Monthly Archives: June 2012

a slave to meteorologists

lily did not go to waterfire tonight.

i was up early this morning. the first thing i did, still bleary-eyed, was check the weather forecast. small chance of showers in the evening. okay, i’ll keep an eye on it and if it doesn’t get any worse then i’ll go and pray that i don’t get rained on. getting rained on is a serious problem with paradise makeup. the second it gets wet, it’s done.

i check the forecast obsessively. being a street performer and an equestrienne who rides in an open field, obsessively checking the forecast is something i’m very used to doing. weather.com starts frustrating me, chances of showers moving up in percentages, then the next update says it’ll be nice and sunny, then they throw some thunderstorms right in the middle of my usual 5:00-10:00 timeframe. okay, clearly they don’t know what they’re talking about, they can’t make up their minds. i pry myself away from the computer and do some bellydance drills, hoping a little exercise will take my mind off the weather. it doesn’t work. soon enough i am glued to my desk, again, and i begin check noaa.gov obsessively. but they start giving me an increasing chance of showers, too.

living an hour away from providence and needing about an hour to get into makeup/costume means i have to start getting ready at 3:00 if i’m going to start performing around 5:00. it is now 2:00. i have to make a decision soon. continue the frenzy of refreshing the pages and hoping, hoping, hoping for better weather. 3:00, and the forecast says 55% chance of scattered thundershowers at 7:00, 65% chance of thunderstorms at 8:00. 7:00-9:00 is prime busking time for me. i make my decision. i won’t go to waterfire.

at first, it all seemed to work out okay. almost immediately upon opting out of waterfire thunderstorms, i received a text, two longtime friends who i rarely see are in the area and want to hang out. awesome! but as the evening goes on, i discover that the rain passed through providence and finished by the time my friends arrived at my apartment, and the forecast was suddenly beautiful again. the night was clear. waterfire was busy.

and now i’m pissed off. i wanted to busk. this time of year, i’m so excited to perform. i also needed the income. money’s going to be very tight for the next week because i chose to take the meteorologists seriously and stay home. fucking fuck motherfucker. it’s a stressful thing sometimes, being a busker, not living conveniently close to my busking territory, being so dependent on a science that’s really just a crapshoot.


how time flies

busy busy busy. wyatt and i moved to a new apartment at the end of march, and my to-do list has been about ten miles long ever since. i didn’t even order a desperately needed batch of business cards until this week, in addition to new gloves [i can only attack a pair of gloves with a bleach pen so many times before i have to give up] and a new wig [lily’s getting a slightly longer and much whiter hairdo]. doesn’t help that i’m working a LOT more than i usually do at the barn, taking up more of my productive hours and leaving me drained at the end of the day. [did i ever mention that i work with horses? training polo ponies is exhausting.] i can’t believe the first waterfire of the season was two weeks ago and i’m just getting around to blogging. the only reason i’m even getting this written today because thunderstorms have brought me an unexpected day off. i’ll ignore the fact that i went out busking in plymouth weeks ago and never even mentioned it. i don’t have time to get into that.

memorial day weekend waterfire. i was nervous about the forecast, thundershowers creeping in and out. normally, if there’s any chance of getting rained on, i’ll stay home. but i was determined to get out and busk. my new bathroom was a little problematic for makeup application. the light above the mirror doesn’t work. thankfully, wyatt and i have accumulated a few clamp lamps over the years for the pets we’ve had and i was able to rig something up. i’ve also figured out a totally foolproof method of getting 100% solid non-streaky opaque coverage with paradise and starblend. it’s about time, i suppose, considering how long i’ve been playing with this makeup. so, i paint myself white and get into full costume. check the forecast, looks okay. drive to providence, sky looks a little grey, but it’s dry. park, walk to pitch… get to the risd auditorium and it starts raining. lightly, but any rain is bad news when your face is covered in paradise makeup and you don’t have an umbrella. i took shelter under the gazebo and waited it out. thankfully, the showers passed quickly, and the rest of the evening was clear.

