Follonica Flow

Brent and I greeted the morning by hugging a lot. Then we emerged from our tent on the beach under the wooden hut and drew stuffed animals in the sand. I would post photographs of said occurrences, but that would require access to a computer with an SD card reader or a USB port, but in addition to being bereft of home internet, Europe also seems to be populated only by computers sporting floppy drives.

At any rate we managed to make it halfway to Follonica by catching a ride with the second car that appeared after we stuck out our thumbs. A great opportunity to practice speaking Italian with the German tourists in the car. Because Germans. Auto stop went very poorly after that. Also, I had to pee. It seems that Italians (and Germans because Germans) come in two varieties. Extraordinarily nice or extraordinarily mean. As our friend Cesare explained to us, Italy would be amazing if not for all the Italians. Anywho, we waited about two hours, across the street from a fruit stand that wouldn’t let me use the bathroom. I needed to pee. Peeeeee. Waiting went something like this.

Mercedes Benz
Audi going at antisocial speeds
Some kind of convertible
Rich Germans in some other kind of expensive car but I don’t know car brands so yea
Italians driving a produce truck pointing to communicate something we didn’t understand. Audi
Shiny car
Jumping up and down because I had to pee.

We even had Eli and Zebra hitchhiking for us to no avail. Eventually a bus wandered by and happily it was flag down able.

I forgot to mention why we came to Follonica (and thus Grosseto) in the first place. The mother of my violin student in Bangkok once told me her favourite restaurant in the world happens to be in Italy. So we ate there. It was pretty tasty. Polpo and Risotto Nero and Pesce Carpone con verdure.

Now to the theoretical purpose of this blog post. I decided to busk while Brent internetted in the cafe during breaklunch the following day. I laid out my violin case a pace ahead of me, making sure to stay a bit clear of the dog poo to the left, while remaining under the awning that likely drew the dog there in the first place. Violins don’t like sun. I started with two one euro coins for seed money. I’ve been starting each pitch with small amounts this way. Mostly so I don’t have to subtract a lot to figure out how much I earned. Likely not the most scientific approach. As I rosined my bow, a man told his son to watch! He’s preparing the violin! And I knew a lovely pitch would ensue.

I am, of course, clairvoyant. The abundance of children tilted public perception highly in my favour. Once again my rationale for beginning a career I children’s music evinced sanity. I began with some Irish reels and noticed a fellow dancing in the cafe down the street. Almost all my tips came from families. A mother smiling at her chldren’s enraptured expressions and pressing a coin into each of their hands then encourage them to come up shyly and drop said coins. They might miss the case, grin embarrased, and replace them intently with the focus that only children have. Or a family huddling around their stroller a few paces in front of me, discussing how many coins to give me. A little frightened boy with a kind father encouraging gently but insistently. Couples walking past and choosing coins in my always worn glasses non existent peripheral vision before doubling back with smiles.

A little girl in a black dress
A man with a salt and pepper beard and a bright orange shirt holding his hand to his heart with a little bow.
A couple dawdling across the way by the forest green shop front.

The Poland experiment unfortunately proved true once again- despite killing the Gm improvisation to such an extent that even Brent said he liked it, I received no tips for it and almost all my tips for Ue Wo Muite Arukou and my fledgling, nervous, slightly squeaky erhu set. I notice how introverted I become when playing violin, as opposed to my extroversion with guitar. Interesting how each instrument has its own character.

Earnings: 12,20€, 50 minutes

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