I'm known for being stubborn. I'm stubborn in an argument, and I'm stubborn in my pursuits. Most especially, I'm stubborn in my pursuits. I have what I do, and why I do, and how I prefer to do it, and I'm loathe to change without very compelling reasons. This is well known.
And yet, people try to change me. All the time. And yet people tell me I'm wrong and I'm doing things wrong. All the time. ALL the time. Even though others have tried and been ground to dust, they do it. But still, I persist- doing what I do, and how I do it. And when I persist, people often call me stubborn, often, as if it's a bad thing. It's not that I'm incapable of being wrong, or believe that I'm incapable of being wrong, or that I'm incapable of change, or of believing that I need to. Despite perceptions, I and my methods do evolve on a regular basis. It's just that in order to do so, I need a very compelling reason. Sit back and hear a tale of just how compelling those reasons need to be.
Ok, so a very regular part of my income comes from busking, usually in Old Town Alexandria. I have a regular spot where I do this. I'm known there, and I'm known for playing there and (when I'm there) reliably being in this one spot. I like that spot and that spot likes me. I have regulars who know to find me there. The local merchants known me and are supportive. They tell me that they miss me when I'm gone. And I have persisted against attempts by others (who see my success there) who've tried to poach the spot from me. I get there earlier than any of my potential competition even thinks about arriving, and I park my things there and I play from morning, all day, until about 2-2:30 am. (with occasional potty breaks and a break for late lunch/dinner). When I busk, I usually play for about 14 hours total. I have a program I follow and only rarely in the course of a day will I repeat a song. And I do so all year round no matter the temperature and usually despite the weather.
Now here's one bit about why I stubbornly play at that spot wrt to competition. Most of the regular others who play in Old Town, who've been there for a long time, have learned that competition from other performers is the single biggest damper to income. Even the best players will see a dip when others show up. But most of those others have learned that if they don't fight me for my favourite spot, that our coexistence can be a much more cordial rivalry. I've found the spot that works best for me, and that actually frees them to find the places that work best for them. And now, what a coincidence- there's a bit of a distance buffer between us. I become a known, reliable factor in their calculus, and in streeperforming, any factor that it NOT based on a random factor means your income becomes steadier and more reliable. In RPG terms; you get a less random *number* of dice that you then get to roll for income.
Now, there is a level of inclemency weather-wise, where I will give myself permission to skip, or skip out. This past Saturday afternoon should have been such a day, but the forecasts kept changing, and I had no way of knowing until I got into it, that it was going to be such a day.
Which is why Saturday sucked SO much during the day. It rained and rained and rained. It was supposed to be mostly drizzle with scattered bits of light rain, but instead it was the opposite. I can, cope with this, but my cope was seriously tested this time. I have a big umbrella rig that allows me to play in (less than thunderstorm) rain. But it's not fun to do so. I still have to protect whatever instrument I'm not playing and also my non-instrument things. Over the years I've evolved those methods and they're pretty good, and they're not really part of this story, so just assume that when I'm not playing either my guitar or the banjo, that they're okay. Well, mostly okay. And they were this time. Suffice it to say that my methods allow me to persist in performing up to the point of (thunderstorm) level rain- what the Dark Sky ap on my phone would call "moderate". And by persist, I mean long term. I can play through short bursts of "moderate" or even "heavy". But back to this Saturday. It wasn't that heavy of a rain, but it was persistent (like me). Just ALL afternoon.
Wet, wetter, icky, persistent, relentless wet.
