Denver or Busk

Busking in the States – if one means to travel – is decidedly impossible. Two factors, mainly, conspire towards this effective ban on the troubadour lifestyle: attitudes towards people on the street and prices/distances of travel between cities. Let’s tackle the first one. The United States is BIIIIIG. Like, super big. Like gobble Europe up and squish it in a couple states and lose it in the belly button lint big. Capitalism’s king, duh, so even the close distances are negated by inversely proportional costs of local travel and living. Boston, New York and New Haven are all rather close to each other, and only there did I make back my travel costs. New England’s incredibly expensive, though. Denver’s got a low cost of living but a high cost of getting-to/from.

Now, I’ll come clean and say I knew and expected the stereotypes of American lack of generosity from the get-go, and so that subconscious knowledge may have skewed my performances or the Universe or something a la The Secret. And did I mention it’s been cold? That said, even my low expectations failed to prepare me for the amount of money I’d bleed on the first American leg of the busking journey. Enough that I’m wondering where I’ll find money for the proposed second leg. 51st and Lexington Station’s Larry commented on it, mentioning how his tips had plummeted after May. The blues guitarist in Denver told me my three dollars in half an hour was par for the course. Even Maria’s absurd ex-roommate, the one who claimed to generally earn “About sixty dollars in a few minutes, but I don’t do it much, maybe I’m a good busker, I don’t know I just bring my A-game everytime since I don’t go out much and I’m all excited and right when I start someone likes me and gives me a couple twenties or something and then I’m done for the day, you know the last time I went out in Austin this man gave me a hundred dollars he must have liked my music, but yea, I tried busking downtown here and I got nothing, or else I’d just do that and get the money for rent you know.”

The looks I get in America and the relative dearth of smiles – perhaps it’s also the length of my hair now, or, again, the cold – greatly, greatly outweighs that in Europe. Maybe I had the luxury of not understanding people’s sarcastic and snide and cruel-intentioned comments there but I certainly didn’t mistake their general moods. The States are like Oslo earnings with old Gdansk audiences on the best of days. We’re also missing dollar coins here – I think the fact that two euros (or twenty crowns or fifty crowns or five zloty or two lira) is a single coin really helped, too. My gig was a free affair as well, and it now seems that all of Gainesville’s Open Mics shut down “a while back.” All this to say – Terrence is broke.

Much of this could be expected, what with the stated purpose of this leg of the journey – to get to Maria and make a record. Making a record is always an investment, and Maria’s too poor for me to take meals off of. (She rejoined this assertion with, “Aww, you didn’t have to say that!”) I already feel awkward and strange doing that off the rather employed of my friends. As I’m now away from the music and mixing process, lacking a computer to carry the files with me and the knowledge to know what to do with them anyhow, I’ve but to hope and pray Maria will create a fabulous set of records out of the bits we recorded. Then, perhaps, I can recoup some of the losses. Thanks, Maria.

Boston, MA:

Charlie Card, two swipes: $3.40
Charlie Ticket: $2.00
Bus to New York: $12.50
Water: $1.68

Total: $19.58
Earnings: $33.05
Net: +$13.47

US NET: +$13.47
TOTAL NET: -$101.03

New York, NY:

7-day Metro Card: $27.00
Metro Card: $10.20
Metro North to New Haven $14.00

Total: $51.95
Earnings: $41.54
Net: -$10.31

US NET: +$3.11
TOTAL NET: -$111.34

New Haven, CT:

Train to Chicago: $83.30

Total: $87.10
Earnings: $21.50
Net: -$65.60

US NET: -$62.49
TOTAL NET: -$157.94

Chicago, IL

3-day Chicago Card: $14.00
1-day Chicago Card: $5.75
Strings: $14.99
Train to Denver: $82.45

Total: $117.19
Earnings: $62.76
Net: -$54.43

US NET: -$116.92
TOTAL NET: -$212.37

Denver

10 ticket book: $18.00
2 bus tickets: $4.00
Groceries: $59.08
Thanksgiving contribution: $11.32
Harry Potter 7, Part I ticket: $10.50
U147 Mic Rental: $60.00
Flight to Gainesville: $106.00

Total: $263.90
Earnings: $3.00
Net: -$260.90

US NET: -$371.82
US NET excepting flight home: -$265.82
TOTAL NET: -$473.34
TOTAL NET excepting flight home: -$367.24
TOTAL NET excepting nothing: -$1886.93

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