i didn’t intend to do a five hour shift. it just sort of happened. time flies when you’re standing still. i was surprisingly steady for the beginning of busking season. part of it is that i’m in better shape than usual, part of it is that i’ve stopped doing difficult poses when traffic is slow. the crowd was good, mostly. i got my dog fix. i was visited by bill, john with his son and granddaughter, andrew with his usual $2 bill tip for me, and the lovely waterfire crew guy i talked to before i began whose name i don’t remember. i’m pretty good with faces, terrible with names. i was most amused by bill and his companion, encouraging kids to put a dollar in my tip jar to see what happens. thank you, sir. i think you are personally responsible for at least 5% of my tips.

there were pests, as always. first was the middle aged leathery woman who went to grab my hand. i grabbed hers instead, which she found amusing. i flipped her off. the woman with her – sister? – pointed out that i flipped her off because she wasn’t supposed to grab me and she was ignorant for doing so. thanks for standing up for me, lady, but too little too late with the lecture. then there was the guy who, uh, shoved his bald sweaty head into my hand. i guess he wanted me to lean on him for a picture? i don’t even know. he was gross and rude and i shoved him away. there were a few folks who needed to be shoved off my ledge. no creepers, the ones who sit on the ledge next to me not noticing my line of white tape. but there were a few who tried jumping up next to me for photos. i’m pretty good at spotting them before they get a foot up, which allows me to simply put my hand on their shoulder and brace my arm to stop them. but sometimes they jump up before i even see them. i have no reservations about promptly pushing them back to the sidewalk. if i can’t easily lift you up myself, you have no business being up there with me.

the youngsters weren’t much better. the teenage boy who wanted to know my name, but knew he couldn’t ask me, so he just started shouting random girl names from the back of the crowd to see if i’d respond to any of them. my only response was to shush him. and the younger children, the 4-8 range. the little girl who kept poking at my leg, and thought it was hilarious when i stomped my foot at her, with her parents watching silently. the boy who was crowding me, poking me, saying stupid shit. i don’t even remember most of what he did. but i remember that it warranted stepping down to get in his face about it. i’m grateful that this method of communication is, for the most part, extremely effective. saves me from so much bullshit.

but then there were the children who quietly came up to for a photo op. i’d extend my hand and they’d cautiously reach out and let me gently stroke their little fingers. or i’d playfully poke their faces to make them smile for the camera. my favorites are the ones who forget all about mommy and daddy and the camera. i become the only thing worth any thought in the world at that moment. the crowd disappears as they stare up at me in awe. what is this sourcery, this statue that moves. they stare at me desperately trying to figure me out. this is what i live for.

eventually my knees started screaming at me and i stepped down to find john et al waiting for me. it’s so nice being able to step down and instantly be greeted by familiar friendly faces when i don’t have wyatt or any of my friends tagging along for the night. we hung out at my pitch to chat for a while, sporadically interrupted by the usual passing hellos and quick compliments and parents bringing their little ones over to see that i actually am a person and maybe i’m not so scary if i’m moving and can talk. one of these interruptions was a very handsome young man who told me that my art is enchanting, and that he’d love to take me out for coffee sometime.

i smiled and said i had to tell him something. then i hesitated. not because i considered saying yes, of course. wyatt is my world. i hesitated because my first instinct is to ask, why? why would you ask me out based solely on my performance? i could understand it more, maybe, if he had first sat down to talk to me for a minute or two. but this boy only saw the statue. he was asking lily out on a date, not me. he doesn’t even know what i look like under the wig and the thick layer of makeup. i’ve never understood why people do that. instead of dragging him into this inevitably awkward-for-him conversation, i opted to be kind, and simply told him that i have a boyfriend. he disappeared seconds later.

waterfire again this saturday. my new gloves arrived today, but my new wig won’t be here until next time. this is going to be the summer of updated costumes.