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Jeruba's avatar

What logical chain of cause and effect led you to an unexpected place in your life?

Asked by Jeruba (50618points) May 30th, 2016

Few of us actually seem to lead predictable lives: dull, sometimes, perhaps, but not predictable. Rather, one thing leads to another, and we often end up in places and situations that we never imagined. But on looking back, we can see how they came about, step by step or cataclysm by cataclysm.

Can you trace a series of steps in your life that led from a point A to a completely unforeseen point B? The idea of this question is to recognize the connections and see how one led to the next—maybe not inevitably, but logically.

For instance: when I was in high school, the popular choices for fulfilling the language requirement were Spanish and French, but I took German. My German teacher read the Boston Herald, whereas we were a Globe family. So when the Herald published an article about a search for scholarship candidates to a Midwestern college, I wouldn’t have seen the article, but she did, clipped it, and gave it to me; and I became one of the three winners for New England.

I had had other plans; but I accepted the full scholarship and went there.

My choice of college definitely affected my career path and became, as for so many, a significant determiner of the course of my life.

Please note, this is not about karma or luck or God’s plan. It’s just about how cause and effect can produce surprising but logical results—and about tracing one of those chains in hindsight in our own lives.

 
Tags as I listed them: logic, cause and effect, chain reactions, personal history, life’s surprises.

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18 Answers

Mariah's avatar

I hadn’t even heard of [college I ended up going to] until it was already about time to start applying. I went to a college fair and saw their booth. I was mostly applying the *PI’s and *IT’s close to home in NY, of which there were a few, but I made two exceptions and applied to MIT and [college I ended up going to], both in Massachusetts.

When I toured the colleges I applied to, RIT and RPI bummed me out and I knocked them off the list. MIT rejected me. Left only Cornell and [college I ended up going to].

5 years prior, my dad had been laid off in such a way that contradicted some contract his employer had signed, and he had grounds for a lawsuit. It dragged on and on until the year before I went to college, at which time won a good chunk of money. Colleges only look at your parents’ last year of income so they thought we were mad rich, even though we were struggling because my dad had been unemployed for 2 years. Cornell doesn’t give out any merit based aid because obviously everyone who gets into an ivy league school has merit. They also didn’t give me any need based aid because they thought I didn’t need it. My dad argued with them and they wouldn’t budge.

So between the fact that I couldn’t afford it, and also the fact that there were suicide nets all over the gorge, I was turned off by Cornell and ended up choosing [college I ended up going to].

I was slated to be in the class of 2014. But we all know because I’ve overshared here for years and years that I got set back a year by my health.

On my first day back at college I sat down next to a pair of freshman guys in the front row and somehow managed to royally fuck up removing the cap from my water bottle in such a fashion that about half of the bottle ended up all over me. One of those guys and I quickly became fast friends and I guess the water incident left a somewhat memorable impression because, although I didn’t get to know the other guy that well at first, he still always recognized me around campus and said hi when he saw me.

About a year and a half later, I chose to do my junior project during the summer in order to catch up on some of the credits I was missing due to my health mishaps, and it just so happens that guy #2 from the water incident was also behind on classes because he was pursuing an ambitious double major, so he signed up for the project too.

We became best friends during our seven weeks in Maine working on that project.

It’s a few years later now and he’s my boyfriend of 2 years and we live together.

Mimishu1995's avatar

You wouldn’t believe it, but this is how I became a film noir nerd: during my high school year I got to learn a bit of programming with BASIC language. The language itself was pretty much useless, but at least it gave me some basic ideas about how to program. At that time my only interest was gaming and I had been having this fantasy of making my own game. With my knowledge of programing I hoped I would be able to make a game yeah, I was just deluding myself. I began searching for a game engine that was easy to learn. And finally I found that website providing <name of the engine>. I had previously played some games made from the same engine so I thought it would be fun to join the force.

Learning the ins and outs of the engine wasn’t easy of course. While I was learning the codes, I also created an account for kicks and browsed the forum. I had never been active on that forum. One day I found a thread that basically asked people to show what they could do to help with games so that developers could contact them. I posted on the forum saying I could be a beta tester. That was the only time that I ever posted anything there and I thought of it no more, given how well-known I was there. I didn’t ever think someone actually read my post and thought “Wow! This will be my prominent partner!”, but it happened.

