“Standin’ on the corner, dollar in my hand,
Lookin’ for a woman who’s lookin’ for a man;
“Tell me how long, do I have to wait?”
Cassi Creek: Hesitation Blues is an often covered blues tune dating back at least to W.C. Handy. It carries the timeless lament “when will I get my share of the communal pie?”
The lyrics, as handed down and commonly performed, pertain almost entirely to sexual encounters. Possession of a dollar, the key to all other possessions, becomes the crux of the search by the singer. That the woman may be willing to trade her time and energy for that dollar fits easily into the direction indicated by the song. We who were once middle class have watched as the giants of Wall Street finance turn the nation into an immense whore house where staying housed and fed becomes harder every day.
Hesitation occurs for many reasons. There may be rent to pay, an instrument to recover from pawn, or the singer may be waiting for his paycheck to filter down from his employer who will hang onto it until the last possible second in order to squeeze the final bit of interests out of what he holds.
Hesitation is all too familiar to the working poor, and is becoming the standard of life for the once-middle class as well. The private sector is changing in nature. The small business owners are no longer private sector. That title should be rightly used only in reference to the large corporations that control finances and job off shoring in 21st century America.
The rest of us are joining in another chorus of “Hesitation Blues” while we wait for the 1% to let a little of the money we’ve made for them with our labor to trickle down. But like the poor guy on the corner, we’re in hesitation mode, and we are less and less likely to have that dollar at the time we’re standing on the right corner.