"It's 4:00 a.m. I've got the Dr. Hfuhruhurr Ale
I've got nothing to lose so I'm pissin' on the third rail
Groggy eyed and fried I'm headed for the station
D-Train ride Coney Island vacation" Stop That Train - The Beastie Boys
It's strange what memories remain at whim to our instant recall. I often wonder what sparks the mental rolodex and why it can hang on so clearly to a snowy walk home, but yet block out a life changing conversation someone swears you had with them.
The weird shit that I've seen in the New York subway constantly frolics through my grey matter, no matter how long I've been away. It pirouettes through my thoughts at the oddest of moments. Two instances in particular.
The Broadway/Lafayette station in Manhattan has three levels, and a million stairs. Once you depart the train and go up one set of stairs, there is a platform where you can cross over to another track or more stairs to continue up to even more stairs (it takes approximately 5 hours to exit to street level if you're even remotely out of shape).
My ears were encapsulated in Radiohead's "OK Computer", when I bounced up to the semi-deserted platform after my jaunt on the D train. I can't recall why I was there that day, but I definitely remember my peepers zoning in on this man who could easily pass for Pavorotti.
Seeing Pavorotti in the subway, alone would make an interesting tale, but I hardly think it was him. This man was dressed exactly in his likeness though, and even had the Italian trench coat draped expensively over his shoulders, accented with a silky white scarf that probably cost more than everything I had on my person (including electronic apparatuses).
What stopped me in my tracks was what he was doing. He was "skooching", for lack of a better term, sideways across the platform, the way someone would sidle along a ledge of a high rise building before making veiled threats to leap to their demise. He was also sweating like a Republican congressman caught bare-backing a pierced up 14 year old boy behind a McDonalds.
Ironically, "No Surprises" had just entered my ears as I slowly moved past this gigantic panic attack that I so couldn't look away from. He was attached to some earphones as well, and when he reached the center of the platform, he just started bawling as if someone had whispered through them that Toby Keith was penning an all country music opera in German, and that Lincoln Center locked down a 2 year commitment to running it (assuming he liked opera - the mix of that and country definitely brings the idea of cochlear torture to a new disturbing level, not to mention the German aspect).
For some reason I can't forget this, but the last name of the 3rd guy I ever slept with is lost to the ether. (Does that make me a HO? F'excellent.)
The other event that lurks in my back catalog is when I was waiting for the 1 or the 6 at 72nd in the Upper West Side. I was going to rehearsal and had my guitar slung over my shoulder as I paced for what seemed like eternity (that's about 15 NY minutes) waiting for the train.
I'm not usually into hippy looking guys, but there was this one in a tie dyed shirt scoping me out, and he was kind of delish. He had shaggy blonde hair; kind of suntanned as it was summer, and a scarf tied around his head. He looked a bit like a Deadhead pirate from California, but with a great face (and a nice ass, I must say).
He circled around me twice and then went behind whatever those giant pillars are that keep the tunnel above your head (as opposed to crushing it to bits).
I looked away and then back as I saw him peer out from behind the pillar. He smiled, opening wide to bare some fangs at me! Seriously, he had fucking vampire teeth! Not fake waxy shit either; he had the real surgically implanted (or veneers?) bite-bites!
Now a pale Goth doing this at two in the morning in the East Village would not have shocked me (it's almost a pre-requisite on St. Marks), but a tan hippy vampire dude at 72nd hissing about around 5pm? That completely flabbergasted me.
Some other guy interrupted my wide-eyedness to ask me what kind of guitar I had, so I quickly answered and then glanced back but un-deadhead was gone, and I never saw him again (thankfully).
If this kind of yip yap flutters through my brain's waking moments, you can only imagine what I dream about.
I just hope that whatever flashes before my eyes in the seconds before I draw my last breath has absolutely nothing to do with the New York Transit system.
Watch, I'll be killed on the subway now, simply because I wrote it. THAT would be hilarious.
Currently listening :
By Beastie Boys
Release date: 1989-07-19
THANK YOU, STEEL CHINA
10 months ago