Friday, January 19, 2018

You Never Know How People Might React To Things Like That...

It looks like I have left myself short of the cash for a trolley ride home again.
I felt like I had been "cooped up" a few days and that I had to get out just so I could have human contact, or something.
But, then I thought of it; there is a computer room at Sacred Heart, and I have plenty of instant coffee; and so I didn't really have to come to Starbucks to do this here post...
I haven't enjoyed the "human contact" at all.
In fact, as soon as I had gotten on the trolley, I started to develop a distaste for this rather large, kind of effeminate black guy who was what I will categorize as a "butterfly."
I have decided to subdivide the races into classes that I can openly hate while not making it a blanket hatred for their whole race.
The butterfly is the guy who sits there with a big smile on his face that tells the world that he is not a threat, I guess.
When the trolley stopped to let people on (who were all white tourist types) the butterfly waved them onto the thing; as if they otherwise never would have figured out how to get on the trolley, which way to go; is it this door, or do I walk over to the other side?
Then, as the tourists sat and did their obligatory "selfies on the trolley," the butterflies grin stretched from ear to ear, as if he was sharing in the fun.
The cynic in me was just waiting for the skeeze to come. Would he mind taking a couple pictures of all of them, since he seems like such a friendly guy.
The guy, as I said, was effeminate and had his fingernails trimmed long like a woman's -just waiting to be painted.
The apparent vicarious pleasure that he was getting from watching the group pose for and take selfies just seemed to re-enforced my stereotype of the gay guy who is all about vanity and image and probably lives by credo of: Live fast, and leave behind a bunch of great selfies.
So, I rode the trolley into the Quarter, steeping in resentment at one of the first people that I had encountered, in my attempt to get out and see some people after being housebound for a few days.
Then, I saw a lot of cold weather skeezers along the sedewalks. How dare they use the air temperature as a device for manipulating people into giving them money: "I usually don't give to the panhandlers, but I felt bad for them, it was freezing out..." type of thing.
"The weather report forecast these kind of temperatures a week ago; you had plenty of time to swing by one of the shelters for a free 'emergency'  blanket or two. Don't just sit there like you've been hit from out of nowhere by this freezing air that caught you totally off guard and now threatens your life," I couldn't help thinking. I could already imagine their stories of people walking up and handing them large sums of money on "that one really cold night last week," and going on to say; "I had me 3 layers of thermals on plus this jacket and plus I had a fifth of whiskey, I was feeling no pain. They must have thought I was about to freeze to death, though..."

So, I sit here at Harrah's. I have about half the amount I would need to ride the trolley home. I might have to just wait until a different driver comes from the one that gave me a free ride about a week ago.

I have decided to get a lot of reading done, since I have been housebound, but have electric light at my disposal, and the means to keep my apartment above 60 degrees, at least, even on the coldest nights.

I read the "American Sniper," book which I had found on one of the bookshelves at Sacred Heart.
After I finished it, I tossed it on the pile of books that I had gotten from that shelf and had read and wanted to return so someone else could read them.
It landed on "The Moon Is Down," by John Steinbeck.
It wasn't until I was grabbing the next book on my list, "Lords Of Discipline," by Pat Conroy that I realized that a lot of stories have been written about war and the military.
I think that goes back to the Illiad and Odyssey...
I also have a book called "If You Want To Write," and another one, by Paul Ferrini, called: "Reflections of The Christ Mind," and I wound up jumping back and forth between the two..

I seem to be on the verge of a period of soul searching and re-evaluation of the kind of music I want to wind up producing.

It is all up in the air now. I haven't played on the street in a couple weeks.
I haven't had cigarettes the whole time, and only one shot of kratom.

My friend, Ben, from Massachusetts has already booked his flight to come down to New Orleans for the week of his birthday, which is February 16th.

He wants me to meet him at the airport, when he arrives at 10:23 PM on the night of February 14th.

I have this nagging fear that some circumstance is going to occur that is going to make it a huge pain in the ass to meet him at the airport that night.

