- Sunday Night's Tips Stolen
- Monday Cold To The Bone
|Living on pasta and tea|
The women showed up, at a certain point and did a good job of acting like they were enjoying my music.
They were late 20's and appeared to be reasonably drunk. They were dressed enough like tourists -not wearing enough layers of clothing on the 55 degree night to be able to sleep outside, or so that nobody might steal them from wherever they sleep outside, and they both were wearing makeup, and blended in more with the tourists than the skeezers.
I had only been at it for about 15 minutes and the only tip in my jar was a gold colored coin that I thought was probably a Susan B. Anthony dollar.
The women listened and smiled and danced.
After a certain point, I made a noticeable mistake, whereupon I stopped and said: "Darn, I ran out of talent!"
This is a semi-humorous line that I use in such situations, especially when the reason I had made the mistake is because my interest had sufficiently shifted away from the song that I had started out doing, and I didn't feel like finishing it (the 9 verses of "Tangled Up In Blue, by Bob Dylan comes to mind) or, in other cases, when the people listening hadn't tipped the first song. I'm not usually going full speed into a second song when the first one had ended and no tip was thrown.
So, this was kind of the situation, when I was hesitating, and ready to ask them what kind of music was on their playlist (yes, I'm up with the times) which would have upped the anti as far as, if they had mentioned an artist, and I was able to conjure up her music, or something in the same genre, it then becoming kind of a "request," as opposed to me just playing what I felt like, with a tip being somewhat more expected.
I had gotten to the spot at about 11:20 PM, after having deliberated and sat in my apartment, at the point of yelling out loud: "God, give me the will to go out there!," until I had blown off a ride on the 9:12 PM, trolley, and then the 10:20 PM, and had finally talked the sense into myself, of "If you have definitely made up your mind that you are going out to play, then, why postpone the inevitable? The earlier the better."
But, I have been having trouble lighting a fire under myself this whole month. Ever since having been pretty devastated by the flu, which turned out to have my number this year, and then to have had the weather turn cold, to the point that I hesitated to drag my not-quite-over-the-flu self out there to play in it, and then to have had kind of a depressed mental state encroaching upon me, after the weather had warmed up some, when a pessimistic attitude set in, so that the sight of a single drop of rain would discourage me from going out, and I was loosely interpreting the "too cold to busk" temperature, moving it up to more like 55 degrees, rather than 45, I have been having trouble lighting a fire under myself.
It would seem like an incident like I had Sunday night might totally dissuade me from busking any more, and I might take my friend Bobby, in building C's, advice and hit all the bars and restaurants along "the strip," looking for a job. "It's Mardi Gras, it'll be easy for you to get on somewhere; and then, if they see that you're a good worker, you could wind up with a full time job, year round. Kind of puts going out there to be robbed, or to make 20 bucks the whole night in perspective, doesn't it?"
Bobby added that I could still go out during the day (when it is exponentially safer) and make money on Royal Street (as soon as I have the amplification necessary to compete with the Tanya Huangs of the world, or to join them) "whenever you feel like it, but not if you don't..."
I must admit that Bobby has a certain skill in being able to envision a better life for me. He is a good listener, and most likely added the "when you feel like it," part because he has seen my exasperation when answering the question of: "So, are you going out to play tonight?" -the way I take a deep breath, look out the window and say the equivalent of "I guess so..."
I always want to leave my options open -a slave to the artist's temperament- and be ready to change my mind on the fly, about just about anything -the jazz improvisor mindset- leave the trolley platform after having waited a few minutes, to go right back inside the apartment to work on a drawing, type of thing. So, it's always: "I guess so..."
But Bobby usually asks me this question, usually when it is getting late already, and I might be at his place hoping to grab a bud of his weed to smoke at the Lilly Pad, while I tune up, using the schedule of the trolley as part of a graceful exit strategy. "Well, I'd better get out there if I'm gonna catch the 10:40..."
He will peek through his blinds at the night outside, and answer with something like: "I know you aren't gonna catch me out there tonight!," before padding back to his easy chair in his slippers.
I guess Bobby will not be too surprised when I tell him this story of being robbed by the two women.
Oh, yeah, the story...
One of the women, perhaps sensing that I might have stopped playing expecting a tip before going on, produced a one dollar bill, which she seemed to be making sure I saw. It was tattered, which might have indicated that it was the only single she had, all the rest being hundreds and fifties. Because, if she had truly enjoyed the music, as much as she was making it seem she was, and had any amount of cash on her, why would she tip me with the rattiest, dirtiest bill out of her stack of them?
I had still been holding out hope that they might be the type of drunken tourists who might hand me a great tip and slur something like: "You get yourself something good to eat and take care of yourself!," but the sight of the one dollar bill put a damper on that enthusiasm a bit.
But then, apparently noticing the gold coin, the other one exclaimed: "Wow, people give you Euros, as tips?!?"" and then the two of them crept closer to my basket.
'Wow, is that a 20 Euro coin?!?," asked the same one, and then added: "I don't want to touch your money," as she knelt in front of the basket with a hand poised to touch my money.
"I'll touch his money!" blurted her friend, and then her hand beat mine to the gold coin, which she inspected in her hand, and then saying something like: "Hell yeah, I love Euros," put it in her pocket.
Not quite believing what I had seen, I asked: "Can I have my Euro coin back?," at which point the one who had taken it, seemed to become twice as drunk, and kind of wobbled a bit and fell onto her friends shoulder, after having given me a cross-eyed look. Her friend whisked her away, while saying something to the effect of her friend being drunk and being like that when she drinks -just grabbing anything that catches her fancy and keeping it, type of thing....
