お Thursday evening, it is.
I took last night off from playing and am kind of disappointed by how little I got accomplished by staying in.
I left, at one point to go out to busk, with my gear on my back.
It was a bit past 11 PM, and I had just missed a trolley, the tail lights of which I could see down by Broad Avenue and receding.
I was out of cigarettes, but ready to try to spend a night without smoking any. I was still in a cleaning mood.
"A Good Night To Do Laundry"
So, I decided to go into the Holy Grounds Pub, and get a couple bucks worth of quarters, and then return to the apartment, where I would throw my laundry in a washer, after I had thrown a cake in the oven to bake, and then would work on music.
I got a dirty look from the guy who was behind the bar, who turned away from me and walked to the other end as soon as I had walked in. I waited for him to notice me and ask me what I wanted.
There is another bartender who works there, who probably would have refused to let me take more than a couple steps into the place before yelling something at me like: "Outta here, buddy...you're not allowed in here!" He lumps me in with the rest of the residents of Sacred Heart Apartments.
He guards the ashtrays outside the entrance with a baseball bat, threatening anyone who might be reaching a hand into one, as if the discarded butts were still the property of the establishment.
"There Goes The Neighborhood"
There is a sentiment, held by him and others in the neighborhood, that the neighborhood has "gone downhill," since Sacred Heart Apartments opened its doors to house the disabled veterans, and the chronically homeless, about 4 years ago, now.
"This used to be a nice mellow place to hang out; now you've got guy's walking up and begging the patrons for money and cigarettes as they sit at the outdoor tables trying to enjoy themselves," said one of them.
So, there is that bartender whom I've seen there on Monday and Tuesday nights, who will come outside brandishing a baseball bat and yelling "out of there!" and telling anyone who might have picked the ashtray: "Put them back!" under threat of violence.
This is so that tobacco can be disposed of, rather than be enjoyed by anyone who picks ashtrays.
The guy's motivation is purely to deprive someone else of something that has been discarded.
The guy who was working there last night, I didn't recognize.
He did eventually give me change of a couple bucks, but then stared dumbly at me as I made small talk about it being "a good night to do laundry," and didn't seem to think it amusing when I showed him the bizarre Mardi Gras type shirt that I had on under my sweatshirt, and said: "When this is my only clean shirt; I know it's time to do laundry!" More dumb staring.
The guy with the baseball bat is exhibiting behavior that I have been seeing over the past 10 years. He is the typical "guy who has a job, but who is still living at the poverty level" who might feel some pride over the fact that he works and earns his keep, and think that everybody else could and should do the same, and who doesn't think it fair at all that an unemployed "chronically homeless" guy should even be able to taste American Spirit tobacco by merely picking it up out of an ashtray for free while he -the guy with the bat- has to bust his ass 40 hours a week in order to be able to do so.
He hasn't been able to make the distinction between myself, on my way out to work, my tools on my back; and the rest of "them" at Sacred Heart Apartments who are inveterate beggars.
It reminds me of the business owner In Saint Augustine, Florida, who had the one man band guy barred by the police from playing in the street by his business, which was going under. Before he went out of business, he got the "satisfaction" of depriving the one man band of his living, too. Misery enjoys company.
The one man band was making a couple hundred bucks a day in front of the store that was foundering, and I guess that just burned the business owner up. Never mind the fact that it was a store that sold handmade wooden toys, and that the one man band was like a magnet for children and probably caused more of them to notice the nice wooden toys than would if he wasn't there.
"Put 'em back!!"
Back at the apartment, I put on a Dave Matthews Band song, called "# 41" and by the end of it, was playing the right chords along with it.
This led me to spend about a half hour messing with various ways of doing that.
After I played through on a rhythm guitar and then did another lead guitar track and then did a bass line which I dropped down an octave using the pitch change effect, what I had was just a half-assed version of #41, missing most of the lyrics, not good enough to go on my CD, and having been only a learning experience. 3 hours to learn one song...
It is one from Tanya Huang's repertoire, though, so there is some consolation in the fact that I could potentially jam for 5 minutes longer with her, for having learned the thing.