tattered, torn, dancing in the street

busking in monterey, cannery row - jon ji

busking in monterey, cannery row - jon ji

As the saying goes, you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. Tattered or torn, it might be the best story. I’ve got to keep reminding myself of this.
This little story proves it.

I had some down time on a little tour, and decided to hit the streets and busk for some gas and lunch money.
I was in Monterey, CA, so I headed on down to Cannery Row on a Sunday morning. Set up right across from the Monterey Canning Co. building. In a little spot across on the sidewalk, right in between a main parking garage and the main drag in Cannery Row.

I set up my little street cube amp, this thing is awesome, and sang with no mic. The reverb in this spot was soooo good. I played a tune and spotted across the street, under some trees, in a little park, the first person to notice what I was doing. It was an old, scraggly, white-bearded homeless man. He starts bobbing his head, then he gets up and starts doing the crazy homeless guy dance. It gave me a little chuckle.

Soon though, he heads into the street, still doing crazy man dance, and heads my way. I thought, “oh no, here comes trouble, if not just a hassle.” I’ve busked before, and sometimes the street people can be a pain, and you really have to keep and eye on your dough, because some will swipe it. All that was in my case at this point though was my “seed” money, you know, the money you toss in there to let people know it’s OK to tip.

Well, he comes up to me and starts talking, at first I couldn’t understand him, but then I realized he was making a request. The Beatles. I love the Beatles, so I said sure. Then, he surprised me, before I even started playing the next tune, his request. He thew a dollar in the case. My heart changed right then. I played Norwegian Wood, then Yesterday, then I’ve Just Seen a Face. He was the first person to put money in my case that day. I thought he was coming to hassle me, to steal my money, and he was my first fan. This guy has nothing and he tipped me. Goes to show.

A good amount of money followed from other people, a wide range of the classes. The most frequently generous being the Mexican families.
I got tipped by other homeless people, too. Two others. I don’t want to generalize too much, but I definitely noticed that those that have the most, seem to want to hold on to it the tightest.

So, the lesson is, as succinctly as I like to put it, so I remember, keep an eye on your stuff, but don’t be a jerk.

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