The Strange Things Inside Of My Head

Well that was quite some dream. One of those dreams that when you wake up from it, you just kind of go “huh?” and leave it at that, not even bothering to look into an interpretation.
It began with Amy and I getting ready for Day of the Dead in my apartment (which was BIG!), getting dressed, putting on makeup, getting all done up. Johnny Depp stopped by out of the blue, and seeing an opportunity, I asked him to help me cover some areas of my face in white, simply so I could say that Johnny Friggin’ Depp once helped me with my makeup and add that to the list of memories I had for the reason of “just because”.
He left shortly after, and I was having a serious problem with my makeup. I kept changing it, but instead of taking it off and starting over I just put more makeup on top of the old. This worked until the top layer started peeling off like a layer of paint warmed and softened on a sweltering Southern day. Some unknown friends came over to give us a ride, and only then I realized that it was 11pm. Fuck it. Let’s go.
Act II (Completely Unrelated)
My makeup for *something* was going on well this time, but still undone. I looked like a half-done clown that had been in a pillow fight – I just needed to straighten the lines. Cut to random officer knocking on my door, saying I had tested positive for Class Six Narcotics. (Was I on probation? Huh? What the hell are Class Six Narcotics?) Anyway, after a “what the hell do you MEAN, I tested positive?” Pointless argument, I ended up going with them knowing that it would be cleared up – but brought my makeup bag and just for good measure, my Roller Blades.
I ended up in Summer Camp Jail, with ping pong, open co-ed rooms, and two air hockey tables that were being used for one game, the two players hitting the puck and making it jump from table to table. I saw all of this as I was skating around looking like some bizarre half undone klown. Oh – and of course I was wearing my bathing suit, because that made perfect sense somewhere inside the subconscious depths of my dreamland mind.
I was called into the office, skated around the multitude of joined rooms until I found it, and sat down at the desk of the plainclothes officer who took me in. There was another uniformed officer there, who said that my test results were most likely a mistake and they would get it cleared up as soon as possible.
And then it got strange. The plainclothes guy (who was actually quite nice) took me and another person I apparently knew (?) out, and we all climbed into a van and headed out.
We took beautiful roads that were unfamiliar to me, lined with autumn trees in some places, along the crest of tall mountains in others with breathtaking views that stretched for miles. Then, we started to descend, and on the left I saw what looked like the La Jolla Cove. In front of us looked like Shores Beach, and gods, what an epic day it was! Waves beautifully formed with nine foot faces, surfers dancing on them. “We’re going SURFING!” I thought… but as the van approached the shore, closer and closer, it was speeding up on this road that was only ours.
Then appeared something that looked like a Hot-Wheels ramp which ended just before the sand. We were going fast then, much to fast to stop in time, so I figured out what was coming. I was nervous, yet at the same time excited to see what would happen.
We flew off of the ramp in the van, well over the waves and the surfers and beyond the break, and then – there was a landing ramp. We touched down on it as if on a cloud, barely jostled, and kept going.
Now this road turned to the left, and we climbed a hill, again with extraordinary views. We drove for a bit more, climbing, when off to the right side I saw a Water Park. The van stopped, we all got out Somehow my skates had disappeared) and as it turns out, we were at the top of the tallest water slide. Just drove straight up to it, like we owned the place – and then went down. I stopped about half way to help a girl on another slide that was stuck, or afraid, or… something. I forgot.
Then Ruby woke me up to go outside.

I still want to figure out a way to record dreams. Oh, the strange things we would see inside of our twisted heads…

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Street Solidarity & the sweetness of Sugar