And here's the reason why that sucks. I've found that if I can play through some inclemency, that I have an edge over my competition, in that mostly, they can't just deal with rain as I do. Also, for some reason, the engineering of my umbrella rig eludes them. I've rarely seen another performer even attempt to duplicate my rig, and none of their attempts seemed to be particularly robust. I suspect that they don't realise that what I have is the result of decades of evolution. So, most of the competition is gone as soon as there's any more than drizzle. Competition being the biggest minus to the number of dice I get to roll for income, it means that anything that takes out my competition adds dice to my roll. The problem is that the rain itself is also a minus. Rain means fewer people out, and rain makes people very goal oriented as they walk by. Even those who might be inclined are less likely to want to stop and fish out tips, let alone listen. Snow is completely different. When it snows, people get festive, and my tips go up, way up. Also, snow is actually easier to deal with. Yet somehow people are more impressed with me performing as it snows than as it rains. When it rains, people get miserable and my tips go down. Boy did they go down last Saturday afternoon. As water started to pool in the downhill(ish) side of my guitar case, the most common tip I got was "Hey. Your money's getting wet!" But I was in for a penny, in for a pound and I persisted. The weather maps showed that the rain was only a narrow band, and if that band shifted only ten miles, that I'd be in the clear. It didn't do so all day, which sucked. Wet, soggy suckage. It sucked ducks' nuts, underwater, in a cold pond.
There were other suckages as well. For some reason, (very likely because they were clogged with oak pollen), the gutters directly above me started leaking water in a steady stream that fell right next to me and my umbrella rig. It splashed at me from the side, which got me wetter than I might have been otherwise. And then the air temp started to drop. Icky wet, and now cold, icky wet. I was very close to giving up. But I noticed as the afternoon waned, that the heavier rain started giving in to more drizzly rain, and occasional clearing. And as it got closer to dinner time, those times of clearing directly coincided with my income stream going up. By dinner time, the maps were showing a real potential shift/end to the shower line, and I saw more people out. I decided that I would break for dinner. Then, if the trend of rain mitigation continued, I'd get a warm dry coat from Mama Tiger, and attempt to play to my first "par". That amount is one I can live with. It's like a C minus for the day. I was about half way there. An hour before, I had been a third of the way there, which showed me a *very* improving trend.
So I resolved to persist after a strategic retreat and recharge. I had my dinner. I rallied myself. And I went back out. It was still raining a bit, but not as hard as before. (Oh, and there was another minus to the day- the streetlight by my spot was out last week, and in that dark pool, people were having trouble seeing me and my guitar case. Battery powered Xmas lights to the rescue, but the dark definitely took away some dice last week. Last Saturday, the streetlight was still out, but just in case of that contingency, I'd brought a pretty bright lantern. I bungeed it to the lamp post in front of me. Yes, it made a HUGE difference) Anyway, the income difference after dinner was like night and day, or- day and night.
As promised, the rain waned, and then stopped. People came out. They were in a very festive mood, too, and many of them were quite generous. Much faster than I thought, I hit my first par. Much faster than I thought, I hit my 2nd goal. And by then, I knew I was having a very different night than the day had been. Now granted, when I estimate what my income of the day is, it's before I actually count, so I've learned how to just estimate low, and be pleasantly surprised at the end. I keep track of the songs I play (I actually have a log of the songs that generate tips and how many), and by keeping an eye on the tips going in, I've gotten pretty good at a "low ballpark". But sometimes, my low estimate is much lower than reality. Last night was one of those nights. Since it was rebounding SO well, I decided to just keep going and I'd dry up and warm up later. I'd set myself on a course where instead of a "low" night, I'd have more of a "normal" night.
But that was where I seriously *under*estimated. I hit my 3rd goal level at about 1:30 am. That is a number where the night gets an "A" grade. At dinner time, I'd been failing and thinking of giving up. But now, I'd outstubborned the bad stuff and totally rebounded to an "A" grade day. Yay.
Because I was still damp though, and because I needed to be at a 3LF gig the next day at 11am. I still knocked of a *bit* early. Nonetheless, when I tallied up my earnings, I was shocked to learn that I was *way* low in my estimate. It had, in fact, turned into one of my best nights, ever. It's Number 8 now in my list of Top 20 earning days busking in Alexandria! I've been busking there for about 25 years.
THAT'S why I'm stubborn. And THAT'S what I get for it.
Being stubborn/persistent is how I succeed. It is, for me, the most reliable and the most consistent path to my success. In this case, my stubbornness took me, literally from "failure" level to a tangible measurable triumph.
You can look at my stubbornness as a character flaw, but from where I sit, it was, is, and remains my strongest suit.