Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"The Beginning" or "The Day I Was Really Worried About Looking Like A Drug Addict"

So. Day one.

I decided to get up at 7:00 AM (which is bordering on painful for me) to hit the early commuters. I forwent makeup and presentable clothing, working under the assumption that a hint of desperation might help me in the tip jar (or "tip ukulele case," rather.) Besides, aside from the occasional drag queen, I don't think I've ever seen a subway performer wearing lipstick.

On the train ride into the city, I realized that I had forgotten my metal folding chair that was acquired specifically for busking (I guess I was feeling lazy and/or subconsciously resentful in the wee small hours of the morning), so I had to make an executive decision. I could either stick to my original plan of playing at the 14th Street station - only now I'd have to sit on the ground - or I could go to 2nd Avenue, where there are seats built into the walls. I opted for 2nd Ave. The ground just seems . . . unseemly. Sitting on the ground is for hippies and guitar players and hippie guitar players. The ground is dirty and cold and sad. The ground is not for ukuladies. So. Second Ave it was.

I got to the station a little before eight. As soon as I stepped off of the train, I started re-thinking things. WTF was I doing there? I am smart! College educated! I have a home and am not addicted to drugs! And, even more importantly, I AM NOT A MUSICIAN!! What the hell was I thinking?!

I was on the verge of hurling my things onto the train tracks and yelling, "I don't need your fucking money!" when I remembered, "Oh yeah. I do need your fucking money." So, I took a deep breath, took a seat and took out my ukulele.

As I was tuning Cloris, I started to feel self-conscious. Like, reeeallly self-conscious. I kept telling myself that no one was paying any attention to me, no one cared, no one was watching.

But then I realized someone was watching.

About 20 feet away from me, a tall, thin middle-aged guy rocking a receding mullet was not even trying to hide his interest/amusement in me and C. His manner was as follows: glance, smile, shake head, chuckle to self, repeat. I ignored him as best I could and started on the intro to "Take on Me" by a-ha. I fumbled the chords once. Twice. Three times. Good lord. Sleazeball would not chill with the ogling. I wanted to dirty-look him, but I'm a musical novice and incapable of singing, playing and saying "Go to hell" with my eyes at the same time. So I concentrated on the music. As I was wrapping up the song, Douchie walked toward me. I started mentally preparing comebacks to his come-ons, as well as planning my escape, when he stopped in front of me, dropped five bucks into my case and sauntered away. I sat there, watching him leave and thinking that maybe this wouldn't be so humiliating after all. And that's when I spotted Jason.

Or, at least I think it was Jason. Even now I'm not entirely sure. We only dated for a hot second about three years ago, but I could not bear the thought that this would be the first time we would run into each other post-rebound. The uptown F train was approaching, so I jumped up, grabbed my stuff and split.

Lame, I know. But I have to maintain some level of pride.

I headed uptown, plopped myself on the ground at 14th Street and made roughly 40 bucks in about two hours. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.

But next time I'm wearing makeup. And a disguise.


  1. all i care about here is that you seem to be stealing my material ie take on me.