Thursday, October 27, 2016

It's The Sugar

It is a bit past 8 PM, Thursday night.

I went out last night and probably made 8 dollars.

This was at least something, as I had gotten to the Lilly Pad late and didn't start to play until midnight.

A tourist couple had sat down on the stoop as I was locking my bike across from the bar.

By the time I had gotten over there and was setting up my spotlight, a skeezer, an older black guy who works the block, had invited himself to sit besides the apparently drunk couple.

Being gregariously intoxicated, and in a "sure, why not?" mood in general, the couple slid over a few inches to allow the guy to join them.

To his credit, he fascinated them with whatever tales he was telling them (I have seen the guy in action, and he will adjust his skeeze to whatever tourists he is working. He has been to college, if that helps; is a Jack of all trades and used to work in the same industry as them, if that helps; has a brother in whatever U.S. city they might be from or from the nearest better known city if that helps; and if the tourists happen to be something like underwater welders, or arachnid breeders, then he has another cousin who will take a temporary (a few minutes) job in that field; a cousin whose line of work the skeezer has always been interested in and wanted to learn more about.

By the time I had set up my stuff, and before I could play my first note, the rest of the couples group had come along and whisked them away, but not before the skeezer closed his sale with the guy handing him a bill with the body language that said: "How, 'bout that, is that enough for ya?"
Then, as the skeezer continued to sit there by himself, and I harbored a low level disdain over the fact that, once again, tourists had eschewed a guy who was obviously out there on a dead Wednesday night trying to make money, and even had a tip jar, in favor of a skeezer who should have been obvious (to them) in his trying to make money, and whom they should have doubted has a brother who manufactures propane tanks for fishing vessels just like them.

I suppose I credit the guy for taking advantage of the situation and working his skeeze in a way that had him "in and out of there" in about 10 minutes with probably 20 bucks; and I will not judge him harshly for taking advantage of the inebriated, lest I start handing back tips from people who slur "Keep rockin', dude" as they put a 20 in my jar. "Let me give you 15 back in change, you're probably feeling pretty good tonight and I think you went a little overboard with that tip..."

And, to his enduring credit, after I turned to the skeezer, and asked: "You good?" (meaning; did you get what you wanted and now have no reason to continue sitting there, now that your bones have been rested?) trying to keep the indignation out of my voice, he asked back:

"Am I bashing your hustle?"

To which, I replied: "Yeah, as soon as I start playing, I'd rather be sitting here alone; it's just business.."

"No problem," said the guy and walked off. This convinced me that the tourist had indeed given him a 20 or maybe a 50, and he was giddy with the anticipation of spending it and brimming with love for his Fellow Man.

I suppose, had I gotten there 5 minutes sooner, I may have been in on the bonanza.

It's The Sugar

Getting here to the computer room, where I have technically run past the allotted time period, required me sitting up in bed at about 7 PM, amazed at how darned tired I was, even though I had "slept" for about 8 hours.

The feeling was similar to when I used to drink and would start to nod off and would just want to lay down somewhere; anywhere (that grassy area behind that dumpster is good; I just want to sleep) with the tiredness seeming to be settled in the lower abdomen area.

A Recurrence of The Dream

I had slept fitfully; not wanting to get up, at one point, to snap the overhead light off because its output would soon pale in the light coming in the windows from the coming day.

I had the dream where I lose my guitar and backpack. In this one, I had set the pack down and leaned the guitar on a mailbox or something, turned to look at something across the street "for just a second" and then looked back to see an empty sidewalk where my stuff had been. In the dream, it was the Takamine guitar that was missing, indicating that the recurrent nightmare has been revised and updated.

The guy that I was with in the dream was an older gentleman whom I last saw in 1991, though, who assured me, enigmatically: "You owe more than that," after telling me that he would replace my stuff.
The good news, is that I have isolated sugar as the cause of a list of maladies with listlessness being on the list.

I have had problems with concentration; being able to feel like I had gotten an hour's worth of stuff done in the time it took the clock's hands to rotate once, and time management, in general.

The fatigue which has caused me to sleep longer and to wake from it with very low ambition the past few days has also run concurrent with my first ever purchase of a bag of sugar (after reading a book called "Sugar Blues," by William T. Dufty when I was about 20, I literally went the next 30 years or so on a sugar free diet. I was getting an inordinate amount of "high fructose corn syrup," which, it could be argued was merely a substitute for sucrose. I would have the occasional 29 cent piece of caramel to go with a cup of coffee, but certainly had never purchased a 3 pound bag of sugar in my life -I would have blushed when I put it on the register).

