Copping out in Copenhagen (København), Day 2

Today (7.26.10) I determined that it must be something in Jacob and Katja’s flat which was aggravating my throat. I’d noticed I began to feel better when I left and started hacking up my lungs after a few hours back – last night I woke myself up coughing around four and needed to inhale two cups of honey tea and use my inhaler to return to sleep. After talking briefly with Jacob and Katja I decided it must be the climbing chalk – they store most their climbing equipment in that room and my mattress was very low to the ground, just low enough to be in the zone where the chalk circulated to the light circulation from the open windows.

I had absolutely no voice, but at this point I was truly hurting for money. It was a gorgeous day so I took Charles’ suggestion and headed to the metro station by Amager Strand (beach). On the ride over I noticed, for some reason, a young lady standing by the other door and stared curiously at her. She’d looked up at the same instant and after a few long seconds of eye contact came over. What a fortuitous meeting! She guessed I came (at least indirectly) from Hong Kong and queried me how things were there. She’d visited in 1996, just before the handover and told me the people were very much in her prayers. Hearing me tell her things were mostly the same (so far as I could tell) sent her beaming. I told her it was sure to last until 2046, and at that she was again happy. “I think the Lord Jesus will return before then” she confided happily. I listened to her reasons – snippets in Revelation that aligned with our digitizing times – and by the time she stepped off at Christianshavn I was inwardly praising God for this beautiful encounter. Just the right length, just the right give and take. Greg told me angel simply means “messenger.” I thought at that moment perhaps we were both angels to each other.

There’s a little pedestrian tunnel at Amager Strand, sort of a bottleneck for beachgoers from the metro, and I established myself solidly in the middle. I hoped the natural acoustics would make up for my lack of volume, and they mostly did, but the pitch was a large failure. Most the passersby ignored me or gave me suspicious looks. By the end my already low energy (from being sick) was at a dangerous level.

As a consolation, the beach itself was lovely. It’s a funny strip of land that boasts three parallel beaches thanks to a sheltered inlet teeming with kayakers and children. Teenagers, twenty-somethings, and middle-agers populated the actual seashore. I practiced some songs, threw some rocks about, dug a pit. After an hour of tossing stones I finally hit the small, jutting, rose-colored stone a few meters before me with a polished black basalt one and decided to metro it north.

I ran into a busker on the steps of the Christianshavn Metro. He bade me sit down and listen, and I plucked my D for him to tune off of. He was horrid. Every few seconds he’d retune his guitar – at random, it seemed to me – and he just played a few simple licks while grinning at me, as if it was impressive. He’d deposited himself such that he took up half the steps and cyclists had to shoulder their bikes to pass him. I realized soon why. He got his tips not from appreciation but from hustling – as one young man passed him by on the way down he held out an open palm. The young man replied he’d already given him all his change and spent the rest of his money on weed, but the busker lit up at this and demanded the weed. The young man parted with a spliff. I took this distraction as an opportunity to leave and walked up to Strøget.

I hate Strøget (pronounced rather like “stroll”, amusingly). It’s far too busy for my tastes and I despise the obviously rich passersby who stare down their noses at me accusatorily, like they’re saying, “Get a real job.” But as I direly needed some cash flow flowing in I headed that way anyways. Some buskers leaving Amagertorv recommended I play by the church, where I remembered the John Mayer look-a-like played two months ago. The hawker there had me check with a band lounging by the church and they graciously gave me an hour, assuring me that if I sang poorly they’d come down and kick my ass.

Tips were slow and the people as haughty as always but the day was saved by an audience. A trio of Italians and a pair of Danish girls took the two benches facing me after not so long – they noticed me when I sang Libertà, probably as the chorus sports a few lines in Italian. I wish I’d been at my best, just for their sake, but after forty minutes my voice was truly done. I sang Hey Ya and Relax, Take it Easy especially for them and then I asked for requests as I’d lost my repertoire list some days back at Islands Brygge. Thankfully I knew them: Let it Be and Tears in Heaven. Again Japanese tourists passed fortuitously during Ue Wo Muite Arukou, but again no tips. Luckily the composition of the passersby was equal parts positive youngsters to haughty rich tourists but unluckily for my wallet the former are considerably poorer than the latter and rarely had the means to give. One truck driver, however, did toss me a kroner.

Earnings: 60 DKK, 1.15 hours
Song of the Day: Libertà – Pep’s

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