The Golden Ticket


I feel like I'm on a treasure hunt right now. I decided to drive out to Santa Monica and play on the pier. I parked several blocks away on Idaho and 2nd street because there's free parking and I thought to myself, "I don't mind pushing my little cart half a mile. I'll be busking for 2-4 hours anyway". I got here around 12:30 all sweaty and tired and as I was pushing my cart down the boardwalk a scruffy hippie looking man tells me I have to get "a lottery ticket". I ignored hi
m because I thought he was trying to hit on me. So I kept pushing my cart down the wooden planks and saw a performer playing keyboard in front of a picture perfect view of the ocean. Even the seagulls looked like they were painted in the scene. I thought to myself "ok I should ask this guy what the rules are to perform on the pier".

So I waited till he was done playing and shook his hand and introduced myself. He said his name is Terri. Then he told me I do indeed have to get a lottery ticket at the Carrousel at 2:00pm. Musicians will be chosen out of a hat to perform on the pier. So I thanked him for the heads up, waved goodbye and pushed my cart back down to the entrance of the pier where the carousel is. I tried to find this ticket booth he was talking about. I looked all around and then decided I should ask the hosts in the restaurant next door for some help. They told me to go to another info booth across from Bubba Gump. So I pushed my cart up there and found a tour bus booth and then they told me that he info booth I need to go to is actually next to the carousel where I was in the first place. By now I started getting frustrated. So I went back to the carousel and this time asked a woman working in he ice cream booth where the ticket man is. She told me that I was supposed to get here in the morning and there is indeed a man with a hat who gives out lottery tickets to a long line of musicians to play. Then I decided to sit down because I was tired... Then a Russian man on a bicycle asked if I had a lottery ticket and I said "oh are you a musician performing today?" He said he was waiting till 2pm to get his ticket. So now I'm just sitting here across from the carousel waiting for the mysterious ticket man to show up. I thought I might try and get a tan instead.  

At about 1:30 I saw an old man with a chest roll up next to the ice cream booth. I thought "ok that has to be the man with the lottery tickets" so I walked over to him and asked if he had lottery tickets and he responded "tickets?... No no los tengo" so then I said "no tienes boletos?" And then he started saying something to me in Spanish... Said he was a painter "yo pinto con los dedos" he said. Then I said "¡oh como los niños!" Then he began to laugh. He opened up his chest and he showed me the little paintings he made. I fell in love with the blue one and I unrolled a $20 bill and bought it. I said I would hang it on my wall in my apartment. We shook hands and he said his name was Miguel. I then looked over to my left and saw a line of musicians around another man with a bucket so I walked over and said " ok this must be the lottery ticket line." I stood in line and then heard my name. I turned around and it was my friend Peter Su. I knew I was in the right place! We started talking while standing in line. He said he was going to play on the pier today as well. I opened up my guitar case and showed my permit to the ticket man and he threw the yellow piece of paper into a plastic bucket. 10 min later he swirled it around and pulled the first one from the bucket. "Katie Ferrara" you are first he said.

Ecstatic. I clapped my hands and ran over to him and picked a spot to play at on the pier. Apparently number 5 and number 14 are the best spots. I chose number 5 since the most foot traffic passed by that location. Then Peter and I were approached by two policemen named Chris and Frank. Chris asked me if it was my first time performing and he explained the works. You have to stand behind a designated star on the boardwalk. You can't go in front of the star and you can only take up 7 planks. You also can't be louder than 65db. Apparently the rules are slightly different from the promenade. I can't "sell" my CDs, I can only ask for donations. So after the talk Peter got his ticket and he offered to help move my stuff closer to the pier since I parked almost half a mile away. Then we got lunch at Subway and I bought a lemonade so u could use my cup as a tip jar since it was so windy on the pier. After lunch I was ready to play. I said goodby to Peter, wished him good luck and headed over to my car. I unloaded my gear: my rocknroller cart, guitar, suitcase, guitar stand, bungee cables and guitar stand. I started pushing my cart up the ramp to the pier but then my cables came lose and I had to reposition my gear on the cart again. I absentmindedly I left my subway tip jar on the ramp. A little upset, I decided not to turn back. It wasn't worth it. Halfway to star number 5 my cables came lose again and in frustration I yelled "Arrgggh". People started to look at me but I didn't care. The only thing on my mind was to get to the star before 4 o clock. I repositioned my gear again and pushed my cart into a sea of pedestrians as quickly carefully as I could. I saw the railing in the distance where Terri was playing earlier. It was beautiful. By this time the sun was setting. I made it. I finally made it. I won the golden ticket. The End. 
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