Friday, July 26, 2002

Today I saw a leprechaun. At least I think that’s what he was, despite his street-clothes disguise. Five feet two in his sneakers, wide-set pale blue eyes, of that sort that seem to be more three-dimensional than most, so that they goggle, bowling ball-like, at one. Wide forehead on a heavy face that tapers to a surprise pointed chin. Draw a triangle and turn it to stand on its skinny end, and you get the idea. Anyway, it was a leprechaun, just missing the little green suit, and the general air of jollity.

It being Manhattan, this particular leprechaun looked sweaty and miserable, pining, no doubt, for the emerald green lawns of his native land.

Shortly thereafter a water nymph passed by—this was all on the west side of La Guardia Pl., between the giant (by urban standards) Associated grocery and the row of outdoor cafés. The nymph looked confused, startled even, as if she had been plunked down that very instant in the mid-Village, and was trying to figure out which way the beach was.

She had a vague small face and a lot of curly blond hair, and was sliding along the sidewalk without picking up her feet.

After that the prototypical New York Girl on Prince Street seemed almost an afterthought. She: black long sleeved shirt, black long pants, black shoes with fashionably chunky segmented soles that resembled nothing so much as giant dead beetles. Long ponytailed hair, dyed that odd dark cherry color that results from dark brown hair treated with Clairol Natural Instincts in Rosewood. The body neither thin nor fat, but shaped in that peculiar NY health club way (Crunch, would be my guess). Expression: glazed, guarded, old-as-the-hills, inclined to be difficult when trapped in an elevator, sassy and ironic on a first date.

Then I caught my own reflection in a window and had to laugh. Scrappy plaid country hick-type person, slouching along with bad posture in comfortable blue shoes. And yet I can tell you how to get to Bedford and Downing, and where the good bicycle through-route is to the West Side Highway, and which is the least crowded train to Queens at rush hour (the new and mysterious V).

I 'pose it takes all kinds, but sometimes the array of kinds is enough to make you stand, slack-jawed, staring.

Thursday, July 25, 2002

Despite the continued spate of nice weather, this seems to be one of those days when the rudeness quotient of New York City is stratospheric. Generally people are most cranky when it’s hot and humid, but perhaps a sudden burst of September air in the midst of nearly-August has so dazzled people that they've forgotten any semblance of politeness and consideration they once possessed.

I dunno. Whatever it is, the raspberry you don’t hear but would if this were an audio technology instead of a visual one goes out to:

The fat black woman who, when she lost out on getting a subway seat to a man in creased khakis, decided to obtain one for herself by sitting on my leg. I am not exaggerating. Her big wide ass was SEATED on top of my small, stringy thigh. Ouch, and furthermore, FUCK YOU LADY. I not only got up, I got out at the next stop to wait for another train. It was either that or sticking a pencil right into her eye.

I only had a calligraphy pen, and while it was a cheap calligraphy pen, it still wasn’t worth getting eye-goo all over the nib. So I switched trains.

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

After long absence, the blog returns. Sorry folks, observations delayed due to opaque and all-encompassing work-related blinders, decreeing that I: a) not see the outside world for more than two minutes at a time, and b) not have a moment to write about those two minutes anyway.

Okay, so today we have a breezy crystalline day, complete with a curious, almost beachy smell along Seventh Ave.

Visited an old haunt of mine, a very special jazz club tucked in among the tourist traps. It wasn’t open, of course, it being lunchtime, but—all the better—there was a band rehearsing below stairs, the fat (and phat) groove bursting out of the depths like an ode to something. At one point, a saxophonist crept up to the top of the stairs and asked me if I’d seen a baby. His fellows were still playing below, and I must have gawked a bit at the question, for he soon explained that someone was supposed to be bringing his infant son by.

Now, the whole scenario was just beautiful—every angle of it. The well-remembered club, its details filled in by my mind’s eye rather than my physical eyes, as I was only able to stand outside. The rich, gorgeous sounds spilling out of the open doorway. The handsome black musician, with his sax held loosely between the fingers of his right hand, dangling almost, so much a part of his body he need not spare attention for more careful holding. And then, best of all, this tiny secret glimpse of a musician’s life. A working player, with his baby son about to arrive for the afternoon jam.

How I miss that part of my life—the one where I’d stay up late even on weeknights to catch some music, where my schedule was molded in Play-doh rather than stone. When I didn’t feel that all my resources were more than drained by the end of an ordinary day. When I wouldn’t need a month of Sundays lined up one by one, little pigs waiting for me, just to recover from a single night’s debauched jazz fix.

Anyway, that must be why folks complain about aging. It’s not the wrinkles, it’s the wear and tear on your energy. It’s the infernal limiting of possibilities. Fuck that.