Monday, September 5, 2016

Thanx 4 Nothing

I woke up within a few minutes of 1:30 PM, again without the aid of an alarm clock.

I felt well rested, and decided to ride down to the French Market for a 5 dollar set of strings, while I still had 14 bucks. It was one of the rare occasions when the string guy wasn't there. "He had a gig last night," said the guy in the next booth.

It began to rain at the same time as it had Saturday, which is typical here -weather cycles repeating, until a new cycle moves in- so I waited until the time that it had stopped raining the day before and then rode down to the Dollar General to get Harold a can of the 37 cent food that he seems to be OK with. I grabbed a dollar bag of dry food, because a 37 cent can doesn't quite fill him up, and makes him meow at one other resident, my next door neighbor, Wayne, who then produces some of his own dry food and lays it out on the sidewalk.

I had tried to hint to Wayne that I would prefer that he not do such. His answer is always something like: "Aw, but he was meowing and meowing, I felt so bad..."

I don't like it when I come home at night, after having stood there at Rouses Market and picked out a flavor for him, in my constant quest to figure out what flavors he likes the most through experimentation, only to see in him a lack of enthusiasm about following me into the apartment, and then to have the results of my food experiment skewed by the fact that Wayne had stuffed Harold's face with food an hour earlier because "he was meowing and looking at me with those eyes..."

I had stopped giving him salmon at one point, after he had nibbled a bit at some, then left the rest on the plate to dry out, before I realized what was going on with my neighbor who loves cats in general. That was a waste of my good 37 cents, and something that weakened the owner/pet bond between Harold and I, him no longer seeing me as his sole provider of food.

Cats are challenged enough as it is to provide much value to their owners, being pretty much selfish animals, ready to rip their owners skin open in a panicky attempt to escape them after a sudden noise sounds, or a strange dog comes into sight. This, while the owner is in the middle of holding, coddling and petting it. So much for feeling like The Great Protector of them. Being The Great Provider is kind of a consolation prize.

When Harold's belly is full, he only wants to come inside to have his head and neck scratched, and after that is done i.e. I tire of it, he meows at the door to go back outside. That ain't worth no 37 cents, in my book.

I suppose I am over sensitive to selfishness in animals because of the Southern Decadence Festival, which continued to be a bummer.

But first, after I bought the cat food and 4 bananas, leaving less than 10 bucks to my name, I bought a pack of cigarettes, feeling as if they might be my sole indulgence, once I arrived at the festival.
I held out the hope that at least a few of the gays would see me and think: "That guy has been out here each night playing his heart out, let me throw him a ten spot."

And, I also determined that, if Rose and Ed started to pressure me for the 40 bucks for the TV (that had been collecting dust in their storage closet) on this the 4th day after they got a combined $2,000 or so in "disability" compensation, then I would just tell them straight (excuse the pun) up that the Decadence Festival has been, hands down, the worst 3 nights of the whole year, worse even than a "regular" Monday through Wednesday when nothing special is going on and when only one tenth as many "normal" people are walking Bourbon Street. If they were to persist, then my ace in the hole (to "pair" another poker term with "hands down") will be to say: "Look, I'll be right up there with the thing to give it back to you."

If they surprise me by being more "ghetto" than I had pegged them to be (on to cribbage terms now) and say: "Well, you've had it for a week; how about some rent money?" then I will have learned a 5 dollar or so lesson about not having any interaction whatsoever with other residents of Sacred Heart Apartments, which disabled veterans, chronically homeless, chronically unemployed and mentally disabled people call home.

So, I spent myself down to about 4 dollars after buying the cigarettes and a Monster Rehab energy drink (which is corn free) to drink as I pedaled for the Quarter on what would be the last night of the L.G.B.T. whoop dee doo.

I arrived at the Starbucks at Canal and St. Charles at 8 PM, and spent the next hour composing the following...

8 PM, Sunday

The tip jar on the counter at Starbucks is crammed full of bills with some larger than ones visible, placed there by the same queers that apparently don't give a shit about buskers, but feel that it's hip and trendy to tip the baristas.

I can imagine a fag lisping:

"Oh, I've jetht got to have my skinny chai latte with a little puff of whipped cream every morning, tee hee hee," and then saying: "Here you go, baby," when stuffing the ten dollar bill into the jar. I wonder if the flaming gay barista there is going to try to lay claim to a disproportional amount of the jar at the end of the shift.

My gift card, that has $3.02 on it wouldn't swipe, and the barista (a straight looking one) let me have the coffee "on me," making for one of the few bright spots of the entire weekend.

The ground is wet and it's Sunday and when I leave here at 9 PM I will be right on my regular busking schedule. It is probable that I will make hardly anything, should the trend continue, and gays are trendy, as stated. Sunday nights are notoriously slow, and the presence of 20,000 L.G.B & T.'s in town is apparently a non factor in that regard.

Either way, I'll be able to have my food money in 3 hours, an almost full pack of smokes and food for Harold the cat, when I count my blessings. Southern Decadence sucks.

All my material aspirations are on hold. A water fast seems like the prudent thing to do, right now. I guess one makes repeated attempts at quitting smoking until one succeeds.

10 PM, Sunday

I got to the spot catty corner to The Quartermaster, as the Lilly Pad was awash with the blare from Lafitt's portable outdoor P.A. system, which was cranking the song "Oh, Mickey," by Toni Basil when I rode past, thinking sarcastically: "Gee, I wonder why the gays would enjoy the lyrics: "Oh, Mickey, you're so fine; you're so fine you blow my mind, hey Mickey!!"