I got the game from the person and my job was to play and find as many errors as possible and report them back to him. It was a pretty decent game, with an unusually suspenful plot I had never seen before. It was a typical noir plot well-executed, but at that time I didn’t even know what film noir was, so to me it was just a superb story. By the time I finished the job I fell in love with the game and waited eagerly to see how the pubic received the game. The public liked it and I could find some reviews for it. I stumbed on one review and that was the first time I saw the word “film noir”. I started doing some research out of curiosity. At one point I downloaded some movies into my computer. And it went on until I became a nerd some time after I graduated from high school.

By the way, the man I cooperated with did another game with me some time ago. We are on fairly good term. Now I’m waiting for him to send another game to me.

Tbag's avatar

Cause and effect? Hmm. Well… I didn’t know what I wanted to study at all so I decided to go for a bachelor in Logistics and Maritime. I applied to a lot of Universities abroad and got accepted in 90% of them. CAL Maritime in the states was one of them! My mother at the time was sick so I opted to stay with her and do my bachelors back home in Dubai. My parents were kind enough to get me a brand new, fancy Camaro back then. Thinking about it, me opting to stay back was the reason my parents got me the car because in a way my mom felt guilty so she wanted to do something nice. I was such a… different person back then.
Two years later, on February 1, 2013 to be specific, I was exhausted from all the reading I had done for my exams and decided to spend the night playing video games. My dad was out of town for a while and he was coming home that night. My brother asked me if I could go and pick him up and I said yes even though I didn’t feel like driving at all. I grabbed my jacket, headed out and started listening to a podcast about “Reality and consciousness” on my way to the airport. The rain that night was so bad. Just before arriving to the airport, I got a call from my dad telling me that his flight got delayed. Turned back, still listening to that podcast…so zoned out into it, having all these frivolous thoughts in my head, I was overwhelmed. I took the long way home because I wanted to listen to the whole podcast. That long road I took wasn’t well maintained at the time. It was still raining relentlessly like no tomorrow. My car started drifting to the side and I had no control what so ever. I wasn’t even speeding. It was a mixture of sand and rain. I turned the wheel left, nothing happened, turned it right, nothing happened. The car was out of my control. So I let go of the wheel and I saw to my right the tree I was going to crash into. I closed my eyes and… everything just sort of stopped you know? I was having these fast flashbacks of my life. It was terrifying. I woke up at the hospital crying. I was never the same person then.
All the choices I made, led me to that night. Those choices took my life in an entirely new direction. I was so traumatized and it took me months to get out of my room. Everyday, I pondered all the “what ifs” my mind could possibly think of.
What if I stayed home that night? What if I ended up studying abroad? What if I slept that night? What if I took the short way home? What if my dad called me earlier to tell me that his flight got delayed?

But you know what? I am so glad for everything that has happened. And I am so thankful for the person I’ve grown into and become because of the choices I made that led me to that day. Starting with my bachelor’s degree to that night. If it weren’t for it all, I wouldn’t be doing my Master’s degree and I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I struggle everyday with the horrid memory of that night and I cope with PTSD. But that’s nothing compared to my new outlook on life and the career trajectory I am taking. From being an ungrateful and ignorant kid, I ended up being humble and appreciative of the little things in life.

I don’t know if all of this answers your question but it made me realize that every choice I made up to that night was like a chain reaction that drastically changed my life for the better.

YARNLADY's avatar

Can I be excused if I give the answer to an opposite conclusion? I fell in love with a boy, age 17, who was kicked out of school. I was 18 at the time. My parents tried to talk me out of marrying him, with logical arguments, but I replied with totally illogical arguments.
I married him, and a year later, had a beautiful baby boy.

That baby changed my life. I NEEDED to be a good mother for such a perfect baby, and the resutl is where my life began.

Jeruba's avatar

Great! @Mariah, that’s a perfect example, especially with the water bottle. @Mimishu1995 and @Tbag, terrific stories.

@YARNLADY, it’s not about you being logical or illogical. It’s about how one event led to another (cause and effect) and took you someplace you never thought you’d go. So your story isn’t opposite. It’s just short.

Blackberry's avatar

I mean, isn’t that life? Everything is all connected so trivial events can lead us all places we never knew or with people we’d never thought we’d be with :D

YARNLADY's avatar

@Jeruba Thank You. The cause and effect might have been the fact that I felt unworthy until I had a “perfect baby” and I needed to be a “worthy” mother. It changed my perception of my life and the behaviour that followed.

flutherother's avatar

We went on a camping trip to Islay because I misheard my girlfriend suggest going to ‘an island’ when discussing holiday plans in a noisy disco. Islay is an island so it wasn’t too unexpected.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

My career is a bit like that. When I was 14, I had to do a week of work experience to help me decide where I would take my education for the next couple of years. Living in a town with less than 60,000 residents, none of the technical, high end jobs I was interested in were available. So for lack of a better idea, I went to the hospital radiotherapy and radiology departments. My dad worked there, so it was basically hanging around his workmates for a week.

