- Harp In Tune
- Waking Up; The Lilly Call
- The Dental Thing
- The Jennifer Drawing
- Cigarettes, The Weed Guy And The Perpetual Financial Friction Within
Last night, I rode the bike trail into the Quarter.
The hit of Bongo's medicinal marijuana, having run its course with myself having grabbed the guitar and flipped on my phone's voice recorder to capture the music that I was suddenly dying to play; and then having struggled through that music, unable to focus upon in and block out distractions, such as an almost paranoia based feeling that some of the skeezer residents were outside my door, listening.
Someone who is as quiet as myself around them most of the time draws attention to himself when he disturbs the air with any kind of sound. It is the lack of interaction with them that accounts for what they think makes me "quiet."I don't speak to them because they are mainly vacuous souls and if you get too close to them, it is like when a low pressure air system is parked in the nearby atmosphere which causes the wind to pick up, as it rushes to fill the void, and you wind up hanging on to your hat so it won't be blown off your head, and everything else.
One can't relax and just converse free form without giving away information that might be used against one.
Hell, if any of the residents here were technically facile enough to read this blog, I would be getting knocks on my door by supplicants for "just a couple bucks out of that 85 that you made last night."
So, I was playing in a guarded way, which I hate doing.
Part of me was realizing that the whole idea of playing music is to create something that sounds good enough so that skeezers getting off the elevator on their way out to the recreation area to see if anyone down there has a cigarette, are going to stop and listen.
Dorise Blackmon looked at me once, after I had laid a similar concern out to her. She shrugged and asked: "So what?"
So what if I open my door to go out and see if Harold the cat wants to come in; and there is a group of a half dozen skeezers sitting in lawn chairs, who put their beers down and applaud me as soon as I step out, and say "That was one hell of a concert!"
Well, part of the problem is when I want to play stuff that I am experimenting upon in a way that I wouldn't experiment at the Lilly Pad, because the terrain would be fraught with musical peril. For example: What kind of exotic scales and harmonies can I get by playing the C major harmonica over an E flat minor tonality? I'm not really sure, even as I sit here now (but I can guess "educated-ly" that it would sound bluesey) and I sure don't want to sit at the Lilly Pad and say, well, here goes...let's see if this sounds like a cat on a lath or not, when I might be making a steady 20 bucks per hour playing over "Golden Slumbers," by The Beatles...save that stuff for home.
Which goes back to Dorise's point.
Why should I care if other residents walk by and think, that guy sounds like shit, you mean to say he makes money out in the Quarter? That would actually make them think that I probably just barely scraped enough cigarette money for myself up and they would be wasting their breath skeezing me for one.
But, the opposite is true. If I'm kicking ass on the harmonica in C, over an E flat Major tonality, realizing that it sounded just like a ZZ Top song, and that's probably what they did to write it, then it might suggest to the skeezers that I was a selfish, greedy uncaring individual to not even give away cigarettes when I must make a killing in the Quarter, because "the ones that are good make bank!"*
I can pretty much say that it is the "legends" of a handful of buskers, Tanya and Dorise, and Doreen's Jazz band being in that subgroup, that have become disseminated far and wide and distorted in such a way that playing on Royal Street and making baskets full of money are the only two elements of the tale that survive the retellings.
But, if I was just kicking ass and throwing it down and breaking a sweat as I jammed out in my apartment, it would do for me almost as would using large amounts of cash to buy money orders from the corner store every day, in that regard.
I can understand the other few residents who are also buskers, or who have aspirations of parlaying any talent that they might posses in that direction "as soon as I get a guitar," asking me how much money I make out there, after having stood outside my door with an ear pressed to it in order to assess my talent level and then hash it with the amount of money I make after comparing their own abilities to mine. These few, I will be more frank with. I always translate it into "about 18 bucks an hour," and then head their awe off at the pass by interjecting "but after a couple of hours, I've played all my songs and my fingers are starting to get sore," whatever.
So, I must conclude that weed makes me unreasonably paranoid. Skeezers outside my door? C'mon!
But the good news is that I am growing to see the Lilly Pad as the place where I can really enjoy myself playing, like my green pasture. It has an almost insatiable appetite for ebullience, and there is no danger of seeming like I am overdoing it, showing off, trying to disturb my neighbor, etc. You can "give your all" there and might just barely stand out from the fray of everything else.