It only took about 20 minutes of playing without even one of about 75 heads turning my way to make me abruptly stop.

I was reminded of a story that I heard once about the comedian Redd Foxx (who played Fred Sanford on the 70's sitcom "Sanford and Son").

He was booked to perform at a hotel dining room in White Plains, New York, and there had been a blizzard that afternoon, which dumped like 4 feet of snow outside.

Redd had either been asleep, or had not looked out the window, and didn't know about the blizzard.
Showtime came and the band struck up the familiar "Sanford and Son" theme song as Mr. Foxx came onto the stage, saw that there were only about a dozen people in the audience, and with a flurry of expletives said something like:

"Are you s**tting me?!? I've been doing this s**t for 25 years, I don't need this bulls**t!!" and then stormed off the stage as (what I think is the funniest part) the band struck up the theme song again, and "played him off." A 30 second "performance."

I guess the band wanted to fulfill their contractual obligation so they would, at least, get paid.

The reason that that story came to mind is because, after 20 minutes of playing and being ignored, I felt just like Redd: "I've been doing this s**t for 8 years; I don't need this bulls**t!"

10:30 PM, Sunday
Thanx 4 Nothing

So, I fashioned a sign with my sharpie that read: "Thanx 4 nothing, you non tipping decadents," laid it next to my jar with 2 dollars in it, set my guitar down next to me, and then took out my pen and pad and wrote the following:

I'm at my playing spot, and have given up on these f***ing deviants, one of whom just kicked over my tip jar as he walked past wearing red bikini briefs and no shirt.

I guess I'll have the last laugh, as that is the sign of a miserable wretch; I would still rather be me than he.

I am sitting here writing this as my guitar leans idly next to me, I've got some time to kill (about an hour) before I get 194 dollars worth of food which is fortuitous, as, these Southern Decadence participants wouldn't care if I eat out of the garbage tonight.

But, I am playing at a high musical level, and am sober.

The masses of people who have been insensible to the charms of my music, may have embodied a blessing in disguise, as I have expanded my skills in an environment in which there is an absence of any impression of being under a magnifying glass, being critiqued, or of playing for an audience, and a reduction in the kind of pressure that comes along with having someone standing 4 feet in front of you and listening carefully to every nuance.

I have always tried to make it my forte to be able to make up songs out of thin air and, over the course of the festival, have further developed the skill of singing "anything that pops into my head," something that teeters along the edge of abstract poetry. ...the rusty bell tolled as the acid rain plummeted earthward, landing on the head of the pink whale, which opened its gaping mouth, as children in raincoats threw lunch pails at the pillars of marble, causing the structure to come tumbling down in a plume of dust that took a long time to settle.... type of thing.

My theory is that, if I were to practice the skill enough, it might come to the point where it starts to make sense. The "pink whale" is certainly apropos of the Southern Decadence Festival...

There is indeed a certain artistic liberation that comes with having an audience of shirtless effeminate sissies in bikini briefs, who pose very little threat of physically grabbing a guitar and smashing it on the street; and plus, there is a cop stationed right across from me the whole time; sitting in a black unmarked car, his face awash in the glow from a tablet, or whatever he was poking at most of the time.

A good portion of the scanty tips that I did get came when I was doing this.

A lot of the revelers seemed to be making up their own abstract poetry, but were just very drunk. I pity them their station in life, them needing alcohol and the false bravado in order to affect whatever persona they are hoping to project.

I will make more money in the coming few days, of of the "normal" tourists, though their number will be one tenth of what is here now.

Good riddance is too good a couple of words.

It is possible that my prescribed course of action, mandated by circumstances would be to buy prune juice and a gallon of distilled water and to beat off (excuse the pun) the demon that I am convinced has taken up a stronghold here in the Crescent City. I've never been glared at by so many people with looks of unadulterated hatred, nor spoken to them, even to just say "Good morning," and had them turn their faces away, making no reply. I was taught that that was "rude" when I was 6 or 7 years old.

The sign for the tiposaurus, I have swapped out for one that reads "Thanx 4 nothing, non-tipping decadents. Good bye," and as I spend time writing this, gaggles of shirtless, lisping men walk by, proof against even it.

It holds no sway over them, and neither would one that read "I am starving to death" I suspect.
Maybe it is good to stay clear of such a formidable adversary as whatever spirit besets them all.
Nervous Duane at Checkpoint Charlie

There is the "open mic" going on at Checkpoint Charlie tonight, already in "full swing," and it is the ragged condition of the strings on my guitar and the poor intonation of the harmonica that is the biggest deterrent to my having already bent my steps in that direction.

There would be my greatest chance of making a few dollars in tips, where the sound system would at least convey the substance of my music, and where I might be smoke up by someone..or have my bike stolen from the side of the place.

1 comment:

alex carter said...

As far as the TV goes, you're just one skeezer in an apartment full of skeezers, and the best thing for a skeezer who doesn't want to be a skeezer some day to do, is to not associate with the other skeezers. I'd return the TV with a cold 6-pack of beer and then never talk to them again.

What keeps happening to your plans to work through the full Mel Bay course? Or to record CDs? Or to "get discovered"? You don't even have part-time work to distract you, you could put in a workmanlike schedule of hours a day out there, not necessarily playing unstoppingly, but josh with people a bit, play a bit, practice a bit, write a new song, josh some more, etc. Busking is an hours game; the more hours out there the better you do. And best to at least put on a good act of wanting to be out there, people can smell it on you when you'd really rather be at home smoking pot and you're just treating busking as a "necessary evil".