A few years later, it came time to put in my university preferences. I knew I liked physics, but engineering didn’t sound appealing at the time, considering the state of my country’s manufacturing sector. I was somewhat interested in the medical field, but the years of training to become a doctor seemed like another lifetime, and I wasn’t willing to commit so many years to it. So for lack of a better idea, I placed radiology first in my preferences.

When I graduated, I told myself that radiology was just a way to earn good money while I figured out what I really wanted to do. I gave myself five years to make it happen. I looked at engineering again. I did a whole year of study in neuroscience. Each month my mind changed, between studying philosophy, economics, history, or security. I read books on each topic, and each time changed my mind.

It has been more than five years since I graduated from my undergraduate degree. I’m half way through my second postgraduate degree. And I still work in radiology, beyond the deadline I set for myself years ago. Call it immaturity or naivety, but while everything points to me ending up right where I am, I never saw it coming.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

It started with being handed a train ticket and a $5 bill. “This is for something to eat on the way. It’s the last meal we are buying for you,” Mom said as she gave me a hug good-bye. This was right after receiving a letter from college stating that my grades weren’t good enough and to take a year off. Mom told me to get a job and find some direction. She suggested the hotel industry since I thrived in that environment while working at a Christian conference center during the summers.

I landed in Washinton, DC, where a career in the hotel business officially started. The following 25 years was a labyrinth filled with pockets of new experiences that were rarely in my control. Merging, acquiring, and splitting from other hotel and casino chains often resulted in a change in job structuring. Two were temporary; one became obsolete when an online training program was developed to replace classroom training; there were a few demotions and promotions that just happened. All took place within the same company. It was a roller-coaster ride, and I loved it.

A social life was limited due to the hours devoted to work. Even then, it was spent with co-workers. The idea of meeting a special someone and starting a family continued to move down the the list of importance. There was contentment to be found in achieving financial goals, doing charity work, spending time with family, and pursuing hobbies.

One day while at work, the Sr. VP told me that the dept. was being restructured and my position was going to be eliminated. “Would you like to continue in the same job supporting another hotel chain or move to the training dept.?” I told him that I would love either job and to assign me to the one that would be harder to fill. Thus, I ended up back in the training dept.

I started reading a monthly training magazine. One contributor kept writing about a virtual world website where a few companies were conducting global lectures and training. Since our company was located world-wide, it just made sense to check it out. It was fascinating, and I was hooked.

About five months later, I logged in to find that the home server was down and landed in a virtual park in front of an avatar wearing Groucho Marx slippers and a dunce cap. Our conversation lasted ~5 min. The next night, it happened again.

Within three weeks of our friendship, I knew that this guy was special. The clincher was the birthday present he sent. Here it is.

After graduating to exchanging e-mails to Skype, we met six months after the first encounter. That was eight years ago.

Had someone had told me at at any point in my younger years that I would fall in love with a British bloke that encouraged me to stretch beyond self-perceived abilities and move to a different country, I would have told them that they are off their rocker. And I would have been wrong.

Strauss's avatar

There are two chains of events, almost related that come to mind. They both happened in 1978. Here’s the first one. The second will have to wait for another day.

There I was, in that small Midwestern town, on the edge of “Chicagoland”. We were sharing a house, Frank and Karen (as a couple), our mutual friend Paula (single woman) and myself (single man). I had just finished a year in college, and had started rehearsals for a production of “Man of La Mancha” with the local community theater group. Jobs were getting hard to find in that town in that time period; A friend of mine, Casey told me he had been up in Gillette, WY, where they were almost desperate for people to work in oil field. He and several other friends had been up there for a few weeks and he invited me to join them. I told them I wanted to finish the show, and then I would join them. He said I could find them at the “Country Kitchen”.

By the time the show had finished, it was the middle of June. I decided to wait a couple weeks, get my stuff together to travel, celebrate my Dad’s 65th birthday, attend the annual large family reunion, and stick around for the July 4th celebrations.

