Day 16 – tunnels

How’s it going?

Friday night I set out to powell st only to find all the spots were taken.  One by my good friend An Swer.  He was doing his thing and rocking it mightily.  I stuck around and played a bass line on one of his songs.  Then I got his number since we’ll definitely be playing together a bit.

After hanging out with An Swer a bit, I set out for the Civic Center bart station.  It’s about a three block walk.  I always find it funny when I see people get on the bartrain at civic center only to get off at powell or vice verse.  Its not that far people!  You can walk.

Anyway I hoofed it over to civic center; a typically weird and desolate place for buskers.  For example, there is this one guy who hangs out by the escalator “playing” his red violin.  When I say playing – I mean squeaking.  But he really gets into it.  He’ll manically squeak that thing all day long, and bang his head to every beat.  I’m not quite sure if I can call it music.  But its definitely art.  On second thought – it roundly applies to the generic definition of music:  “organized sound.”  His sound is quite organized.  If not pretty frickin crazy.

Then at one of the other spots, there was a little black haired hottie knealing by a sign that said “People At Work.”  She wore a headband with leopard cat ears and a nicely striped tail as she was reading a book.  I wish I would have asked her what she was reading, but my first impulse was not to disturb her work…

I walked down a long, dark tunnel with fluorescent lights.  Aside from the buzzing of the lights the acoustics sounded pretty good.  So I took out my guitar.  Two bartcops walked by as I was putting on my goofy hat (someday I’ll try to get a picture of it).  As they passed me the lady cop said to the dude cop, “Baloney.”  Its true, that hat is total baloney – but it was given to me by my good friend from my internship:  Dominic, so I wear it with pride.

As I started playing, however, I began to feel incredibly self-conscious about my playing.  I knew that if the hat seemed like baloney to the cops, my playing better not sound like baloney.  So I began to put a lot of pressure on myself to play.  I first whipped through my arrangement of Wade In The Water.  It sounded pretty good if I don’t say so myself.  I become a little more confident with my Gospel chops every time I play.

The tunnel that I was playing in was very slow.  I’m pretty sure there weren’t more than thirty people that walked by.  So I’m thankful that I was able to get a good 20% participation of those passersby.  Made a couple dollars and a few handfulls of change.

At one point a nice looking boomer with a buzz cut of white hair strolled his bike past.  I smiled and said, “How’s it going?”

“It could always be better,”  he replied.

“I hear that.”

He looked at my guitar and looked at my hat and looked at my guitar case and said, “I’m Tom – who are you?”

Hooray for friendliness!  We talked for awhile and he told me that he used to play harmonica in some blues bands in the south when he was young.  I told him that I had a G harmonica in my bag if he wanted to jam a little.  He agreed – but we had a tough time getting in tune with each other.

Oh well, maybe next time.

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