Guitar strapped across my back, downtown belched aspirations of success and conformity. Music and sound ripped across the breeze like a seagull after a fish, and no one could snuff the flame of performance. Bar bands squeeled popular tunes while a black man strummed his guitar to death. Authenticity defied the cover bands and I bestowed its title on the sphere of energy emminating from the man skrunched up in fetal position, rocking back and forth, and singing a beautiful song at breakneck speed. I admired him as I walked by with my own guitar stagnant and across my back. My path brushed by some women singing in an alcove of an oyster bar and finally to a hippie with a bongo and a crusty old man with a saxophone. The hippie asked me to play and I reluctantly agreed, throwing out warnings of my lack of ability and differing aesthetic. Persistently, the hippie requested that I strum him some music, and so I abliged him. My out of tune guitar sang in the evening breeze and skronked across the downtown landscape.
The hippie cringed and offered, "Hey, I can fix your guitar for you."
As if the deer in the headlights expression was not enough, I explained, "Please don't touch it. This tuning is very important to me."
He skoffed, "Well it's all wrong," as he took the guitar from me and attempted to drag some eric clapton blues out of the awkward tuning. Failing at this he seethed, "These strings aren't even tuned to notes. This is terrible and wrong." Vanquished, he returned the guitar to me and I started debating aesthetics and skronk and bla bla bla. The crusty old man chimed in, "You're never going to make it, playing like that."
I stared at the hat on the ground containing two dollars and fifty three cents and thought... Firstly, I don't want to "make it," and if you represent "making it," I am definitely not interested...
Just then another, more political hippie bounded down the sidewalk brandishing a bob dylan shirt. This imagery really excited hippie number one, and he began relating to me on the merits of dylan. I explained, "I have a gripe against bob dylan because he always wanted to have the appearance of cutting edge without doing any of the work. All he did was change genres when it wasn't what people expected."
The hippie, completely abstracted with anger, clenched his teeth and threatened, "You'd better watch what you say about bob."
I tried to explain my thoughts on celebrity and how I thought no one was safe from criticism bla bla bla but it fell on deaf ears. The hippie was now ignoring me so I said something snotty like, "Well, thanks for ignoring me, talk to you later," and walked across the street. I started strumming some chords (not the correct ones) and began singing
come gather round people, wherever you roam/
and admit that the water around you has grown/
bla bla bla
the times they are a changin
I belted these forgotten yet familiar lyrics across the downtown st. petersburg landscape, and I felt vaguely satisfied. Complacency and acceptance of tradition guts our generation and makes our corpses ripe for maggot infestation. Maggots of corporate homogenization and settling for what is presented to us as art and culture will surely continue with or without my resistence. Just like pissing in the wind, I spit in the face of violent, conformist hippies, just as I breathe the polluted air and pretend I acheived something.