Monday, January 24, 2011

Foot traffic in Tampa = non existent

I get off work and I have that itch, the one that I use to have so frequently and the means to scratch it. So I peddle home as fast as I can, eat some grubs, and get all the things ready I'll need tomorrow. Set my alarm for an obscenely early time and drift off to sleep underneath that starry night. When the beeping begins I hop up out of my bed and jump into the shower. I have this small window available to me. mama bear usually drives to work and passes the greater Downtown Tampa sprawling metropolis of hugeness and I hope to catch a ride.

She takes my little sister to school, comes back, starts cooking dinner for the house many hours in advance, and soon enough were piling into the car. Chatting about this, that, family, and what matters to me most. I get dropped off in front of the St. Petetimes forum and exhale. My first instinct is to go check out channel side, see if I can get some info on if any boats are coming in today. As the day would have it, I happen to cross paths with a beautiful feline, and she's opening up her shop for the day. We exchange pleasantries, I spend some savy on mine, and her complection goes rosey. A pep in my step, I have no idea how this day will turn out, but I'm so glad to be out of the house.

For the most part on my days off from work, I do a lot of homebody activities...
& way more sleep then I've ever known

Sure, the above list sounds like a dream come true, to you, and maybe others you know. To me, it's a stale jail sentence, and I know I've imposed it on myself for a reason. Still though, it's great to be out and about with the rest of the world. I walk all of what is known as channelside in a manner of minutes. I decide to stumble into the cute girls store and ask the million dollar question.
"Do you know where might be the best place to catch some foot traffic today?"
I get laughed at in the kindest way possible and hipped to the sad fact that there is none to be found in channel side.
"You have to come by when there are boats."
I'm told that I could make a killing if I came through when the tourist were out n about stretching their legs.

I feel a slim stab of defeat sinking in, I look at my massive speaker, and get to using my new dress sneakers. I begin walking to downtown Tampa, following my gut, attempting to spot some place that might have some foot traffic. It's hard for me to really describe downtown Tampa, but I'll do my best...


Yeah, that about sums it up...haha! I head towards the "art district (block)" and see this massive building. It's the Childrens Museum and I'm struck with a great idea. I'll just set up in front of it, well, off to the side, but where everyone has to walk by. I'll lay down my bucket and get to work. With all the various kiddies and mom's I'm sure to make some loot. WRONG!!! I'm there for an hour and I believe I count 8 people that walk by. When they go to shoot another zombie apocolypse movie, I nominate Tampa for the on site location, but still at least I'm out of the house.

I decide to go with what worked previously...I post up next to a CVS and quickly get some attention from a sub specialist.
"what are you doing?"
"ummm getting ready to dance, try to make some money so I can come in and have you make me a delicious sandwhich...ya'll got tuna and spinnach?"
"What like poplocking?"
"Uhhh yeah some poplocking but mostly liquids"
*Confused look but cheezy smile, with a crisp turn back to her subway*

I'm getting into a rhytm when the strangest of characters comes creeping up from creeps ville. He asks...
"how long have you been dancing"
"20 minutes"
"yeah, bout 10 years for me, mostly clubs and such."
He then proceeds to watch me from various angles, somtimes behind me, off to the side, and occasionally joining the homeless dudes that have set up shop on some near by benches. Through out the few hours I spend on this corner he comes and goes. Everytime he leaves he tells me where he is going and when he'll be back. It's hard to creep me out, truly, I'm the sort of guy who sniffs strangers, but this dude really wore me out quickly.

In between those moments of contempt though a beautiful day crept through. I pored through a lot of classic tracks and smiled at the passer byers. It's 70 degrees out and I begin to start sweating after a couple tracks. A quick strip tease for some passing peoples and I'm kicking it in the middle of the winter in my T-shirt. I do miss the snow, the cold, but not on days like this :D

Lunch time rolls round and there are people walking about. By no means would I call this foot traffic but at least I'm starting to see a variety of faces. I'm kiddy corner to the main police head quarters, so a lot of those faces, have badges, and guns but seem to not mind my presense. Across the street there is a hot dog vendor who has been laughing and waving at me through out the past hour. He finally comes up close, watches for a few seconds, and stuffs some folded into my bucket. Then like old psychic friends we both go for a high five at the same time...SLAP! He heads back to his post and I decide to switch over to some funk.

