- 13 Dollar Monday
|The movie I grabbed; because I've heard of it...|
I went to the Sacred Heart Chorus practice earlier this evening. Yes, there is a Sacred Heart Chorus, and I have been seeing notifications about its gathering at 6 PM every Tuesday, first affixed to doors in public view, and more recently have been getting a flyer announcing the practice time slid under my door.
I have, throughout that time period, from the christening of and maiden voyage of the good ship Sacred Heart Chorus until just this evening been either in the process of preparing to go out and busk each Tuesday evening, out of financial want as evidenced by my going out on the second slowest night of the week; or have been more interested in whatever I had planned upon doing in lieu of going out to busk, to have made it to the 6 PM meeting, rehearsal, practice, whatever.
Frankly, I envisioned skeezers crooning away, sending a volatile cloud of alcohol into the air, and, as I kind of searched my mind for any residents of Sacred Heart Apartments whose vocal timbre I had ever been impressed with in hearing them ask me for a cigarette.
But, this evening, it seemed like I had run out of excuses for not joining the Sacred Heart Chorus.
"We've only got a few months to get ready to do the Super Bowl halftime show," I joked to Valerie, who had called me on the in house phone from her office.
Valerie works in some capacity in one of the offices here at Sacred Heart Apartments. She asked me if I was interested in joining the chorus, or could she stop putting flyers under my door. It was then that I suspected that the chorus members had increased their efforts to try to get me to join. That might sound pretentious but, being a "professional" musician, as I am, and one of only a few in the building, I imagine that I was being actively recruited when the public notices turned into the flyers under my door, and then the personal phone call from the director of recreation or whatever Valerie's title is here....
So, I went towards the multi purpose room after having returned home from shopping for bananas, mangoes, cigarettes, a nickel of weed, and cat food for Harold; 2 dollars worth of cat food for Harold, as a matter of fact.
There was a pile of clothing on the ping pong table, which meant that someone had donated them and that they were there for our taking, and so I wound up with a pretty nice nylon jacket, and the shirt shown. It is a "New Orleans" type shirt and probably has Illuminati symbols on it which I will have to vet before I wear the thing in public...
I had had a 12 dollar Monday night, on a Monday night when, after maybe an hour and a half, I had nothing in my tip jar, and was planning upon going only another 15 minutes or so, thinking how disconcerting the thought of having a 58 dollar night, followed by a goose egg.
I was thinking this when I actually heard the strains of what sounded like a resonator guitar, and sure enough, there was a dude sitting katy corner to to Lafitt's so that given that I am at 3 o' clock to the bar, he would have been at 10:30.
I strained myself, to see if I recognized the dude. The thought crossed my mind that he might be one of the guys whom I have encountered busking at the Lilly Pad and whom I have had run off by the namesake of that particular spot, impelled by her insistence that I be the neighborhood busker and make all the money that I can there, and that she would have it no other way.
The resonator was loud and tinny, as per its nature, but the guy's singing voice was on the gruff side.
My biggest concern was basically that he was trying to move in on me. The distance away from me where he sat was a respectable 75 yards or so, and I was sure that people within 20 yards of me heard mostly me.
I thought that it might have been a blessed time (to me) for him to have chosen to test the market around the bar, on a night when I, myself, hadn't made a cent.
He was also about half the distance to the bar as I was and, on a normal night, the music emanating from the place would make life hard for him at that distance. Also, there is a tarot card reader who sets her table up on the exact spot where the dude was playing. Both the bar's music and the tarot card lady had become casualties of the dead night.
I recognized, at one point that the guy was playing "Let Her Cry," by Hootie And The Blowfish, a song which I had once played a bit, and so I jumped into my own version of it, singing it in a less croaky way.
A guy came out of Lafitt's and listened to me for a while. He was wearing an Izod golf type shirt.
He offered to buy me a drink and went off to get me a Red Bull out of Lafitt's.
Sometime while I was talking to the guy or playing him a song, the other dude disappeared from 75 yards away.