The Fourth was on a Tuesday, so I set out on a Wednesday, hitchhiking from the Chicago area to Gillette, Wyoming (about 1100 miles), My brother was living in Minneapolis, so I thought I’d make a short detour and pay him a visit. He lived with the other members of his band in a farmhouse on the edge of the Twin Cities metro area. I got there on Thursday afternoon, and it turns out that they were travelling the next day to some weekend gigs in the Yankton, SD area. So I rode with them, and partied with them for the weekend. Monday morning, they were headed back to Twin Cities, so I asked them to drop me off at the intersection if I-29 and I-90, so I could continue my journey west to Gillette.

I don’t remember how long it took, but it wasn’t long before a Suburban stopped by to pick me up.There were five or six other guys, and they made room for me and my guitar in the front seat, and put my backpack in the rear with everybody else’s. The conversation went something like this:

Boss: “Where you headed?”
Me: “Gillette. I hear they’re hiring there.”
Boss: “Do you play that thing?” (indicated the guitar).
Me: “Yep. Want to hear a song?”
Boss: “Sure!”

played some Willie Nelson song, probably “On The Road Again”.

Boss: “Do you have a drivers license?” ,
Me: “Yes” (I didn’t, I was in a pretty daring mood at that time.)
Boss: “Would you like to drive a truck for me to Rapid City? I’ll pay you a flat rate plus meals.”
Me:“Sure.”

It seems he had acquired some pick-up trucks for his dealership in Rapid City. The other guys in the vehicle were his regular drivers. With me he could get one more truck across the state in one trip.

After we got the trucks, we drove in convoy to the dealership in Rapid City, stopping once for lunch. After we delivered the trucks, he told me: “All these other guys are on my regular payroll, and they’ll get money for this trip in their paycheck. I have to get some cash for you. Do you mind taking a little trip with me to my grandfather’s bar? I had no choice. We went to a small town on the edge of the Badlands, called Scenic. We got there, he had some business to take care of with his grandfather. He told me have anything I want while I waited. After what seemed like five hours (it was really only about 90 minutes) he came out from the back room and said, I have your money. I’ll give you a ride back to Rapid, or anywhere you want to go, within reason. I asked him to drop me off at the entrance to I-90 heading west from Rapid City.

It was just about sundown when I got to the Country Kitchen. My friend back in Illinois had told me to look for them there. That was where they had their dinner, where they would hang out over coffee and discussion. I looked around, I didn’t see anyone. I took a seat at the counter, ordered a something to eat, and watched the door. Then I saw Jason, Casey’s brother. We got a booth together, and the other three eventually joined us. I noticed Casey wasn’t there. He apparently had gotten a job with the railroad, which included lodging and meals.

So I asked Jason where they were staying. He pointed out the window to a number of cars, apparently abandoned in a field. We’ve been sleeping in those cars. But over at the community center, you can swim, shower, shave, and all that for only a dollar!. The employment center is right next door, and they post spot jobs every day.” That was all I needed to hear.

After my second night at the “cars hotel” I landed a job at the employment center. It was for a backhoe operator, it was about 30 miles from town, and lodging was provided in a trailer shared with other workers.

I worked there about eight weeks, got some money in my pocket, and decided I didn’t necessarily want to spend a winter in South Dakota. I headed out of Gillette, and decided to head to Colorado. I had heard that Paula, my former roommate, had been working in Aspen. I didn’t have a phone number or address for her (this was long before any type of social media), so I headed to Aspen. I got as far as Casper, when it started to get dark. I crawled up under an overpass. I woke with the dawn (really didn’t sleep well), and slipped my sneakers on (without socks) to walk to a nearby store to get something to eat. I returned, and approached the on-ramp and stuck out my thumb. Within minutes, a flatbed Ford pickup—”(Oh my lord!...but no girl!)”:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhH3mRkKDX8 pulled over; the guy asked if I would do a day’s work for a day’s pay. We discussed terms, came to an agreement. He said, “Just put your backpack on the bed of the truck, up against the cab. I’ve never lost anything before.” So I put my backpack (complete with my wallet, my coat, and all my money) on the back of the truck. I took my guitar into the cab with me.

When we got to the jobsite, I went to get my socks out of my backpack. but NO BACKPACK!

He said, I’ve got to get this job done this morning, and I’ll pay you double. We can backtrack and see if we find your backpack later.

Worked all morning, cleaning up residential construction site. The guy was good for his word, he paid me the equivalent of a full day’s pay for only half a day. But when we went back, we couldn’t find the backpack!

