I (K)New, Haven(‘t) You Guessed?

Haha. Another long hiatus. I can’t seem to stay focused for the end of this blog. If it is to end, that is. Even my journal lies mostly untouched for weeks. From a torrent to a sad trickle – is that the fate of all things?

The preface to my journal entry on my busking session in New Havens runs: “I jabber a bit too incessantly. Humility, t!” In my own defense (from myself) I think my overeager chatter resulted from hours of sad waiting. You see I notified all my New Haven friends I’d be setting up for an “office hour” under the awning of the British Art Center in the late afternoon a two and a half hour timeslot that seemed to agree with everyone’s schedule. Unfortunately no one showed up until the two hour mark, when I’d basically given up on them.

I’m clearly getting ahead of myself. Two full hours ahead. After a beautiful chance encounter with Nedelman getting on the subway in the morning, a nice lunch and nearly missed career meeting I braved an uncommonly hot day (though of late heat hasn’t really bothered me in the slightest – maybe I need to get muscles back before it will) to set up in that lovely acoustic gem of a spot. And was promptly moved by the security guards such that I’d face the building, and not stand below the awning – cutting out a lot of the natural amplification (at least so far as I could hear – which made it harder to stay in tune or hear how loud I was singing…). In the end I mucked up my voice pretty well for my gig the next day. More on that when I get to that post, of course. Though humid, the heat managed to keep my throat dry. Or something did. I had to take a couple of breaks in the next door Starbucks to avail myself of their honey sachets and free water.

Just like my last time playing here, the passersby generally payed kind attention to me, though perhaps because of lethargy inducing heat rather than ohmygod cold and windy energy, most strolled slowly by with a slow smile rather than a quick tip. Gotta go with the vibe. Throughout the first pitch two architecture grad students wandered around the entrance measuring various features with their body parts. We had a nice chat a bit later, but I don’t think they really liked (or disliked) my music. I forgot to bring seed money, so my first tip was that much more significant. An African man with a French accent tossed in a mix of larger coins and a single bill, stuck around by a pillar, requested Hotel California and continually encouraged me for a lot of songs, some my own, until his friend dropped by to fetch him. Explo kids – privileged high schoolers on a summer program on campus – generally had absolutely no idea what to do with me. The Asian kids especially seemed extremely curious. I saw them peripherally many times over over a half hour span. In the end the white girls of the group ended up shyly tipping while the rest passed on with that still looking at me but “chatting” with each other demeanor. Not long before my first break, a young couple sat down at the other end of the piloti raised area to listen for quite a while, smilingly and with some clapping. Eventually they requested There There. I sang it with aplomb, but it’s demand on my range meant the rest of the day should have been… well a rest of a day, but determined to stick it out as I was in the hopes of friends dropping by, I trudged on.

Both times I played a shy black woman gave me a thumbs up and a broad smile. I think my favourite experience, however, was hearing another person’s tune. A rather overweight couple stopped at the light to the left and the man burst into happy impromptu song about having found a parking spot. Aside from the silly happiness they embodied, I also derived a bit of pleasure from the fact that these large people in an appropriately large van delighted in finding a closer spot from which to procure ice cream. Can’t be burning those calories after all. Winter is coming. Ne?

Actually I began my second pitch not as a pitch but by leaning against the central pillar and practicing my original songs quietly for the gig. And writing. I didn’t even bother opening my guitar case. Until Eric showed up! I played him quite a few requests and then what do you know, along came Chika with some art friends. Naturally I prodded at Chika to sing along, finally successful with my best new addition to my repertoire, Collide. I tried to hastily get a run through of my duet together with her, but we didn’t quite have time for her to learn lyrics and melody. But next time!

Earnings: $16.56, 2 hours ish
Song of the Day: There There – Radiohead

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