Monday, January 11, 2010

Weekend Adventure 2: FOMONOMAD: New York City

This is a face my friend Caitlin has made many times on the New York city subway. It is the face she makes when we have just seen a character.

About a year ago, when I was visiting her, a man got into our car with his pant and shirt sleeves duct taped to his skin. He was carrying a grocery bag full of tapioca snack packs. As the train traveled between stops, his face got angrier and angrier. Finally, nearly foaming with rage, he whipped out a pudding cup, ripped off the lid, ate precisely half of it, and slammed the rest onto the floor. Then he got up and left.

The next time we took the subway together, there was a mushed banana on the floor of our car. A guy got on after us, saw the mushed banana, threw himself down with glee, and began to eat. One of the passengers next to us began gagging. Floor Man looked up at her with a singular gleam in his eye and said "What? I'm a WILD MAN!" And he growled.

Caitlin says this only happens to her when I come to visit. On Saturday night, we took the picture above after we fled a car with a woman who stood up and spat violently, with a great deal of sinusoidal buildup, every thirty seconds. Seasoned in the ways of subway eccentrics, we thought we could endure, until a woman completely covered in her own excrement got on at the next stop. We were out of there.

What is it about this city? I have seen only one dead body in my life, and surprise, it was on the New York City subway (a homeless man, a cold night, a bunch of EMT's around him). I have shared cars with entire mariachi bands, women sobbing, men shouting "balls" over and over. And I haven't had a single comparable experience in DC. Why? Does it really just boil down to tighter regulations and a smaller population?

What is it about New York that makes adventure just sprout up from the earth? And how can I bring that down here?

Here's everything else I did last weekend:

Composed several rousing numbers for a musical called "Tapestry of Letters" with these two, Julia and Reynolds, who have an entire Jareth from "Labyrinth" costume on a wire mannequin in their living room.

PUPPEHS. Julia got a puppy in Stepford, I mean Seaford, Long Island, and I went with her to go pick it up. Everybody say o hai to CAPTAIN WHALEN! That's the puppy's name. I actually don't think he's the puppy pictured, but he looks exactly like it.

Then WE got to be the stars of the subway car--and the LIRR--because we were traveling with a brand new puppy.

After puppies there was Caitlin and:

Movies in 3D (have you read about Avatar-related depression? Jeez);

B.East, a tiny underground speakeasy featuring a jungle of potted plants on the walls, a gigantic loop video of a cat head near the ceiling, and a bartender whose attentions I heartily recommend if you like personalized cocktails with organic juice, rounds on him if you're willing to try something new, and a gratuitous amount of alcohol in whatever you've ordered--but not, alas, if you're getting older and increasingly intolerant of hard booze;

And (on a related note) a Sunday spent sleeping.

On the way out of town, Ray, my driver on Boltbus--hands down the best DC-NY bus service I've tried, and I've tried everything but Megabus--insisted that everyone on board say out loud that they were ready to leave New York. Apparently he had "too much going for him to be brought up on charges of kidnapping." A fitting end to a beautifully crazy couple of days.

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