The first character to march into my Chaucerian Parade was a ten year old boy, John.
Can I play your banjo? asks John as he hands me five dollars’ worth of coin.
Of course, I reply, but you don’t need to pay me.
My dad said to give you this, he said.
I wrap my banjitar around John and provide him with my thumb and finger picks. He plunked for a couple minutes.
I have to go, he said, our taxi is here.
I walk over to the taxi with John and offer the coins back to his father.
No way, replies the father, I wanted him to get a chance to play the banjo and he did!
Next, joining the parade is an employee of EXTRA FOODS who stops to chat.
May I take your picture? He asks.
And can I get your phone number? He asks. Would you play your banjo at birthday parties for just five minutes or so. I think that would add joy to anyone’s birthday, he says.
For sure, I reply.
And then my Chaucerian parade ended with the ambuscade of the DRAGON LADY!
Here is the conversation.
You need to leave, she stated.
You need to leave! You’re not welcome here!
I’ve permission to be here, I reply, unaware of the identity of this virulent young lady.
I’m the assistant manager. You do not have permission to be here. You need to leave.
I’ve permission from Randy, the manager, and from his regional manager.
That’s not true. I would know. Leave now.
Ma’am, I’ve been busking here at least fifty times over this past year, with permission.
Well, I am the assistant manager today and I’m telling you to leave the property.
Being a buskologist, I’m thinking there’s a song from The Band here:
I packed up my bags, went lookin’ for a place to hide,
Looked back and saw the dragon and the devil standin’ side by side.
Demeaning, denigrative, malevolent, virulent (used once already in this essay), caustic, acrid. These are a few words that sprang to my woolgathering mind as I was being evicted from the EXTRA FOODS parking lot on BROADWAY AVENUE by such a jaundiced management groundling, who autocratically determined my expulsion on a power whim.
Upon reflection, I’m thinking as an assistant manager, she had at last found a bully pulpit on which to expound her power, unwittingly providing an enervating buskapade on which to write about (not that she will ever read it). And if perchance, DRAGON LADY, you are reading this, I am always the hero in my blog entries; but more importantly for you, please, please heed these simple heuristics as you claw your way to the top in your grocery bag future and no doubt many to come pickle wars: Be nice to people, Any negative behaviors you exhibit will only succeed in begriming your employer, and Not all people are not LIARS!
Upon more reflection, I am thinking that she is a textbook display of Projective Psychology (calling me a liar, that is) and this is but a madcap moment, an imagined display of power whilst prioritizing her duties, viewing the underlings from her first rung of the corporate ladder. I do hope, for the sake of those still scrubbing the public relations decks beneath her (for example, Corey, Mohammed, Alfie, and my favorite philosophical security guy from Windsor, Ontario), this does not represent her every day mordant manner in the workplace.
(Readers, can you detect that I’m still angry, and have you have noticed my use of UPPERCASE LETTERS!)
I shall allow myself some introspection.
Methinks, All’s well that ends well. I shall stroll over to Extra Foods this next week and meet with the amicable manager, Randy, and trust that all my permits shall be resolved. Methinks, too, this is just another reminder of how those disenfranchised victims who have been stricken with a mental illness, are dealt with in every public moment of every miserable day by the majority of the general public who truly believe, just like that DRAGON LADY believed, that all are canaille and cadges, and ought to be denigrated with authority.
Unlike the middle class faux busker that I am, who can resolve such a social issue efficiently and expediently, there are for real, wandering sidewalk souls who are forced to beg on the streets, with nary more than a collective whispering voice, feebly appealing to the apathetic urban wilderness of the unaware, who don't care and are ill informed.
(Alas, not all members of the buskerhood are as fortunate or articulate as I. Alas, not all members of the buskerhood are such middle class misadventurers as I. My singular voice is quite like my steel-stringed banjitar; whereas, their collective voice is quite like my little nylon-stringed guitar.)
While ingloriously exiting the parking lot, I walked a hundred feet over to say hello and good-bye to my longtime friend, Dylan of the buskerhood (who showed up in my last blog). Dylan was strumming in front of the BROADWAY LIQUOR STORE.
Dylan and the SECURITY GUARD were there as they should be … chatting, laughing, and sharing a smoke break.
[Meanwhile back at the busk ... Just two days after this post, Randy, the EXTRA FOODS manager assures me that I'm back in the saddle. All's well that ends well ... especially when packing a banjitar!]