|There is an exhibition game going on at Tiger Stadium; admission is free...|
I once had a "friend" who, along with a partner,
ripped me off for everything I owned, except the cereal that they didn't like (Grapenuts) and my computer desk (bulky and weighed about 200 pounds).
Looking for a "silver lining" in the situation, I came up with the fact that one of his philosophies, which he passed along to me was: "Everything is replaceable."
What he meant by that, and what resonates even more strongly in present-day America is:
If you up and leave Baton Rouge, for example, and have misgivings about moving away from the excellent library at the college and the store right down the street and the free bus lines, and the places to busk at night where there are drunk college kids, and the people that you meet and become friends with, well, don't sweat it.
You can go somewhere else that has an excellent library at the college and a store right down the street, maybe a free bus line, etc. and within 6 months, you will have attracted new friends that remind you so much of the ones that you left behind that you will talk to them the same way and they will respond the same way and you will find yourself saying things like "You would love "Joe" in Baton Rouge; you two would hit it off right away; you guys are just so alike, he's even a Deadhead!"
There would be "a Burger King right across the street from a Wendy's" (or reasonable facsimile) and the food would taste just like in Baton Rouge...everything is replaceable.
That tidbit of wisdom, (in exchange for all my possessions) was about all I took away from "befriending" that guy. I have yet to replace him with another friend who will steal all my stuff, but I believe that they are out there...
Another thing I learned from him is how to recognize him when I see him -the guy would take his cigarettes with him when he went to use the bathroom in my apartment when we were the only two there...
"I'm not going to steal your cigarettes, John, I've got my own pack!"
"I know, it's just...I have issues with trusting people..."
That was a huge red flag that, at the time, I was too blind to see...
My point is that I am determined to move on, before I (or especially Howard) get too "comfortable" here.
Last night, armed with only the 5 dollars that the lady had given me in the parking lot of the Circle K that morning, I went out at sundown to busk somewhere.
I wound up sitting with Howard and getting tanked up a bit on Milwaukee's Best Ice beer, spending the 5 dollars in the process.
(Howard has started to drink beer pretty regularly now. Before, I had only seen him drink once, in all the time I have known him. He claims that a 24 oz. can of Miller High Life a day helps to keep him "regular.")
I then sat at a spot nearby where Leroy, the local busker, has purportedly been seen playing, and started my case out with a few coins, one of which was a Mardi Gras coin, big and shiny.
About an hour of playing produced only 3 dollars (from one guy) and I took a break, spent one of the dollars on another beer, and went to the sleeping spot, where I lied down. It was about 9 p.m.I felt like I was going to drift off to sleep, but then weighed the odds of my being able to wake up after a short nap, induced by beer, and be in the frame of mind to go back and busk some more. I didn't like those odds. I also thought about being on the on-ramp of Rt. 10 the next (this) morning, disgusted and with 2 dollars in change on me, trying to go cross country...
I forced myself up and went back and sat even closer to the spot where Leroy purportedly plays.
One guy threw me two bucks, and then a young guy, who said he was from Fort Wayne, Indiana came and sat next to me and told me that he could sing, and that he could especially sing Tom Petty songs.
I did a Tom Petty song which starts with the line "She grew up in an Indiana town..." and the guy from Indiana sang it and then put a bunch of ones in my case.
I Hear Leroy
I stopped playing and could swear that I heard an acoustic guitar being played nearby.
Sure enough, there was an older black gentleman playing guitar about 50 feet down the sidewalk from me.
I approached him and tried to introduce myself. "Hey, man, I didn't even know you were here; I wouldn't have played right over there if I had known..."
He was a bit smug so, I just wished him luck and started to walk away.
I had a notion and turned back to him and asked "Hey, do you want to jam on a tune?"
"No!," he said. "I don't jam with no one, I'm the star of this show!" Then he went on to imply that he had some kind of political clout which allowed him to busk there, as if it were some great privilege, as is the whole community has embraced him as their local musician and has elevated him to the stature of "busker in front of The Chimes Bar," and that I was being pretentious to think that I had a snowballs chance in hell of jamming along with him.
A girl standing nearby said "Leroy rocks!" as if to punctuate what he was saying, even though I'm sure she couldn't hear what it was.
Leroy had what looked like about 10 one dollar bills in his case, and sounded a bit drunk as he played 50's R&B songs. Someone put a buck in his case and said something complementary, to which Leroy replied "That was from the heart; from the heart, man!"
I decided to retract the courtesy of not playing 50 feet from him, and returned to the spot 50 feet from him, where the guy from Fort Wayne was still sitting.
"That guy kind of had an attitude with me"
"F*** him," said the guy from Indiana. "You sound better than him, I want to hear you play some more"
I played some more, and soon matched the 10 dollars in Leroys case.
Then the guy from Indiana said "You're the coolest dude that I've met so far down here" and gave me 20 bucks, which had "leaving town money" written all over it.
I went to sleep, planning upon getting out there today, off Rt. 10 with a sign that says "Texas," and busking by the side of the road alongside it.
I understand that a guy from Fort Wayne doesn't come along every night and hand you 20 bucks. Without that, I would have netted only about 12 dollars.
This morning, I discovered that one of the notes on my harmonica (drawing the "6" hole) does not sound. I had thought that there was something missing on certain songs, but since I play by ear at this point, I didn't pinpoint the problem until this morning.
I unscrewed the outermost screws, but couldn't undo the inside ones, using my only tool, a pocket knife. I'm not sure what I would have done had I gotten it open. I was half expecting to find a breadcrumb jammed under the reed or something.
I will have to play tonight (if I do) without the benefit of that one note. My other harp won't fit on the neck harness thing, as it appears to not be designed to.
I might stay one more night, since it will be a Saturday night, and push my luck a bit with Leroy and his political power.I don't know if he will start trouble if he thinks that I am going to make a habit of playing opposite him. I did tell him last night that I was just passing through town, and even threw a dollar in his case, since I had made about 32 of them.