Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Globetrotters Return

The Spangers

"We gave you the spot all weekend; and now you want weekdays, too?!?"

The spangers were back (after a year away) at the Lilly Pad, with an accordian and a banjo, apparently, though the instruments sat by them, un-played,  so I couldn't tell by the sound.

They were sitting in the dark, and skeezing -striking up conversations that they would then steer towards themselves getting something for free.

It's a guy in his mid twenties, with an accordian and a girl with a ukelele, and a dog with a bowl.

The guy told me that it was rude for me to have set up a few feet away from them, and started to play, after I had done so. When I got there, I hadn't seen any instruments, and all I heard was them chatting with a woman who seemed to love their dog.

Apparently they had been getting there these past few evenings, and leaving before I got there. I have been pretty late getting there these past few nights.

The guy took it as an act of disrespect , the fact that I was playing; his answer to which was to remain there and try to disrupt whatever I was trying to do. "I can play louder, and yell louder than you!," he said at one point.

This also took the form of him telling tourists some version of: "Don't give him any money, he has a place to stay, he probably has a job..." That was their "argument" to tourists, who had just snubbed them; that they should do the same to me.

I told them that I didn't think that they were playing music.

"That doesn't matter, my girlfriend's spanging..." he said, as if she needed to be on center stage and have perfect silence in order to practice the art of asking for money.

I started at about 11 PM. The guy started blowing a few harmonica notes over me, before stopping.

I got the sense that he was embarrassed to let me know how badly he sounded on the thing. But, he stopped.

There were so few tourists, that, after I had gotten one dollar, it then didn't seem important for me to continue to play just as a way of contending for the spot.

"Look, bro. There's nobody out here; I'm going to smoke a joint and then go down by the Quartermaster."

I said this as kind of an invitation to them to smoke a Peace Pipe with me, then we perhaps could have traded stories and both come away with more of a mutual respect for each other.

Neither of them jumped at the word "joint." This most likely meant that they had weed; otherwise I couldn't see them being able to hold their tongues.

And it was likely that the guy wanted to see me leave, as soon as possible, thinking that it would be me ceding the spot to him. That might open the door for them to be on equal footing with me over it in the future.

The truth was that it wasn't worth disturbing Lilly over, there were so few people out.

"We gave it to you all weekend, now you want it on week nights?!?" The guy had asked, sounding shocked, and of course implying that the spot was his to "give."

"I try to play from 9:30 until about 12:30, but I've been getting here late, lately. Last night, I wasn't here until 11:40..."

At this, the guy's face registered that I might be telling the truth. "We were here until about 11, last night," he said.

So, the way I read the situation is that this guy is basically saying that if he and his girl are there begging, then I should go elsewhere, or wait for them to finish up at about midnight.

So, I texted Lilly with a very low priority message, telling her I would call after daylight to fill her in a little more.

The same guy had been here last year with a different girl. They had been run off  by Lilly. I think I recall that what had set the fire under Lillian was my mentioning that the guy had doubted that I even knew the lady who lived inside.

This may be why they were further down and closer to the bar and off her property.

I caught the words "probably just a maid" amidst the grumblings that the guy was making to his girlfriend. I'm ready to report to Lilly that the guy thinks that she is probably just the maid of the house. That might be all it takes.

Last year, he had a different girlfriend. 

Lilly had told that one "I like your hair," as she and the guy were in the process of leaving, after she had said something to them. It made me think that she was running them off in a way that wasn't personal. She could get them to move while still liking their hair.

While she had spoken to them that time, her younger daughter, Angelique waited a few paces away, probably just out of earshot. Fashionable Angelique, fresh off of work as a greeter in a five star, world famous restaurant, which I won't name.

I remember wondering how Lilly's complementing the girl's hair would be taken by her, with the added aspect of Angelique being nearby, with the words "and tell me I don't have good taste in young lady's hair" sub-captioned in the imagination.

I think it had been Lilly's coded way of saying: "And I can see through your little act; those are awful nice extensions for a girl who 'just hopped off the Illinois Central with a hungry dog.'"

So, I texted Lilly. I'll call her in the morning.

I'm always edgy when the encroaching musicians have situated themselves in between the bar and I.

Lilly's property ownership is one thing, and her sphere of influence in that particular block is another. 

The spangers are technically in front of the property of the neighbors with whom Lilly is wrangling over certain issues, and whom she advised me to never let know that I was a friend of hers, as they might use that to turn me into a pawn in their battle against her, moving her friend, and vestige of her, away from the disputed gate, lest I appear to them as a sign of Lilly's having taken for granted the ultimate disposition of the alley.

