Fisherman’s Wharf

On Saturday morning I woke up early and drove up the winding hills of Sausalito to get the Spencer Avenue Park & Ride right off of the highway.  When I got there I gathered my things for the day and went to the bus stop to catch a ride down into San Francisco.  I was set to play at a place called Coffee Adventures from 11-1 in the afternoon, and after forty minutes at the bus stop by the highway, I began to think I wasn’t gonna make it.  So I called the venue and talked to the owner, and he said that business was really slow, and I probably wouldn’t make much from tips anyway, so no worries either way.  Nonetheless, it was written in blue on my calendar, so I was determined to get there.  I made it there at around 11:30, and the owner was right, there wasn’t a single customer in the shop.  He said I could set up in the shop facing the open door, or on the patio out front if I wanted to try and bring customers in.  It was a little chilly out, but I decided to play outside anyway, and I was given a hot Chai Latte to help keep me warm.  I pulled out my tip jar and set it on the table, but within a couple minutes the owner came out with another tip jar that dwarfed mine, so I used the big jar instead.  I played for about an hour and a half and made four or five dollars in tips from the handful of people that passed me on the street.  Afterwards, I had another Chai Latte and a good conversation with the owner while my computer charged, and then I headed down to Fisherman’s Wharf to try my luck busking in San Francisco.  It worked out pretty well actually, and I was able to find a good spread along the water, in front of a closed storefront.  I opened the case and played for a while, and after forty minutes or so I got approached by a plainclothes officer who pulled out his badge and told me I couldn’t play there.  He said I had to move either two blocks to the left or six blocks to the right.  Then he just walked on though; the whole interaction took about twenty seconds.  I wasn’t sure if he was for real, if he was just messing with me, if he was even an officer at all, or if he’d be coming back down the street anyway.  So as I was contemplating whether or not to move, the owner of the shop came up and opened the garage door behind me.  He had a middle-aged couple with him, and he was showing the empty retail space to them to see if they’d like to rent it.  He smiled at me as he walked up, and said, “oh, music here today.”  I asked him if he was the owner, and he said yes, and then I asked him if it was alright if I stayed there to play some music.  He said he didn’t mind, so after they left I went back to playing, figuring if that same “cop” came back, I could tell him I now had the permission of the owner to play there.  I didn’t see the guy again anyway, and I played for another two hours before taking a late lunch break and coming back for two more hours in the evening.  By the end of the day, my voice was getting hoarse, but I had accrued more than sixty bucks in tips, and had I any CDs to sell, I probably would have broken a hundred.  As it happened, I had sold my last CD on Tuesday at the El Rio show, and I still needed to burn some more and put them together.  I had one empty case on display in the guitar case and I had a whole bunch of people ask me about buying a CD, so I gave out a handful of business cards instead, and told them if they send me an email, I’ll send them some music for free.  It started to rain around six in the evening, and an hour later the foot traffic had died down significantly, so I decided to pack up my stuff and call it a night.  I didn’t know where to catch the right bus, so I stopped at a Starbucks to look up some directions, and while I was in there it began to pour outside.  When I walked back outside, my feet were soaked within seconds.  I had worn my old shoes because they’re comfortable, and although I have a newer set of shoes that I bought in Chicago, I still have yet to really break them in.  I wore sandals all summer long.  Anyway, the only problem with my older shoes is that they have holes in the bottom, which you only notice when its wet out, but on Saturday night I was downright drenched.  I made “squish squish” sounds for more than a mile as I trekked to a bus stop that would take me back across the bridge to the van.  I found the bus stop, but the schedule said that the bus that I needed only came by once an hour, and I had just missed it.  So I stopped at the KFC across the street, got some food and had a conversation with another guy who was carrying a guitar.  We just talked about music for a while, and then I went back out the bus stop so I wouldn’t miss the next one.  It was still pouring, and there was a beautiful girl standing at the bus stop, drenched to the bone.  I walked up with the guitar and realized that I could either stand there in awkward silence or start up a conversation.  I felt much better talking to her, and we talked about all sorts of stuff while we waited for the bus, and then when it arrived we jumped on and joined the dark rows of passengers.  I was only going across the bridge, so I got off at one of the very first stops and then walked back to the van.  I was soaked, so I decided to start up the engine and blast the heat for a couple minutes while I got into some dry clothes.  It worked like a charm, and my feet were warm again in no time.  I slept pretty solidly, and then on Sunday I spent most of my time at Starbucks, resting my voice and doing some research.  It was another rainy day, so I figured I was much better off being inside, and Starbucks has some pretty comfortable chairs.  There is some good weather coming this week, so I’ll head back down in the city when its nice out again..


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