Of all days to not bring my camera…

Saturday – it was another hot, humid day in New Orleans. I got down to Jackson Square about 3:30, then checked to see if the prime pitch was open, directly across Decatur Street from Cafe’ du Monde, and the prime tourist location for busking in The Quarter. I’ve always done well statuing there.
The pitch was being used, but the guy using it told me he had to split at 4 – so I waited, and when it was time, set up, got up on my box, and began the work day.
It was the usual crowd, tourists, families, groups of girls and boys, drunken fools who can’t seem to think of anything else to say except the typical “I’ll bet you he’d move if I grabbed his box/grabbed his crotch/tickled him – har har har…”
It’s an incredibly peaceful job at times, but also one that you need to be on guard pretty much all the time. I recently described statuing to a friend as “much more of a discipline than a talent”. It’s a strange combination of ignoring everything, but at the same time being accutely aware of everything that’s going on around me. It’s the people that make it so rewarding – the children whose faces completely light up in amazement as I offer them a wink and subtle smile as their parents look away, as if letting them in on a secret that’s just for us; it’s the older people who walk by and quietly give me beautiful compliments, even – and perhaps the most appreciated, the occasional gutter punk who digs deep in his/her unwashed pocket to give me what change they can offer. I will never cease to be amazed and humbled by that…
But it’s also the *other* people that sometimes I can’t help but slowly look down at, raise a dissaproving eyebrow, and solemly, silently, shake my head in pity. Fortunately, this frequently seems to get approval from their friends.
Most commonly I have found it to be, predictably, the people with drinks in hand, drunk and wandering around, who can’t help but fuck with the statue a bit – but they’re usually harmless, and after the initial foolishness switch over to words of appreciation, then they’re off to the next bar.
That’s always nice – both the switch, and the leaving.
The worst I have encountered, however, are the packs of whatever-teen year olds. Some of these kids just mess around harmlessly, saying silly things, searching for the approval of their friends, having fun – but only a couple of weeks ago I came the closest I have ever been to putting my cane to use before looking at the two most offending of this pack of about 15 and saying “Little boy, little girl – get the fuck away from me, now.” They had been standing there for about twenty minutes, and as much as I have dealt with doing this, as much as I can tolerate – or “stand for”, (pun intended) as the case may be, at that point I was pushed to my limit. Thankfully, they left shortly after.

That’s why this past Saturday, as I saw a pack of about eight or nine girls making their way directly towards me from Cafe’ du Monde, I was a bit aprehensive. When I heard one of the two in front say “Okay – you ready?” to the girl next to her as she was looking at me, I thought to myself “Oh, shit, this is it…” wondering how I could react, somehow, with grace to whatever they were about to do to me, or how I could prevent it altogether. I wasn’t coming up with anything. I had no idea what they had planned. I had no choice but to wait and see, as jumping off the box and asking them just what the *FUCK* they thought they were about to do just didn’t seem too graceful or appropriate just yet…

What happened next was truly amazing.
For those that don’t know, Cafe du Monde sells a french style pastry called a bignet (bin-yay)- a rectangular donut type thing with no hole – and completely covered in powdered sugar. Completely. More powdered sugar than you could ever have a use for in a simple order of three bignets, and inevitably there will be mountains of it left on the plate, long after the bignets are gone.

When the two leading girls were about two and a half feet away – just at the very edge of the box people put money in for me, their hands simultaneously came up – and as I tried to asses just what the hell was going on, saw the powdered sugar streaming from them – and then, they did something I couldn’t have imagined – they smeared the powdered sugar all over their faces. First the two, then the rest of them, coming to stand beside me, making their faces as white as possible with the powdered sugar, and doing quite a good job of it.

In a glorious way, I had been beaten. I could not have felt more honored.

I laughed – laughed well, stepped down off my box and bowed deeply to them all, then handed one of the first two my cane, and set my hat on her head as I helped her get up on my box for the pictures.

Once the pictures had been taken, one of them asked me if they had made my day. “My DAY?” I said. “You have made my day, my week, my month, my year. This is hands down, the best experience I have ever had statuing – and thank you.”

For some reason, that seemed to suprise her – but then a huge smile of peaceful satisfaction for a job so *very* well done crossed her face, she giggled, I talked to the rest of them a bit and offered my thanks, and then, doing their best to wipe the powdered sugar off of their faces, they were off to their next adventure.

I stepped back up onto my box with a huge smile – then just a few seconds later, stepped back down and started to pack up.

It was getting slow and late, and besides – it couldn’t get any better than that.

I smiled for hours afterwords, and it’s a smile that I will carry inside for a long, long time. As the daily fools come by with their lack of imagination, with their rediculous words and comments, I will think of them, those wonderful little girls, and I just may occasionally look down at one of these people…
and subtly smile.