My host Sylvia needed to leave the house at eight in the morning, so I followed her out so she might lock up. With two hours to kill before Claudia would come and pick me up, I decided to try that rare morning busk – mostly to practice the new covers I’d learnt. Mornings are a nice time to busk but generally so laughably unlucrative that the only reason to go out for them would be for practice or exposure. I’m having fun again busking so I didn’t particularly care – besides I figured I might do alright playing the evening at a barbecue Claudia would bring me to.
Just like the previous day, one of my first passersby made the entire pitch worth it. He stopped after passing me at the end of the bridge, watching with his cute doggie, smiling kindly and openly. I asked if he’d like to make a request – he apologized for having no money on him (people walking dogs or running or biking gnerally don’t, so whatever), and then was further shocked by the professionalism and breadth of my repertoire list. We struck up a nice longish conversation, clicking right away. I couldn’t quite place his accent. He demurred from making a request, saying that I was doing just perfect without it, so I continued to play Collide as he headed off.
Shortly thereafter I received a smiling “acknowledge that I’m tipping you” kind of tip from a man with a toonie. That’s the kind where he slows as he approaches, reaches into his pocket, deliberately selects a toonie, holds it between us at eye level, looks at the coin, then meets my eyes, smiles, and then flicks or drops it in with a slight nod. Aside from that I went tipless except for an instance almost at the end of my pitch. In between verses of Scarborough Fair, a woman and her teenage girl stopped and turned around to tip me, ever so shy and silent with a few silver coins. Simultaneously a hippie or homeless woman (isn’t it so funny how hard it is to tell which?) flicked me a single dime with – this will sound impossible – a passionless sneer. It’s more like the normal expression on her face was a sneer for so many years that it’s fixed that way.
Joggers all thumbs upped or smiled or shouted out encouraging remarks as they passed. Bikers looked very bemused. When I packed up for the walk back I passed a man who called out if I wanted a quick guitar lesson. Sure, why not? I thought. The man seemed surprised I knew non standard chords (I just played the opening chords for my Forever and a Day) but continued in a slightly belittling “lesson” where he showed me three new chords – two movable – which it seemed came from a song he knew or wrote. The threatening rain clouds finally decided to let loose at that point so I quickly retrieved my guitar and packed up – but he pestered me with a conflicting story. First he asked for four dollars for a bus ticket – when a bus ticket costs 2.50 – and when I explained I’d earned a total of two dollars ish from my busking down the path, he protested and tried to proffer me a bus pass he said was worth nine dollars and didn’t need anymore, in exchange for two dollars. Sad for that nice random interaction to morph from a kind exchange of knowledge to an attempt to guilt me out of money.
Claudia took me to her audition for a role for a woman ten years older – she looked far too young, but I had a great laugh with her throughout. We popped into an oh-so-Vancouver Cafe – green floral graphic design, name of “Organic Lives”, six dollar microscopic slices of brownie, etc. – to see if they might need live music, but alas, they did not.
After some lazing about we headed to her friend Ellen’s barbecue – an event I’d helped purchase the food for what with their complete and adorable helplessness in grocery stores. That trip was highlighted by Ellen’s question of how to pick meat, and a giggle filled search for hamburger buns. I helped cook/grill/light the barbecue as the only male at the barbecue for four hours (though I certainly didn’t have the shortest hair). Oh and everyone was Asian. With that latter information I knew going into it I likely wouldn’t sell a single CD, but I figured I might at least feel appreciated.
I helped out staying near the grill and hardly sat down for most of the night, but by the time we moved indoors (and were joined by another male! and a white girl!) I inexplicably had an itch to perform. Probably the unsatisfied busking urge for the day, as Claudia and I’d stayed indoors and I’d not had a chance for an afternoon busk. So I played a few songs for her in the living room while Ellen, enthusiastic and kind, brought the others in to listen and chat. Mostly they just chatted. I’ve hardly ever felt more inconsequential. I didn’t realize before how much I like being in the spotlight. I revel in that. I need to feel special, I guess, to be noticed and appreciated and validated by clapping and smiles and “You’re so good!”s. A few requests were made, but with no enthusiasm and everyone talking blithely over me I stopped after just a few songs. Sort of lay on the carpet and felt stupid at myself for being so needy. On the busride back I felt rather insignificant, dismissed, depressed. And annoyed that I felt that way.
Earnings: 2.95 CAD, 1 hour
Song of the Day: Scarborough Fair – Simon & Garfunkel