Last time I went out busking (several days ago) I had an interesting day. I went to the Pike Place Market and managed to get an early set in at 10am. It was "meh," not bad.
The hat was exactly twelve dollars and the odd part was I got only two coins, both of them the small gold-colored dollars. One with Sacajawea on it and one with George Washington.
I don't remember that ever happening before. I'll usually get either no coins whatsoever or an assortment.
I waited around and got another set in at about noon. It was less (but close to) the same amount. I was ready to just give it up, especially since I don't like to do more than two sets at the Bridge spot on a given day and it was really the only spot worth a hoot to me. Crowd was too small for the Starbucks spot and the weather was too bleh for the courtyard spot to be any good. At least for me.
This left me with the choice of bussing home or hanging around doing nothing for several hours until my ride was done working. That, combined with several of my friends saying I should do another, convinced me to try again.
So around 3pm I'm back on the bridge, strumming madly away on my ukulele. It's getting to close to the end of my set and I'm looking at the tip bucket. After all these years I can pretty much get a decent idea of what's in there and it looked like it was going to be about what the first two were. Ah well.
Paul was waiting to play. I looked at my watch and saw I had about 3 minutes left. I turned around to tell him he was on but he was away from the bridge a bit and deep into a convo with somebody. So I thought, what the heck, and signalled I was going to do one more tune. When I have that little time left I usually do "If Youse A Viper," an old marijuana tune from the 30's, written by Stuff Smith.
So I jammed it out and somewhere in the middle of it a dad and his two sons walked by. Eldest son was maybe 8 or so. They got about 40 feet away and stopped. Dad hands the kid a bill and he runs back and puts it in my bucket.
I'm thinking dad must be a secret viper because, hot damn, it's a fin! Half again what I had in the hat, all at the last second.
I'm certainly glad, not only that I did that last set, but also that I did that last song.
Hooray for last minute vipers!