Posts Tagged ‘subway’
Some mornings you can feel more. Some mornings just talk to you and don’t shut up. This morning, the air was soft, and it was romantic, looking at the Bushwick rooftops from the elevated train platform. There was romance. I’m sure that’s what it was. I didn’t take a picture. But I took a picture of the lady’s tote that I saw soon afterwards:
“Dwell in possibility” was the quote. I loved it. Dwell in… yes, if you’re going to dwell in anything, it may as well be in possibility. I’ve often said that I’m a citizen of doom, because that’s where I was born. I know all about it. But who cares where you were born. If you have a chance to choose where you dwell, you can choose to dwell in possibility. I thought about Dickinson’s famous solitude. She chose very consciously where she would dwell. And what company she would keep. It sounds like she was pretty unwavering in this. I thought, “Emily Dickinson was so smart.” She really had it going on. She really knew what was what. Here’s the whole poem:
I dwell in Possibility – (466)
BY EMILY DICKINSON
We started talking about love. I don’t know how we started. I think it was because he wanted to marry me. Some days it’s just like that. You sit on the subway train and somebody proposes. And then his friend does too. They had just gotten done singing a song. The one man stopped to give me a compliment, asked about my marital status. I lied, because it was funner and because I can’t help it. I said I’d been married three times. “Third times a charm,” I said.
He said, “But you’re single now.” Yes, I’m single. I’m only a fibber; I can only carry it so far. He said, “So how about a fourth?” Well.. And then talk about love… love is a beautiful thing. “Why yes it is,” I said. “And everybody has it.” He agreed. His friend came up behind him to chime in, “It’s free… you can give it, share it…”
“And produce it,” I said.
“And reproduce..” he said.
“Whoa!” his friends said from the other side of the car.
“Wow, he’s really cutting to the chase,” I said. “These are modern times.” We imagined how beautiful our babies would be. I said yes, they would be very beautiful. None more so. He said, “How about not giving me a fast no, but a slow yes?”
I said, “Who needs reproduction. How about a number? I’m a sucker for harmonies…”
So they did this song. For me. And for reproduction, I guess. If it sounds this good, it could be for paper cuts and bikini waxes, whatever. Sing me the song:
You can hear me on some of the “ah”s and the last “ooo” at the end. I couldn’t help myself. Bypassing marriage to sing the harmonies. It’s a good trade off. Any day.
Come and hear me and Marlon Cherry play some songs on Friday night as a part of “Call and Response – ‘answer songs’ to the Rolling Stones’ Sympathy for the Devil by Natalia Zukerman, Susan Hwang, and Ben Arthur.”
Friday, December 5th, 8:30pm
Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 3
185 Orchard Street
New York, NY
Still all about Satan – Friday @ Rockwood Music HallShare
A couple of awesome things happened this morning, that I can’t not mention.
First of all, I saw this lady:
I saw her, and I thought, oh… I do this too. New York City is an orchestra of facial ticks some mornings (and afternoons and nights). And there’s an anonymity and permission allowed to you on the subway. Is it like this in all cities? I know about the NYC subway policy of behavioral leeway, because I’ve wept multiple times on public transportation, and once I had an explosive screaming fight on the Jay Street Metro Tech platform with a now ex-boyfriend. It was all allowed. MTA decorum enforcers did not arrive with tissues or counselors. They also didn’t say anything when I saw a man clip his toenails and eat fig newtons right there on the seat. When a man tried clipping his toenails at Goodbye Blue Monday during one of my shifts, I had to ask him to stop. He was a little indignant. I said, “This is a public place. You’re doing a private thing. It’s not a bathroom. This is something you should do in your bathroom…” I guess I was the first person to explain this to him. I told him not to take it personally; it’s just a societal norm.
The lady in the video has a job. I’m assuming she has a job. It was morning rush hour. I don’t think anyone would sit on a train at that time if they weren’t going somewhere to get paid. I wanted to follow that lady and see where she worked. What does she do for a living? What does her cubicle look like? Does she like her coworkers? Do they like her? Hey lady! Can I stalk you for a little bit?