I'm bumping "Hollywood swinging" thinking bout how great it would be to get a soul train line going on the street. Then from out of no where I lock eyes with this scraggly bum, he's singing along, and I realize I am too. As he passes by a low five is exchanged, and something jive slips left around the block. I seriously enjoy seeing peoples expressions, the good, the bad, the speculative, and every contourting in between (sorry no spell check on the puter Im using :( ). However one of the risks you run, banging in beats on a corner, can come with the occasional "serving" from a random stranger. Today, was going so good, I was totally in the clear, but BAM! from out of no where. This dirty red head hobo hits me with a six pack of freshness and has all these crazy grunts to go along with it. I'm dazed, my witts leak out from my anus (I'm naturally a smart ass) and flow to the nearest gutter. He's won! He knows it! and says...
"That's right!"
As him and his posse of crazy bums find another person to put in their place. I've made it a new point in life to just let it be. If a person smells like they've been huffing pledge you probably should just always let them win and be happy they don't stay to lecture you on the 2nd coming of Christ.

Glad to be out, grateful for the few dollars that have found their way into my bucket but the true treat comes strutting across the street. Thick black & white framed glasses, a classy strutt, cute business skirt, and carrying a copy of "kafka @ the beach". Eyes meet and she passes me a smile. We talk for a minute, two tops, and I enjoy our quick exchange. She has a simple warmth about her, is sweet, and seems to enjoy our playful dialog. All to fast though she's turning heads elsewhere and I'm happy to have had my neck snapped. Couple finger wiggles here, a dash of levers there, rail, rail, contour...AIR POSE! My bucket gets a big heavier and I watch this extremely confused man walk right into the door of the CVS as he takes in the sidewalk spectacle.

.......From returns!

This time telling me about how "we" should go to channel side. How "I" could hop in his van and he could take me there. And how "he" has some taffy in his pocket if I'd like to take it. O.k. the last one is a lie but what the hell else was he jingling in those slacks? I decline the ride in the rape van, pack up my things and start to head far the fuck away from him. I decide to walk back to where my day began, thinking, the stores are open now, and maybe there would be foot traffic. As I walk along with my dolly and PA system I make break core tracks. This cobble stone is weird and weaves along the path in various ways. so you can ride a line and get the...
Dit dit dit dit
and then switch over and itch to a groove that is like
So I make music for only me and before I know it I'm back where I started.

And it's still dead...So I decide to get some eats. There were many opitions, I thought about Bennigans, but ultimately I needed to be reminded of my simple mind. So I sit on 1-11-11 (the power of five through one) sucking down a greenish looking carbonated syrup drink. Orange shorts slap past me & I get caught up on what could have been. Not dwelling but playing that ole what if game for a short while. I don't come to Hooters for the girls, or the orange shorts, or the 9 dollar grill cheese sandwhich. I come to remind myself of how clumsy and carefree one person can continually be with a four letter word. My waitress is only a few bad weeks away from moving to a "Tilted Kilt" or some other similar establishment and we do little talking. I eat my sammich, watch some sportscenter, and get back out to boogey.

She comes out...from the store...the girl from this morning and as she passes she giggles without cunning. Quickly she flips out a smart phone and starts filming me wave. Not at her keep in mind but all over the empty sidewalks. I ask for a date, she says she doesn't know me, and I explain thats what dates are all about. Shot down! However, she does it with grace, style, and at this point in my life I'm definitely use to it. It's all about the chase anyways right? Like, when you do get it, your not sure what to do anymore, or however the joker said it.

So all n all I made like 18 bucks but got out a lot of pent up aggression. I decide to spend the rest of the day exploring the mean streets of Tampa. This takes all of an hour and a half. I'm left walking to my step mothers job bumping chunes out my sweet baby and dreaming of Chicago public transportation. My new surroundings are strange to me but I'm an oppurtunist and will make the best of what I've been given.

Till next time...

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