I am very reluctant to commit myself to anything, even when it comes to telling Howard Westra that I will show up at his house to watch the Patriots games, whenever they are to be broadcast.
There is to be one to be shown a couple days from now, on Sunday.
As it stands, I don't even have the dollar and change to take the bus over there.
I know that this is not because of the bad luck that I invited upon myself as soon as I told Howard that I would "definitely try to make it for that game," or whatever. It is because I came down with the flu, in between nights that were too cold to go out and play in, even if I was feeling up to it.

I think it is a product of the wild and unpredictable life that I used to live as a homeless alcoholic busker. I could tell someone that I would definitely see them on a certain night, and then would wind up recalling the words, as I sat in a jail cell somewhere, or would remember my promise after having woken up after sleeping off a drinking binge for 12 hours or something.

I have learned to be very leery of making promises.

Ben actually mailed me photocopies of his ticket stubs, so that I would be able to be at the airport to meet him. "I freak out in crowded places," he said. This increases the pressure on me.

A Good, Clean Room?

At one point, I guess I'll have to put a good cleaning on the apartment. I wouldn't want him to walk in, look around and then say: "Hey, I'm gonna get a hotel room..." You never know what kind of aversions different people might have to certain things. Especially once they are the 57 years of age that Ben will be turning while he is down here, and might be set in their ways.

Last summer, I killed a roach by flattening it against the wall with a rolled up newspaper. It was one of the biggest roaches I've seen since coming here; and so I left it up there on the wall. Kind of the way that kings used to display the disembodied heads of their vanquished enemies atop posts that might line the entranceway into their cities. That's what I was thinking when I left the thing on the wall.

But...

I'm thinking of washing it off the wall before Ben arrives. You never know how people might react to things like that.....

Ben has spent about 15 years of his life behind bars, which is where I met him, when I was his cellmate for one of those years.

He probably thinks that I know cab drivers personally; who will do me the favor of making sure that we are there for Ben, as soon as he steps off the plane into the crowded place.

And he probably thinks that I personally know the doormen who work the strip clubs on Bourbon Street and can set it up so that Ben is shown a great time, complete with beautiful exotic dancers, the best weed and drink and then will take him to the best clubs to hear the best bands, etc.

He doesn't want to risk taking any weed on his flight and so, will be relying upon me to keep what apparently is his chain smoking of weed, unbroken.

Send your friend, what is his name, Ben?; to me. I'll make sure he has a good time in the Quarter.

This is probably the only area that I'm going to be able to help him out with.

I could go to Bilal, the art gallery guy on Royal Street, who has been very supportive of me, and who will say things to me like: "If there's ever anything you need, just come see me at the gallery..."

I might tell him that an old friend of mine is coming to visit who might think that, since I am 55 years old and have been living in NOLA for 7 years, I must be a man of great resources, by now; able to get him into the back rooms and show him all the hidden adventures of the Quarter.

The truth is, that I'm more like the employee who works at a certain place, but can't afford to shop there. I take my break from waiting tables at the 5 star restaurant, to eat my bagged lunch in the break room, type of thing.

As soon as I might start making serious money (like if I ever partner with Tanya Huang) then the people will come around with the cars and the whores and the drugs.

At least Ben already has his flight booked to go home, so it won't turn into a Travis Blaine type situation....

Unless he becomes determined to get a job and stay here....

In that case, I might let him stay longer. He can't be half as cheap as Travis Blaine, and can probably throw me a shot of kratom money every now and then while he's here.

That's one adventure I can take the guy on: The Uxi Duxi, combined with the cemetery tour across the street!

"Hey, I just talked to Bobby and he was telling me that the front desk people are lazy and really sloppy book-keepers and they probably have no idea how long I've been here...I can probably stay in your place till the end of the month, and they'll be none the wiser! That will stretch the little bit of money that I gave you for food out, so that it will amount to about $2.50 a day for staying here and talking non-stop about myself....
This has just been a great day for me, I have to tell you; I'm pretty happy right now!!"
But, Ben will only be here for a week, because he already has a flight booked to return after that, and so it won't turn into another Travis Blaine situation...