So I continued down to Aspen, with my guitar in my hand, the clothes on my back, and a day’s pay in my pocket. I felt like a walking cliché.

By the time I arrived in Aspen, it was early Friday evening. I found out that there was a rugby tournament there that weekend. I found a park, got my guitar out, opened my case and started to perform. It wasn’t long before a couple of guys came buy and asked if I would play for a party. “When?” “Now?” What’s the pay?” “All you care to eat and drink.” Sold!

After the party, I went looking for a place to sleep. The day’s pay in my pocket (minus a pack of cigarettes and something to eat) would come nowhere near getting me a room in Aspen!. And the wind was picking up. This was September, and the temperature during the day was very nice, but at night it got windy and the temperature dropped to the mid-40’s (F). So I found some large cardboard boxes and set up a makeshift shelter at the loading dock at the local elementary school.

I managed to doze a little over the next few hours, and finally I got up and started walking around town. My sockless feet had rubbed the blisters raw. The sun finally came up, I washed my face in the creek, and found the place Paula worked.

I found it, got something to eat, and asked when Paula worked. She was off for the weekend.

So, there I was. I was homeless in Aspen, no clothes other than what I was wearing, just a few bucks left in my pocket. (Aspen ain’t cheap, and it wasn’t even back then)—I grabbed a coffee to go, and headed to the athletic field. The sun was shining, and the ruggers were working out. It might be a good place to catch a nap.

I took my shoes off to let my raw, blistered toes get some sun, and started watching the players. Suddenly someone said, “It’s a little early in the season for frostbite, isn’t it?”

That started off the conversation. Kris was in Aspen for the weekend. We talked, she told about herself, I told her about myself and how I got into my situation. She asked if I wanted to join her for dinner that evening. I agreed. After dinner, she said she would invite me to her room, but she was with her father and he “wouldn’t understand”.

“But here’s my number. If you’re ever in the Denver area, look me up!”

That was Saturday evening. I stayed through Monday morning, and then headed to Denver, called Kris.

She was able to put me up for a few days, and actually loaned me money to get some clothes_ while I was looking for work. Finally, I found it…A position for a youth counsellor with a program that was operating a wagon train from Tucson to Denver.

Long story short, I got the job, was reunited with my backpack (that’s another story!) and was able to pay Kris back.

I never did catch up with Paula…

Jeruba's avatar

@Yetanotheruser, I want to know how you were reunited with your backpack!

Strauss's avatar

Well, anyone who has read my post above will realize that my backpack and I parted company somewhere in the vicinity of Casper, WY. I had found a safe, sheltered spot to unroll my sleeping bag and take off my shoes and socks and grab a few winks. When I awoke, I slipped on my sneakers sans socks, packed up my sleeping bag, picked up my guitar and went to get some breakfast.

I went straight up the on-ramp, thinking I’d be able to get to a truck stop to clean up a little, and put on some clean socks.

It wasn’t long before the guy in the flatbed stopped and offered me a day’s work. When we got to the jobsite, we realized the backpack had fallen off the truck. I proceeded to work, then continued my journey to Aspen.

When I was hitchhiking, I always tried to keep in touch with the family so they wouldn’t be too worried; I had called when I left Gillette, but hadn’t had the opportunity to do so until I got to Kris’s in Denver.

I called, and my older brother answered. Not the musician I visited in Minnesota, but the one who was married with three sons.

Bro: “Hello?”
Me: “Hey, J! It’s Yet! Just calling to check in and let everyone know I’m all right!”
Bro: “You know you had us all worried for a few days there!”
Me: “How so?”
Bro: “Well, I’d better let Ma tell you. She’s waiting to grab the phone!”

Ma: “Yet! Are you alright?”
Me: “Yeah, Ma, I’m fine. I lost my backpack, but I’m safe. I’m in Denver, and I’ve got a roof over my head and a couple bucks in my pocket.
Ma: “Oh, son, we were worried about you. We got a call from a trucker who found your backpack. The frame was bent up as if it’d been hit or run over. They’re sending it home. Do you need us to send it to you?”
Me: “I’m not sure how long I’m going to be here. Why don’t you hold on to it until I get to somewhere I’m going to stay awhile.”
Ma: “Okay, let us know. And please keep in touch!”

Shortly after that, I got the job with the wagon train program, and they sent me to a ranch in New Mexico for training in horsemanship and camping skills. That’s where I was reunited with my backpack. The dirty socks were still there, as was my wallet, _complete with

Strauss's avatar

I have another story for another time about how I set out from Illinois for California but ended up in New Orleans.