A few days ago, I bought a 3 pound bag of brown sugar, partly because it was on sale for $1.99.
It has made my oatmeal with walnuts and cinnamon pretty delicious, as well as my coffee, the past few days. But, in the past few days, along has come the laundry list of physical complaints.

"I haven't gone out and played the past few nights, I've been depressed," I told Rose Wednesday morning after she called wanting to borrow 5 bucks.

I couldn't isolate sugar as the cause of the problem at first because, I had delved into eating the dozen of eggs that had come in a food bank box and which had sat in my refrigerator until they were the only thing sitting in there, a few days ago.

The feeling of waking up feeling as if I had been kicked and beaten in my sleep, and of not liking the tone of my skin color when passing by mirrors, had its onset at the same time.

The eggs ran out the day before. It's the sugar that is the culprit. And, to think some people get heaps of it every day, in following the "American Diet," which is full of it, along with fat (but not as much salt in recent decades) and other suspicious foods. How many "chronic fatigue" patients would have an epiphany, and a blessing of health if they tried crossing the 3 pound bag of sugar off their grocery list...?

I'm now drinking straight black coffee again, and will dump out the last of the brown sugar and try to get back to the life I once knew, when I at least woke up with plenty of energy to squander or not, after 8 hours of sleep.


alex carter said...

Sounds like you're just jealous because he's got the gift of the gab! He's got a better skeeze than you, is all.

In street skeezing, you can sit with a sign, guitar, puppy, whatever prop, but the real money's in moving around. Be a moving target. Move and ask, ask and move. It's called "crack spanging" but it seems to annoy people the least; they see you're moving and will be away from them in a minute or two, so the few who get pissed off don't get *as* pissed off.

Now if you pulled 3 strings off of your guitar and got a haircut and walked from person to person saying you're from (whatever hellhole in the northeast you're from) and got stuck in New Orleans and just need money to get back home, you'd make bank.

I'll confess that I've never bought a bag, or even a box, of sugar in my life, however I'm not sure why I've not bought "sugar in the raw" since that's pure unadulterated sugar-mill sugar, and the smell of the stuff gives me a strong feeling of nostalgia. Yep the smell I hated in high school, is now one I'm fond of, go figure!

Daniel McKenna said...

I bought the sugar in the raw (when it too, was on sale) and can't recall if it made me want to roll over and go back to sleep, no matter how long I've slept; like the "brown sugar" has done...

I can remember as a kid of about 7 and being with my dad, and what I would 40 years later call a skeezer coming up; and my dad giving him just a reasonable amount of money (maybe 50 cents; but it was 1969)with the purpose of perhaps showing the guy that he (my dad) wasn't a wealthy man and could only spare 50 cents, but he wasn't going to turn the guy away. And there was a second purpose of teaching me the philosophy of: "There, but for the grace of God, go I," which is predicated upon the fact that the guy has truly had some "bad luck."
If he was lying and was a drug addict or something, "that's between him and God."
Dad had done his personal part to stay right with the man upstairs, and it had only cost him 50 cents.
I don't know what dad would do in this day and age when there would be more than just Harvey the town drunk who single-handedly bore the pity of a town of 35,000.
Here, there would be a Harvey on every corner.
To the skeezers credit, I suppose it indeed requires a "gift of gab" to get past the initial defensiveness, cynicism and the "what's this guy selling?" impression, and establish a rapport and turn them (the skeezees)in his favor.
I suppose I can live with: "That guy was the best one yet; notice how odd it was that his two brothers just happen to have the same jobs as us? That was hilarious! I know he was so full of shit it was coming out his eye sockets, but he made me laugh; so I gave him 5 bucks" scenario; as long as everybody's happy...

P.S. Was your high school right by a sugar mill?

alex carter said...

One of the high schools I went to, yes. The sugar mill was right across the street, and there was a yearly tour of it, because traditionally, if you did well in HS you too could get a job at the mill. Imagine the smell of that "Sugar In The Raw" in the air so thick you could just about cut it with a knife.

Of course a few years later the sugar mill was deactivated and became a sort of tourist mall with little shops, all of which were struggling. I was last there in 2003 and all the little shops are still struggling. Face it, Kahuku is just not a place people stream to.