Why do I feel like I am going to screw up meeting him at the airport, for some reason.

It's because I'm afraid that bad things that have happened in the past are going to happen again. It's the accumulation of a decade of irresponsible drunkenness and being let down and letting other people down, that's all.

One day before Ben is to arrive, I will check my door for an eviction notice. Old habits die slowly...

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Flu

  • 10 Days Without Cigarette
  • Is This Your Final Recovery?

I so much had the desire to start a juice fast which would turn into a water only fast, back on about January 3rd, that I actually did so.
All Better?



Could it have been the November Winds I had been feeling? Did I sense that I had been exposed to the flu virus in this particular 2018 strain, and did my intuition tell me that, should I immediately embark upon a juice/water fast, so I could flush the thing out of my system, bolstering my immune system and giving the virus an environment unfavorable to its proliferation, in the process.
Here it is, 12 days later, and I finally feel like I am over the thing.
Right Now

There were "false" recoveries along the way. I had even gone out to busk a few days ago, feeling as though I might have recovered enough to do so. That was the night that had me feeling so weak  by the time I had walked 9 blocks to the trolley after being rained out, that I had begged the driver to let me ride home for free.
Skeezing Etiquette 101
It is less of a skeeze to ask the trolley driver for a free ride home when you are broke than it is to ask a random stranger for the dollar and 25 cents "for the trolley," to get money to give the driver.
The reasons may be obvious, but they are:
First, you remove one level of credibility, in that it is obvious to the driver what you are trying to skeeze; whereas the random tourist is not sure what you are going to do with the dollar, and could feel like they are possibly being decieved.
Second, the driver of the trolley is probably not (as was the case here) a random stranger to you, if you are a regular rider of the thing and it isn't his first night on the job.
Third, it isn't costing the driver anything out of his pocket to let you ride on the thing; whereas the random tourist is out a dollar and 25 cents...

10 Days Without Cigarette

I suppose if anything is going to live on in history from this particular epoch in my life, then why not the fact that I have voluntarily given up cigarettes for a 10 day period -the first such success in not smoking due to sheer will power, probably since 2014. That time, I had done what turned out to be an 18 day water fast, I believe it was. I was living under the Natchez steamboats wharf at the time, and the black capped night heron had just arrived, so that would make it about July...

I had wanted to do an "abstinence from everything" type of water only fast this time, which is kind of the whole point of a water "only" fast.

It was the flu that had thrown a monkey wrench into things.

The question arose of whether or not this was the best time for a water fast, when the body might "need" things like chicken soup to fight off the virus.

And it was the fact that I had unwittingly bought a bunch of pain relief stuff at the dollar store that had a hefty dose of caffeine as its "pain reducer aid" ingredient, which rendered mute the point of whether or not I should try to give up coffee as well as cigarettes; and maybe migrate towards becoming an herbal tea drinker in the long run...one who doesn't smoke cigarettes.

I had made that ill-advised decision to eat a ham and cheese po-boy sandwich, and then went on to develop a fever, in which delusional state, I began to see the ham and cheese sandwich as being inside myself, constipating me so as to trap the pocket of flu virus where it could live off of ham and cheese and prosper.
As soon as I was able, I walked to the Family Dollar store, where I bought a quart of prune juice, thanking God that I had at least enough money on my food stamp card to do so.

I drank most of it and then waited for the glorious expulsion of the ham and cheese po-boy from my bowels. I pictured it coming out of me black, and maybe even with a skull and cross bones of the skull of  a small rat perhaps.

My fever was probably around 102. There were reports of people dying from the flu.

I usually don't get what "everyone else" gets, due to my unusual diet. But I had eaten a ham and cheese po-boy, for Pete's sake. It had been sitting atop a trash can on a frigid night, making it seem even more probable that it might still be good.