There was really almost no foot traffic, and to make matters worse for the guy, almost everyone leaving Lafitt's goes one way or the other on Bourbon Street, but very few go in the direction to walk past where he was. The tarot card lady does alright because she visually attracts people out of the cluster of them standing outside the bar on a busier night; but those people wouldn't be able to hear her over the bar's music if she were playing an acoustic guitar.
The guy with the Izod shirt returned and gave me a Red Bull drink and then sat down.
With a sense of timing similar to a mosquito, a skeezer arrived and basically spoke up to the guy over the song that I was in the middle of playing which was one of my originals, and which the guy had been listening to, judging by his reactions to certain lyrics, etc.
I was happy to hear the guy tell the skeezer that he had no money to give him, even if this meant that he had no money to tip me, either.
Then, another young black guy, rather effeminate looking came and sat on the side of the guy opposite me. This was after the first skeezer, after having gotten a cigarette (and a light) off the Izod guy, had walked off. He hadn't gone far, though.
I recognized the young guy as someone who had sat and listened to me play before, had not tipped me anything, but had not tried to skeeze me.
I couldn't hear what was exchanged between the two, but soon, the Izod shirt guy had stood up and, as he took a few steps towards the bar asked: "Jim Beam on the rocks?" to the effeminate young black guy. ...just like a gay guy to have expensive tastes, I couldn't help thinking.
Then, after I had declined a second Red Bull, and before the Izod guy had gone any further, the first skeezer re-materialized out of nowhere.
He must have been monitoring the situation, perhaps waiting for the Izod guy to produce some cash, belying what he had said to him; whereupon he could swoop in and make an issue of it, trying to claim some cash by virtue of him having caught him in a lie...aren't you ashamed of yourself? now give me 5 dollars or in a case such as it was, where the guy had no cash but could buy drinks off his card, could swoop in just exactly as he did.
I then had to feel disgusted as I listened to him basically ask: "Can I have a drink, too?" and a little pissed off because a guy listening to a busker had turned into what felt like a mob skeezing scene. "You've opened up the floodgates," I couldn't help muttering to the Izod guy.
Then, after the guy returned and sat down, I continued to play for him, along with the effeminate connoisseur of liquor and the skeezer, both of whom were puffing away at cigarettes that they had gotten from the Izod guy, in between sips off the drinks that he had just bought them. What pissed me off also, was the skeezer's repeatedly making remarks about what a good musician I was, and his making them right over the top of whatever music I was doing.
The implication is that I shouldn't mind him hanging around and skeezing my audience because he was actually helping me by pointing out that I was good to them. I could imagine him saying to a tourist something like, "give him a good tip, his music is worth it, and, if you don't mind I'm kind of hungry right now, and...."
I wound up getting no cash from the guy; just a Red Bull. That's cool, because it gave me wings.
As It Turned Out, He Was Rich
Then another guy who turned out to be named Rich came along and despite being hustled by the skeezer to stop and listen to me play, was able to perform the miracle of stopping to hear me play AND get rid of the skeezer and the effeminate guy, both of whom must have sensed that they weren't going to be able to skeeze him (maybe it's something they can smell on a person).
He wound up tipping me all 15 dollars that I would make on that whack Monday night.
Lemonade Out Of Lemons
These skeezers think that they have just as much "right" to the tourists as I do, and even take advantage of the fact that they are being held still for them by myself and my music. The solution, I have determined, is that I must keep my eye out for them and alert the tourists with a quick "Here comes a bum, he bothers my audiences all the time," just loud enough for them to hear.
I might add something like: "He lies about being hungry. I've offered him food before but he rejected it rudely." Maybe in that way I can turn something that really irks me into pleasurable entertainment as I watch the tourists, armed with this information, send them on their way. "Have a good one!" I can add sarcastically, as they walk off. Talk about making lemonade out of lemons, type of thing....
It is Tuesday night, and I have just returned from the Goodwill after having plunked down less than 4 bucks on a CD, a movie, and a guitar method type of book that looks like it might have potential, containing examples which looked pretty "musical" to me, upon a quick flip through it.
I have spent almost 20 bucks today, but I have basically everything I need except toilet paper, which I forgot to pick up at the dollar store.
The skeezer basically apologized for having interrupted and stepped back a couple paces, but didn't leave.