Today, break your previous record. Sing 20 songs instead of 15. Earn more money. Endure the sun a moment longer. Skin cancer with busking experience trumps skin cancer without. (You have to die of something, and you may as well die happy.) Forget about the timed transfer on your light rail ticket. You’ve already missed it.
You may think that Mondays are just not good for busking. After all, the last time you were here was a Friday and there seemed to be more passers-by. There is, in fact, just as much foot traffic on a Monday at this corner. However, you are 30 minutes too early. By the time you play The Swimming Song, you have used a lot of your energy, but people from offices are just now making their way past the book store to Noodles & Co. Be in their path.
Placement is everything. You want to be near a busy intersection but not at the corner. Give people coming from either direction a chance to hear you and decide if they want to bother to wonder whether they are carrying any small bills. They do this between Wynkoop and the second set of benches on 16th, heading East toward the entrance to the ped mall.
Some of them have never seen a lady busker at the bookstore before, much less one in a cowboy hat and boots. Some of them will laugh or smile and you may have a moment between Teenagers Kick Our Butts and the Sons and Daughters/When You’re Old and Lonely mash-up to ask yourself whether they think you are courageous and charming or just ridiculous. Sing with such joy that it is hard for them to tell the difference.
An odd man will stand directly in front of you during Sweet Sweet Smile and you will try to make your sunglasses-clad face conjure the look of distant love so that this guy releases himself from the notion that you are singing to him specifically. You prepare for the worst, and are glad when he walks away. Later when you see him on the bench across the street, be glad to realize that your voice cannot possible carry that far, although you will then know that he is just watching, and not listening at all. He will rifle through the trash can over there and find a discarded smoothie cup—half-full—and you are glad for him, but you focus your attention on making a real F chord on Rox in the Box. You already know the MagFields songs don’t go over so well in this state, but Colin Meloy is from Montana, so maybe another Decemberists tune will catch the attention of one of those hipsters exiting the bookstore. Perhaps the one who entered while you were singing an original, his expression seeming to say, “What else you got?”
After two more songs, the man across the street will not bother you so much anymore. There is a woman on the adjacent bench reading and, in your paranoid daymares, she could be a witness. She crosses and approaches. “I don’t have any cash,” she says, “But you have a beautiful voice. Will you be here tomorrow?”