The other awesome thing was also on public transportation. I was on a different train–the 2 train going into the financial district. I haven’t been in these parts for years. I used to work at 85 Broad St. for like 7 years from the late ’90s on. Being there was really bringing back the ’90s for me. I had forgotten what a crush of human beings filled the train cars close to 9am. We were all on top of each other, breathing each others’ air, withstanding the conductor’s whimsical breaking. And nobody killed anyone. Not even one murder. People were even saying “excuse me” and “sorry.” I heard it on the radio once… if we were all gorillas in there, we would have ripped each other apart. Blood, mayhem, fury. But we on the train, we didn’t even growl. No one died. Not even a little.
Everyone got off the train, and the other track let off its load, and then there was the effort to get up the stairs. How is this ever going to work? But it did. We all just moved as much as we could, not killing anybody, and we got through it.
AND I even overheard a man offering to carry a woman’s heavy rolling bag up the stairs for her. A strange man asked to carry a strange woman’s bag for her and she let him! Amazing. I just wanted to say I’m impressed. No one died, and a lady got help with her bag.
Okay, sometimes things can be so horrible they are amazingly horrible, and I’m not going to ignore those either. This example comes from this past summer when I discovered a new form of subway torture… it’s when you’re exhausted, and all you want to do is go home and rest your pathetic struggling bones and you waited for 30 minutes standing for the train that finally came and then it stalls on the platform with doors open. And there’s music playing. And sometimes the torture is a singer-songwriter with an original song you don’t like and a voice that is wailing and little bit flat and a need to be liked that is huge–too huge for you to fill. And sometimes it is a saxophone with a meandering solo
that makes you question your love of horns. And sometimes it is this (but longer):
Bagpipes. On the subway. This happened.Share
The subway train conductor breaked like my dad. Herky jerky from a paranoia that somehow never makes you feel safe as much as irritated. At the mercy of paranoid breaking and the congestion patterns of the morning rush hour commute, I was getting fur in my mouth. Fur from the hood of a girl’s brand new, serious winter coat. I looked at the label on the shoulder of the coat–“Canada Goose.” That’s a serious coat. In Canada, they know about serious winter and therefore, serious winter coats, but they have more personal space there, so they don’t know about eating a stranger’s fur in a crowded subway car first thing in the morning.
Koreans, on the other hand, know something about completely surrendering personal space. They know how to pack a subway. It’s not just that we’re smaller physically. It’s that we’re efficient. And we surrender individuality for the good of the whole. The whole commute that is. I remember morning rush hours where the car was packed so tightly you could lift your feet off the floor and still be upright. Nobody really complained. I don’t even remember anyone complaining that much when the businessman who was still drunk from the night before vomited on himself–kimchi vomit no less.
Well, as much as I complain about crowded trains, it does make me feel closer to people. I guess because I’m closer to people. And we’re all there together–gross human beings, all breathing and sweating and enduring together; we’re berated together by the other human being who lashes out at us over the loudspeaker. He’s really had enough, and he lets us have it. For Christ’s sake why can’t we use all available doors and move to the center of the train? People….
I will not be taking the train tonight to play at Chris Rael’s Birthday Bash at The Bell House. I will bring myself and my accordion via my ’94 Corolla, gifted to me by my parents in 1994. They believed in providing their kids with an American education and a means of transportation. They didn’t realize they were facilitating my accordion playing and singing in public. They regretted it later, but they still let me keep the car. And yes, it’s the one that now has a big dent on the passenger side back bumper with the tail light now hanging out at a… jaunty angle. Look, I’m trying to be positive; it’s not natural for me. My tail light is now… a tongue sticking out, uh playfully. Whimsically. Something like that.
I’m excited for the show! I get to play and sing a little on Chris Rael’s great songs and beautiful arrangements. I’m telling you, no one writes a good run like Chris Rael. I get to play all kinds of fast and intricate sections in fun time signatures. I try not to gush too much, because it might make him feel weird, but I listened and listened to that CD of “The Hand” that Bruce burned and gave to me in 1999. I listened to it so much that by 2001, it wouldn’t play anymore. And I don’t even like rock music.
Needless to say, I’m thrilled to be playing tonight. Happy Birthday, Chris!
The Frontier Room
Chris Rael’s Birthday Bash
Church Of Betty, Johnny Society, Low Cut Connie, Blueberry
Thu, January 16, 2014
Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm
The Bell House
149 7th St,
Brooklyn, New York
ph: (718) 643-6510