Busking (v): The practice of performing in public places for money.
It’s quite an experience to have your very last dollar in your hand.
The last time I had this experience, I shrugged my guitar off of my shoulder, opened my case, and started playing for passerby. Some people take a year off college to backpack around Europe; I lived as a street musician for a year along the highways of the United States. I was a hitchhiker, a vagabond, and I was searching for my new home.
Portland is the city I liked the best, and I set down my roots here ten years ago.
It was with no small amount of irony that I went back out onto the streets last night, this time with an entirely different act. I took my three flaming torches, a mask, and a hat. I went out to dazzle the drunkards who smoked in front of bars, since you can’t smoke inside them anymore in Portland. When people have had a few drinks, they are easier to engage and looser with their money.
My act was simple:
This is my hat, should you care to employ it.
For the next few minutes, and I hope you enjoy it,.
You’ll see me performing a trick or two
In the hopes of earning a dollar from you.
Now who has…a light?
After offering the unlit torch, someone would eagerly go for their flame, to watch it grow, and multiply, and spin through the air aloft on my dexterous hands. While juggling, I would elicit my plea for their generosity.
I made a few bucks every time I did this. I hit group after group, bar after bar for three hours.
I made fifty six bucks.
No, this isn’t my accustomed rate of pay. But it felt good to get out into my natural environment, the streets and the crowds, and work my pitch again and again to earn some money. At the end of the night I counted my tips with satisfaction, knowing that whatever else may be going on in the job market, however far behind on my bills I may be, that with a little sweat and ingenuity, I can always use my unique talents to earn some money.
That gives me confidence. It gives me strength. And through keeping these emotions front and center, I know I will manifest my dream job shortly.