Jeruba's avatar

@Yetanotheruser, don’t leave a cliffhanger like that! “Complete with . . .”—cash? You got back your wallet, money, coat, and everything? I suppose they must have contacted your family by way of your ID.

You tell a great story. Come on back with the New Orleans one soon, won’t you?

In fact, I love all these stories—they’re much better than what I had hoped to bring out with the question. Thanks, everyone, and please keep them coming.

Strauss's avatar

”...complete with a letter from my friend, Kelly, who wanted me to join him to do some studio work in LA.”

That is the segue to the next chapter…

~~~~COMING SOON!~~~~~~

Strauss's avatar

And, oh yeah, all the cash was in my wallet!

Strauss's avatar

Here’s the story about how I headed for California and ended up in New Orleans:

As related here, I spent the much of the fall of 1978 on a wagon train. I worked with that program until just before Thanksgiving.

When I got back to my parents’ house, everyone was getting ready for the holidays; The big Thanksgiving dinner, and then the ramp-up to Christmas and the New Year. At one point my Dad asked how long I intended to stay. I told him I was staying through the New Year, but not much longer. I didn’t know where I was going when I left, but I was not going to stay much longer.
Some time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Kelly called. He was back in town, and wanted to know if I was still interested in going to California with him. I said sure. Neither of us had a car, and since we were going to be taking instruments and other stuff, we contacted a local “drive-away” agency. We would pay a small deposit and drive a car to be delivered to California.
After the holidays, we did just that. I helped Kelly with the deposit, and the contract was in his name only, with me listed as an additional passenger. We received a brand new 1979 Cadillac DeVille, fully loaded.

Well, we each had a what seemed to be a comfortable amount of travelling money, and a car with a two-week delivery window. Plenty of time to get from Chicago area to L. A. So Kelly said, “If you don’t mind, we’ve got a few extra days, and I’d like to stop and see if I can get a loan on my land in Mississippi.” He had lost his parents a few years back, and had inherited a farm in Mississippi. He had already negotiated timber rights, but he had heard he could also sell the rights to pulpwood, used for making paper. So we left Chicagoland, and headed to California by way of Mississippi.
First stop: West Memphis, Arkansas. Weather: ice storm. Roads impassable, unable to proceed or bypass. We got a motel room. Next morning, same story. We stayed in the motel a total of three days, blowing our budget and dwindling our travel time, but things still looked manageable. If we had to stop along the way and work for a day or so, no big problem. We had each traveled that way in the past.
Finally, the weather broke, and we made it to Kelly’s farm. We stopped and visited his aunt, who showed us wonderful southern hospitality. The next morning Kelly went to the bank, but they wouldn’t even consider the pulpwood loan until after the timber harvest was finished, and that wasn’t going to be done any time soon. So Kelly managed to borrow some money from a cousin to get us a little farther down the road.
We decided our next stop should be New Orleans. As a large city, we would have the best chance of getting some day jobs and enough money to continue our trek.
We got in the car, Kelly driving. The next thing I knew, I awoke and we were in the French Quarter in New Orleans.
The first thing I noticed was music. Music everywhere. Musicians on every corner with their case open, playing for tips. I thought maybe, just maybe, I could make a couple bucks and not have to get a day j-o-b.
I found an open corner, opened my case, and started playing. I hesitated, at first, not sure how to attract an audience. But I just started singing, and singing, and singing. After the first coin, I was singing more strongly, After about a half-hour, I had $30.00 in my case! Minimum wage then was $2.90 and hour, so that was more that I could make in eight hours at a job shop!
Over the next few days, I was not that successful, but I was getting quarters, dollar bills, and joints deposited into my case. I knew that I had found my home! I met people, made connections, and found a temporary place to stay that I could easily afford with the income from busking.
Kelly and I decided we needed to talk about our plans. I did not want to abandon him, but I was really enjoying New Orleans and wanted to stay. He did not have the same fortune as I did, trying to find day labor. He decided he wanted to forfeit the deposit on the car. I agreed, as it looked impractical for us to get it to the destination on time. He turned it in to a local dealership, as instructed, and we parted ways, still friends. He went off somewhere, I still don’t know where; I stayed. Between January and Mardi Gras, I was able to make enough by busking to pay six months’ rent for a room. I stayed in New Orleans for two years.

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