I was, however, surprised to find someone who refused to leave.
This was definitely new. Every other busker I had encountered was exceptionally welcoming and friendly, and quite willing to move to another location if the scheduled player came along. (I was very willing to do this, myself.)
This fellow, though, was having none of it.
As I always do, I reached into my pocket to find a spare loonie to drop into his case. I held it in my hand as I politely explained I was scheduled for the spot and would like to start playing at 1:30 (giving him twenty more minutes) and play until 3:30. (Yesterday the keyboard player and I agreed that she could come back then and I'd hand off the spot to her.)
The violinist's heavy European accent made him very hard to understand, but he made it clear that even though he knew I was scheduled, he was planning to play until 3:00 p.m. He wanted me to come back then.
I put the un-donated loonie back in my pocket.
Surprising myself, I looked him in the eye, planted my feet squarely on the floor, and told him that I would be playing here between 1:30 and 3:30. I suggested that I could phone the TTC about the matter. And I pointedly looked at his I.D. badge, noting the number.
He argued with me for a few minutes and I started to get worried about attracting attention. (On the other hand, maybe two buskers having an argument would be entertaining and people would throw change!)
"Look," I said, "you're wasting time. It's okay with me if you play for another half hour."
But that wasn't good enough. He snorted at me, packed up his things and stalked away.
A few minutes later, as I was tuning my guitar, I heard the defiant sound of his violin again.
It carried from the other side of the tracks where he was busking illegally, directly across from me.
I wondered briefly if, because he could be heard, I shouldn't play because I'd be creating an unpleasant cacophony for subway passengers.
Then I thought, to hell with it, and started to play anyway.
Twenty minutes later, he was gone.