El Paso: Days 2-3

I woke up Sunday morning to the Pearl being shook. I thought it was the wind, it has done that before. About 5 minutes after it woke me up, I got up and went to go inside for a coffee and saw my right tail light was smashed. Apparently, a car had back into me in the parking lot and took off. Obviously, I was not happy about this. There were a few people that saw it, however could not give me enough info do to anything with it. I asked to see the surveillance videos, of course only the police can look at them during an investigation. I ended up getting some red and white tape to put over it for now and I will get it replaced soon. To fill out a report, I have to send it to Austin and who knows if anything will come of it, not sure it is worth the time or effort over a tail light.

After taking almost the entire first half of the day to take care of that, I finally got out to play. I liked the spot where I was the night before, on the corner of San Antonio and Stanton, for two reasons. The first is the acoustics there, and the second is there is traffic there. It was a nice day, and I was plating well! There was a man who passed by who was texting his daughter in Philly. She was on her way to see Peter White play, as he does every year, but there was a 52 car pile up and traffic was delayed for hours, she missed the show. He asked me if I would play a couple of Christmas tune for her via speaker phone. Of course I did, and she told him to tell me “It made her day!” That made me very happy, as well as her father (his name escapes me- Bill, I think. I am sorry) He took a picture of us to send to her as well. We had a short conversation after and then he gave me nice tip and left. I was grateful, not only for the tip but also the interaction, he was a wonderful man! Later on a man at the stop light ended up turning around and coming back to talk to talk to me. He also plays the saxophone. After a couple of minutes he wanted my opinion of something he was working on, so I said yes. I had no idea he had his horn with him. He put it together and after a warm up, played his tune. For a second, it reminded me of “Shimmy Shimmy Coco Pop” but it was clearly his own thing and it sound good. Over the next 20 minutes or so, we went back and forth with conversation and some playing. He played me another one he is also working on, it too sounded good. It was a little bluesier. He also played a flute for a few minutes. While he was there we got a few tips and I wanted to split them, he said “No, please. Thank you for letting play with you!” Then he proceed to go to his car and get the biggest handful of change I have ever seen anyone put in my tip box and said, “Sorry, I don’t have any bills, but if you will accept this….” I chuckled and said “Thank you!” Again, very grateful for him and the interaction.

On Monday, I got out after sleeping pretty late. I didn’t sleep much the night before. I went back to that same location, if it isn’t broke don’t fix it, right? Almost from the second I set up, it was one of the best shifts I have had since I started my trip. There were a few short interactions I was able to have. An older gent came right up to me and told me “In the name of St. Jude, I give you this” except he said it in Spanish. I said “Gracias” He said it again in English to make sure I understood, and I said “Thank you, so much” and shook his hand. He smiled, I smiled and he went on his way. I love that he did that in the name of St. Jude! Not only is he the Patron Saint of Lost Causes, he is much more. I feel I may have received another blessing! A young woman, named Estefania, came up and asked me where I got my training. I told her about PMAC and she asked if I gave lessons. I told her if she had a saxophone, I would be delighted to give a lesson or two while I was in El Paso. Turns out she plays piano and lives in Mexico, must have been here for the day. But I thought it was cool she asked if I gave lessons. I have only ever had one student, Ryan, and has since become a a dear friend. It is something I enjoy doing, maybe I will do again if I am in a place long enough, or maybe when I get back home.

I am going to be here at least one more day. When Ruben told me this city is friendly, he wasn’t kidding. Even when I am not playing, I find the people I talk to, to be very friendly. It is also very cool that I have made a couple of friends here. I still haven’t been to Rosa’s Cantina- I guess that will definitely be tomorrow!

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