Friday, April 11, 2008

Street Life

I was taking the subway. From the corner of my eye, I saw her stop and turn on her heel, I knew she had seen me and was coming over. I made no attempt to acknowledge her, she approached.

"Excuse me," she said, "I'm a photographer."

"Of course you are," I thought to myself.

She continued, "And I'm putting together a book on redheads, would you be interested in taking part?"

I continued to buy my single ride ticket with dimes, slipping twenty of them into the narrow slot, and recited my email address to her. I took the subway and said to myself, "This is why I don't leave the house."

Once a lady stumbled up to me in San Francisco to tell me that my freckles were kisses from the angels, and that when I died I need not fear, because I would be going back home. And once, when I was in the middle of an argument with Mrs Garrett, who was crying almond-eyed tears with a schmear of cream cheese on her bottom lip, a peppy young lady dashed over to ask me: "Have you ever had your hair blown out?" That was preposterous.

I thought about that on my subway ride into Manhattan, that and the time a girl staggered over to me on a nightbus in London and said; "I'll tell you why you're so pretty, it's 'cos you've got sleepy Chinky eyes ain't ya?"

In between First and Third Avenues I smirked, in a somewhat bemused manner, to myself about the time a granny at Associated Supermarket repeatedly and relentlessly asked me; "Well are you? Are you a man or are you a woman? You can tell me." She was so compassionate about it, I almost felt as though I could go through the whole story with her, but time simply did not allow.

For a short while then, between Third and Sixth, I fell into reverie on the endless "You look just like"s; Paul McCartney, Quentin Crisp, Margaret Thatcher, Eric Idle, David Bowie, Oscar Wilde, Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest. I'm waiting on Joan of Arc, I will be so happy when somebody tells me I remind them of Joan of Arc.

I exited the train, thinking to myself, "If I just look at the pavement and hurry along I'll be safe inside the club in mere moments." A gentleman three steps ahead stopped dead still right in front of me, almost instinctually, causing me to slam to a halt myself, to avoid a collision. He looked at me, asked where Renwick Street was and then, without taking a breath asked, "And are you a dandy?" It was a complete non sequitur, and he said it in such a way that I was not entirely sure that he wasn't actually on a religious mission. It almost sounded like, "Do you have Jesus in your life?"

I gave him my email address.

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