So, I look forward, more and more each evening, to getting to the Lilly Pad, like a guy with a nice motorcycle that can't wait to get to the Interstate so he can open her up a little. I especially feel more comfortable doing my song "The Guy In Apartment A109 Is Really Starting To Get On My Nerves" there. (LOL)
So, that is cool. Even at the Lilly Pad, if I smoke weed and feel the same paranoia, I can just tell myself that I am being paranoid, and get past it.
The Call Of Lilly
Lilly called and woke me at noon, give or take a few seconds. I think that timing was coincidental.
It was fortuitous in that, while shaking off the sleep and coming too, deducing that she had found the note that I had left on her Navigator the night before, I recalled my dental appointment at 3 PM.
I left the note, which I had written a week before, telling her that I missed seeing her as, between taking time off while Travis was crashing at my place, and arriving there after she was already in and taking the bad weather days off, I hadn't seen her much in about a month.
I mentioned the Airbnb renters and their speakers; and how I hadn't chosen to sic her upon them; and expressed my sadness over Barnaby Chancellor having moved out of his condo across from where I play.
She told me that I could leave her a note or call or text her anytime, and that if we have a hurricane and we all have to evacuate, to get in touch with her and she will take me with her and the girls.
I had played the brand new out of the box harmonica.
Within minutes of starting, a guy came and tipped me 5 bucks, saying "You sound good."
That kicked me into a higher gear, and I shook off the last of Bongos medicinal weed that had already run its coarse, and was able to jam on the brand new harmonica to the tune of 21 bucks in a little over an hour.
There were so few people on Bourbon that I felt like they had each tipped me, as I packed up and made it to Rouses Market five minutes before they were to close and grabbed a little food. I splurged on cat food for Harold. He has been eating the same exact food for a week after I got a deal from another resident on 2 cases (48 cans) of it. He had only wanted 2 dollars and 50 cents.
I had tested a can on Harold, who ate it, though not enthusiastically, and then coughed up the money, even though I had only like 7 bucks to my name at the time.
I arrived at 3:09 for my 3 'o clock dental appointment. It's going to cost me 97 dollars for each of 2 root canals. This is the cheapest price in the land, and is for work done by LSU graduate students.
|Healthcare the purple way|
"It would cost you in time, because the graduate students have to go much more slowly and check every step with..." she said.
97 bucks sounds cheap, and would be quite manageable if I had any kind of 40 hour per week job.
I left there thinking that I would have to do just that; manage a way to get work through the temp place read: pass the drug test, and then get the 2 root canals done. They are only the tip of the iceberg, as far as all the work they have recommended done, but they must be at the top of the list of: "If you could have only one procedure done, what would it be?"
|"I'm gonna work here in the day and busk at night..."|
I know that I'm not going to spend almost 200 bucks on root canals, if and when I have it. Not before getting a new laptop. So, the 40 hour a week job seems to be the way to go. Or to figure out a way to busk for 40 hours a week, even if I'm just sitting there a lot....
Drawing Upon My Resources
I sent a message to Jennifer, asking if there was an address where I could send a Christmas gift.
"Christmas gifts, is this something new?" came back.
"I've come up a bit in the world. It's not a lobster."
The last Christmas gift I gave her, 20 years ago, when she was 11 years old, was a cooked one of those crustaceans, and an umbrella.
"Just don't show up in a box, LOL"
"The postage would be too much, I weigh 140 pounds. I think I can go by freight car on the New Orleans & Illinois Central Railroad"
"If you get a huge cake and it's giggling, don't open it..."
She eventually sent me her address. She was probably wondering why she has apparently been singled out by me to be a recipient of a Christmas gift, or if I have come up a bit in the world enough to be lavishing gifts on friends, far and wide. I suppose when she gets the drawing she will understand that it just wouldn't make as good a gift to any other random person.
Then I spent 5 bucks on a little sack of weed, telling myself that, at least it would make busking more fun and that it might pay for itself that way, through a tip thrown by someone who wouldn't have even heard me had I already left due to things being slow, rather than being baked and having a good ol' time with the new harmonica.