I may have been slated to come down with the flu anyways that evening, but it was easy for me, as I lay there and my temperature rose, to blame it on the po-boy. "I'll bet someone was cleaning out their car and found the thing under a seat, where it had been for weeks, reaching temperatures close to 100 degrees along the way..."

Bobby, my weed guy had been stellar, in that he too had chosen the new year as a time of fasting and cleansing and was living off of things like watermelon, and other melons in the morning, and then was having low fat meals of chicken in the evenings. He had suggested "chicken soup," as a remedy for my flu, but had also given me some chicken. He also gave me some melon, the benefits of which were palpable.

Still, the flu went and then came back, more than once during the past 12 days that I have had it.

This is a situation where, had I been homeless, I just would have lain in my sleeping back, maybe after having hung around the CVS waiting for someone to come along and buy some flu remedy type of stuff, that I could have asked them to sell me a few of out of.

It would have been the valley of the shadow of death, to be sure. Laying in a sleeping bag under a wharf and suffering.  Knowing that I was going to have to wash all the sweat out of the sleeping bag and all my clothes, as soon as I felt up to the task, just to get that flu smell out of it all -but not before having gone out and busked for money to put in the laundry machines...

It could have been depressing. Or maybe not. Maybe it is more depressing sitting around worrying about such things befalling oneself than it is to have them happen. Maybe the latter is a rallying cry and the only way for the tough to get going...

MLK Day

It is 49 degrees on the Monday night. It has been Martin Luther King day, and thus some people have had the day off. I can't recall if this is a good busking holiday...

I have just had my first shot of kratom in about the same 10 days as the cigarette abstinence has been going on. This doesn't leave much still on the list of things to give up.

Bobby gave me about 4 dollars earlier in the day. He understands that I have not been making any money at all the past couple weeks.

Blackstar.

Another thing that can mess with you when you have a 103 degree fever scrambling your thoughts is, well, here is a good example.

David Bowie recently passed away and left behind a couple of works, one of which being the album "Blackstar."

My friend Bobby has put an amplifier on lay away for me at the Guitar Center.

He kind of wants to see me get back on my feet and go out and make a bit of money that I could contribute towards the electric guitar and amp, so that he wouldn't be just giving me the stuff, 100%; kind of like The Lord, in that he want's to help those who help themselves.

But, the fact that one of the amps that he on the verge of buying for me is a "Blackstar" brand and that he (Bobby) bears such a resemblance to the last recreation of himself affected by David Bowie (inset) is just more fodder for the delirious mind of a flu sufferer, one who has always lived with one foot in the astral plane and the other on a banana peel.

Watching the Bowie documentary on Bobby's huge TV with him sitting right there a spitting image of the guy; smoking some of his medicinal grade marijuana and then letting the symbolism do its thing, made for an interesting experience. To say that "Blackstar," by David Bowie is stuck in my head right now would be pretty accurate.
Anything is better than the 5 different radio stations playing at the same time of my fevered state of a few days ago, though....



Saturday, January 13, 2018

Beat Back Inside

It was Thursday night, the 11th of January and I was at Starbucks, preparing to go out and busk.
This was the first day that I had felt normal enough to go out and play.

Still, it was about my 6th day on a diet of only fruit juice and water.
Now, coffee was going to join that equation.

I got to the Lilly Pad and set up and then it began to rain moderately as soon as I started playing.
I took cover on Lilly's stoop.
It rained long and hard enough that, even after it stopped coming out of the sky, it continued to run off of roofs and through gutters and kept landing on the ground and splashing the nearby area as it did.
I wound up knocking off, without having made anything, and especially after starting to feel tired.
This was from a combination of having juice fasted all week and the flu, which seems to recede in waves, and can surge back towards the end of a long day with some aching in the muscles or a chill up and down the spine.
I asked the trolley driver if I could get a free ride home.
I was standing there on Canal Street, with the rain once again coming down rather hard: "Hey, I don't have any money; I had the flu last week and before that, it was too cold to play; I'm just trying to get home..."
"Get on."

Not Much Else To Report

One Week Without Cigarette