Going Home Empty Handed
It happens every time. I put out my case and pick up my drum and people walk by me as if I wasn’t even there. I can’t help thinking “this is going to be the time I go home with nothing.” It’s a traitorous thought, always lurking, ready to come out like a bus stop cigarette.
Busking is a hard subject in the School of Life and this is one of the lessons. I’m actually getting good at this one. I remind myself that I’m not really playing for tips, I’m playing to get good at what I do. If I go home with nothing, so be it. I fall into the song, and I keep track of what’s going on around me. Does the spot feel good? Am I getting smiles? Tips? Glares? Are there other spots to be had? Ah, that’s the rub, especially after work. There are a lot of us, after all.
Busking can teach non-attachment if you let it. Really, how can I possibly go home empty handed? The more I play, the better I get. The more I put myself out there the less important the judgments of others on my presence as a busker become. It is becoming easier and easier to acknowledge the smiles, tips, and positive feedback and let the crap roll off my back. Since I’m beginning to know my material cold, I can pay more attention to what’s going on around me and less on remembering lyrics and getting the drumbeats right.
Trip planning continues. The tickets from San Francisco to the UK are bought. I’ll come into London and go straight up to Scotland. London to Inverness by train is under a hundred pounds and the bus to Skye takes three hours. The hostel in Inverness is around the corner from the train station and they say they welcome musicians. I can get from any train station in the UK to Ireland for under forty pounds, so Ireland from Scotland will be cheap. I may have to change train/bus/ferry multiple times, but that’s why I’m packing light. Adventures make you late for dinner, right?