a smiley face there.

I had sketched a drawing of the horizon and watched each evening as the sun angled down behind a particular tall building and emerged from the other side, intersecting the building at a slightly different spot each day. the time the sun cuts behind the 23rd floor, I'll be out of here...

The sixth floor of the Duval County Jail in Jacksonville seemed an unnatural place to be during a heavy thunderstorm, watching lightning striking the ground below. ...I guess we'd be safe in here during a hurricane...

I would sit out in the recreation room during the day, where I could see the clock, and read 10 pages of whatever book I was reading, and thereby deduce how long it took me to read the average page.
Then, when we were locked down for the night at exactly 11 PM, depending upon the jail; I would fold my blanket into a pad and sit upon it on the floor in the light that poured through the bars of the door, sip coffee and read.

First, I would advance through the book, the number of pages that I would read, on average, in 7 hours, and place my bookmark there. Then, as I read, I could see a visual representation of when the doors were going to pop open for breakfast. I was usually within a page or two of the bookmarked one when that happened.

After breakfast, I would exercise, doing push ups, chin ups on the staircase, laps up and down the same staircase, and possibly one of the jailhouse gym favorites of filling the mop bucket and then using the mop handle through the bucket handle to do bicep curls.

Then, as the other inmates started to come out for a day of playing Spades or watching TV, I would sleep. Being woken at 11 AM was not an annoyance, because it was due to the arrival of the lunch cart.

There were other events that were on a rigid schedule, such as the appearance of the nurse with her medication cart at exactly the same time each day.

I find myself tuning in to the same kind of "old faithful" occurrences, here at Sacred Heart Apartments, such as the street light right outside my window coming off and on, the sound of the trolleys passing every 20 minutes, and the schedule of this computer room.

And, I like to sit up all night sipping coffee and reading. And I do bicep curls by feeding a bamboo pole, that I have, through the handles of milk jugs full of water. Life here seems to parallel a lot of jail life; and looking around at my fellow residents does nothing to shatter the illusion.
There is almost something not so bad about sitting somewhere and reading book after book and having your meals brought to you.

Story Review

There is a story called "The Bet," by Anton Chechok, where a guy basically bets that he can stay confined in a cell for 15 years, though he is free to leave.
He reads voraciously and even has a piano. I think I could be that guy. He eventually becomes so well read, that he doesn't want the million dollars that he has won after enduring the 15 years in the cell. Which is good, because the guy he made the bet with had lost his fortune over that span of years; and was going to murder the guy rather than default and ruin his reputation.


alex carter said...

Anton Chekhov wrote a story just like this, your guy's a fake.

Daniel McKenna said...

The c is there due to mispelling; the k, a finger twitch; was trying for the v

Daniel McKenna said...

Chechok has been accused of "borrowing" plot lines from his great commrade