"Wow, those are worth about 27 bucks, too," said Larry, one of the bike deliverymen at The Quartermaster, after I had told him the story.
He said he would have gotten up and "kicked her in her cunt."
I had to tell someone the story, probably to expel the pent up aggression from my not having gotten up and kicked her.
They had been banking on the fact that I probably looked like a nice guy whose money they could just help themselves to.
I place the blame on myself. The next time a gold coin goes in my basket, I need to inspect it right away. Had it been a crisp 20 dollar bill that I recognized, it would have been in my pocket before the women even showed up.
It's not like they didn't leave clues as to their agenda. Not having laughed at my "ran out of talent" joke was an incongruity after their demeanor of smiling and laughing at everything else.
The tattered one dollar bill turned out to be the instrument of another red flag appearing.
It was probably originally going to be used as some kind of decoy (or would it be a red herring, I'm not sure which metaphor applies here).
Most people drop money in the basket from a height of at least a foot -so they don't have to do the equivalent of a toe touching calisthenic just to tip a guy; and so as not to make the guy nervous about seeing a hand going all the way into the jar.
This woman squatted down and placed the dilapidated bill (which was now looking like probably the only dollar in their possession -one they might have found in a gutter somewhere- right in the bottom of the basket as if wanting to gently lay it on the couple bills that were what I started with. Her intention was probably to scoop the 2 Mil peso bill from Colombia, that I had also started off with, out of there.
It is only worth $1.25 or so, but looks like it might be of a huge American denomination from a little distance. I guess she was willing to trade the dilapidated dollar for whatever it was.
But, then her friend recognized the Euro coin.
Since she had recognized it in the dimly lit basket, from where she stood a few feet away, while to me, seated 2 feet in front of it; it looked like a Susan B. Anthony dollar, she has apparently seen enough of them to not feel compelled to hold one and inspect it up close. This, I thought of about a quarter second too late, as the second late 20's, slightly overweight, flushed looking pig with too much makeup on, already had the coin in her grubby mitts. But, she was so drunk that, don't mind her, she's just like that...
No, you don't get up and start beating on a woman who looks like a tourist, even if she had just bare-assed stolen from you, apparently with no fear of repercussions.
If the woman walks up to me tomorrow night and hands me the coin, apologizing, and telling me that it wasn't until she found it in her pocket in the morning that she realized her mistake; then disregard this post.
I do believe that the two of them, whatever class of people they might be; have got bigger problems than I do, if they are walking Bourbon Street sniffing for tidbits on the ground, like that.
I can rest in the knowledge that they might not come back around the Lilly Pad for the rest of the carnival season because, I really could have filed a police report on a couple like them. I could have gone to the central bank of video monitors, all 36 of them, and had the guy find at least one clear shot of their sorry asses, print it out, send copies to all the screens in all the cars...
Would they do all that?
According to Colin Mitchell, my 66 year old busking friend, the police take exception to crimes against the street performers and, according to him again: "They'll cuff them and take them in right away."
All I would have to do, if I saw them again anywhere would be to find the nearest cop (an average of 200 yards away anywhere in the Quarter) and point them out. The cops could "do you have the report number on you?" bring their faces up on their screen...
You've just read: 2,079 words
This Just In: Ok, I've looked up "20 Euro" coins, and it appears that the only coins with "20" on them are the cent coins, shown above.
Oops, I guess I should have just let her have the thing, as a keepsake trinket, or maybe I should have looked up the coins before writing a 2,079 word post about my outrage over the incident.
It's Tuesday night, and 52 degrees.
Down To Coffee
I'm at Starbucks, where I haven't been able to buy anyone their coffee off my gift card in exchange for "a lesser amount" of cash. One black lady, who was standing in line in front of me, poking at a phone, of course, totally ignored me when I asked: "Excuse me, are you going to use cash for your coffee?"
"I say, excuse me..."
She turned her body away from me and kept poking at her phone. I was trying to save her money on her coffee. I still haven't gotten used to "Ignore-leans," as I once deemed this place, shortly upon arriving here.
But, it is rude to ignore someone after they have addressed you. She would know this if she wasn't an uncivilized savage. It's understandable to think that everyone who approaches you in this block and say's "excuse me," is trying to skeeze something.
Some people say "no" in a way that say's they would rather not do me the favor, even though it would save them a buck or two on their coffee, let me be an asshole cause I can. But, it's probably because they think the card must be stolen or their must be something sinister going on because it's the corner of Canal and St. Charles streets.
As it stands now, I'll be leaving here and walking home with 12 cents in my pocket, unless I can buy someone their coffee in the next 3 hours and 31 minutes. It doesn't seem like too tall an order. If I was able to get even 5 bucks from someone, I could take the trolley home, grab my stuff and be at the Lilly Pad an hour later.
Fear Of Commitment
I've been invited to Howard Westra's for a Superbowl party this coming Sunday; and doesn't it always seem to be the case that the dollar and a quarter to ride the bus over there starts to elude me, as soon as I say: "Ok, then I'll see you Sunday!!"
I'm very hesitant about committing myself to anything because of this, perhaps irrational, fear. When I'm committing myself to anything, it's like there is a Shakespearean chorus offstage, but I can hear them: "No you won't be there, think Murphy's Law, Daniel, you won't be seeing Howard this Sunday, there will be no party. Some ditzy women are going to come by and clean out your tip basket every night this week. You should know better than to promise to be anywhere at any point in the future..."