I am not to tell the owner of the house (which "recently sold for 3.5 million" as has been announced by the mule cart tour guides since past recent memory) that I know her, yet, I'm hoping that she'll be able to run the spangers off from in front of their place. That's why I'm edgy.

Right now, I play in front of the alley in dispute; the one that both "931" (Lilly) and "933" have marked with those numerals. It will be a while before a judge somewhere determines which numeral should come down, and along with it, the station of a property owner. 

A while ago, Lilly had a more fancy "931"numeral than the plain, Kinko's-bought "933" that was on the gate, however now, they are both plain, as if some arbitrator had stepped in and ruled that, while the alley behind the gate was being disputed over, that both parties, while they can both lay claim to half of the alley under dispute using numerals, may not do so in a way that is more ostentatious than the other party. 

For one thing, spangers ARE a pain in the ass, at that spot.

Lafitt's is like is like a cove where there are little ripples that lick the edge of the sand, as opposed to the 300 block of Bourbon Street, which is like waves with tubes that you can surf through.

By the time tourists get all the way to Lafitt's, which requires them to traverse the last few blocks where a really good hamburger place right across from a really good gay karaoke bar where guys wearing very brief clothing get up on the bar and sing stuff that you may never have heard a dude try to sing before, is followed by a drastic drop-off of neon light, and a few isolated lamp posts light the way past residences that are quiet and have no musicians sitting in front of.

The residents along the blocks leading to Lilly's are very quick to run off musicians. Even the lawyer guy who lives behind the lamp post where I first got started in that block will give a "Do you mind, I'm trying to sleep?" before long.

So the spangers have run out of real estate as far as residences are concerned, and are encroaching upon the last outpost; the bar.

I would guess that there are people at Lafitt's who understand how the whole atmosphere surrounding the bar should be one where people can let their guard down, let loose and enjoy themselves without being skeezed.

Even (myself) a half block down is focused upon his music and tipping him is voluntary because "he probably doesn't even see us."

Lafitt's Tough On Skeezing

The actual unabashed skeezers are immediately set upon by the big bouncer and told to go away. This would include the scrubby guy on the bike, who rides right up to people and asks them to help "a homeless veteran." That is basically his deal. 

Except he is also seen unabashedly digging in the trash can outside Lafitt's, looking for drinks that had landed in it, through the providence of a God Who loves him, upright amidst the other refuse, in between "Can you help a homeless veteran?" -ing people.

So, yeah, spare "a homeless veteran" the disgrace of having to dig in the can; allowing him to walk into the corner store and buy his booze. (Except that he's barred from there).

The ball is in Lilly's court
And, this is just hearsay, but, I did hear a local resident, who was among, and perhaps had been occluded by, a group of tourists, cussing the guy out and casting aspersions upon his claims to be either homeless, a veteran, or both. And the local spoke with a tone of authority that the scrubby guy on the bike visibly cowered under; as if he knew that the guy knew; and he promptly went away; and on to the next living human being.

So, perhaps, if I leak the information to Lilly that spanging is the aim of these two, it will give her ammunition for someone in the bar who is of the "we don't want people begging our customers" mentality to use.

Or, I could arrive at an hour such as 7 PM and be there if and when they arrive. But that would mean clearing my calendar from 6 PM until 2 AM just to be assured of having the spot from 10:30 PM to 2 AM, which is a time frame, that, if I worked it steadily would provide for me "a living."

Spanging For Euros

The guy spanger had mockingly asked me: "How's your house; how's your hot shower?," and I really had to brainstorm for a second to try to decipher what the guy's point was. It seemed to be that they were in dire straits, and more desperate for money than myself, who certainly could have let them have their opportunity to make their living, instead of being greedy.

I revisit this because, I overheard them skeezing a couple of tourists. The guy skeezer was telling them how cool Europe is, and was mentioning some of the amazing places that he has been, describing Russia as being "interesting."

So the guy who has an apartment and clean clothes should back off and let the spanger with the means to trot the globe, have  his fair share of the place?

3 years ago, now...

1 comment:

alex carter said...

Ha! I had a guy ask me for money, saying that by donating to him, I was keeping him from breaking into my fine house in the suburbs etc - I told him my place is a dump, and that anyone making the effort to break in would feel like they'd been ripped off, because it's not even a house but a warehouse with no running water.