On the A train platform a man banged on plastic pails with drumsticks. He sat on a low wooden stool. His spectators were a tall well-dressed woman, a few men, and some fidgety kids.
It annoyed me, this banging in the cavernous station. Perfect venue, I suppose for a street ‘musician’ wanting to expand his acoustics. With his head turned upward, he banged repetitively, furiously, entranced. I was impressed by his dexterity, but I wondered how he’d do on real drums — the rhythm was so isolated and his instrumentation was limited. He was good enough for a plastic pail drummer I supposed.
I could have done without it. I had just finished shopping at Whole Foods after a long day. Because of my run down status, I pat myself on the back for doing anything more than just going to work. This day I had come from the other end of town after work and a meeting no less. I forced myself to be out and about, alive and moving, living, bleh blehhhh. When one does this, one must accept that they are mixing with the forces, unable to control what happens around them. Bang, bang, bang, bangidity, bangidity, bop, bop, bangidity, bang, bip, pop, pop, pop…
I didn’t like the pounding on the plastic pail drums coinciding with my movements, my heartbeat, footsteps. It was intrusive. When I got down to the platform and began walking toward the middle where I like to get on the train, I walked purposefully out of synch with the plastic pail beat – I didn’t want to appear as if I enjoyed walking to the beat – plus it would be corny, as if I were perhaps fantasizing about being in a video, or being a runway model. I have my own agenda.
I walked to the newspaper stand and put my Whole Foods bag on the floor between my feet. I wondered briefly if I should hold it in my hand in case some urchin tried snatching it away. These are the kinds of bad things I think about when my body doesn’t have its defenses about it because it’s run down.
Standing at the side of the newspaper stand I entertained myself by staring at the various and sundry magazine covers, glass encased on the side panel. There were glamour magazines, sport magazines, those ‘very specialized’ hip hop magazines like XXL, and fashion magazines.
Mariah Carey. She lost weight. She was on one I don’t remember which one now – in a jogging bra type shirt and, panties. The plastic pail banging went on. I fixated on the magazine cover. Probably airbrushed, but nonetheless the bitch has googobs of money and can afford expensive exfoliates and probably has skin like honey. She looked like candy. I like Mariah Carey, even if I don’t have any of her albums. I thought, I’ll bet her pussy is really nice. Pretty. On the cover of the magazine it is easy to imagine with that luxuriance. I’ve seen different ones. I thought about it. It probably doesn’t have any hair on it. Oh well, and then the train came.
What can I say, I escaped the drumming, but there was a man sitting across from me on the train whose looks I didn’t like. He was generically dressed, pretty average, but there was a sinister undercurrent about him, soulless. He looked like one of those guys you could mistake for being a nice guy, and you might go too far with him but get a rude awakening because he would have no qualms about shooting or stabbing you. Also he was one of the million assholes who turns his iPod or headphones up too loud. I could hear hip hop. I like hip hop. I used to love it. I don’t know what’s happened to it now – maybe I’ll start listening to it again and see. I told you in other words that I really had no business being out because there were poison vibes coming out of me, so everything seemed worse than what it really was. Except for Mariah Carey’s…
This guy, when he didn’t close his legs when a nice older woman sat next to him, I really hated him then. The woman could easily have had more space but this guy wouldn’t budge with his legs wide open. He stared ahead, but you could tell he was really conscious of people around him like he could see you though he wasn’t looking at you. He drooped his head down then toward his knees and started bobbing his head to the hip hop beat — which of course irritated me. There was a deadness to him though. He scared me. When more people got off of the train, I moved my seat because I couldn’t stand being near him with that music too loud and, just him!
When I got home I thought about how wild this world is, and how you had to get something good out of the day because all you really have is the moment. I also thought about how wrong I could have been about that guy that I hated on the A train. I’ve been wrong before — especially when I have poison gasses coming out of me…
Using some kind of a special cake-cutting method where she carved out a circle in the center of the cake, Doody Lady then sliced neat little squared-off pieces from this perfectly round cake. Damn she was talented! I always wondered how people did that. In awe I watched her cut the entire cake this way. She commanded that space, standing, expert, with her long pony tail swinging ever so slightly above the crack of her ass. Jason staggered over with a drink in his hand to help give out the neat pieces of cake that Doody Lady had placed on small, thin paper plates at the end of the bar counter by the kitchen. After licking his fingers of stray icing, he handed me a piece, an end piece with more frosting on it than cake.
“Mmm, mmm, mmm! You don’t know boy! I love’s me some frosting,” I told him.
“Bon appétit,” he said, and I stubbed out my cigarette and anticipated the cake.
I had given Doody Lady that name anyway and wasn’t I twisted? Don’t we all move our bowels? I grabbed the cake and relished it, suppressing my urge to get up and hump at the air in a feigned fucking of the cake, or to moan and to close my eyes rapturously behind each forkful of thick, white frosting. I took the rest of my cake to sit with Dmitri and George in the booth. I pat the seat for George to sit on the same side with Dmitri and me so that I was between them. We ate our cake without speaking. We closed our eyes and nodded at each other between forkfuls. We moaned between mouthfuls, breathed in deeply and exhaled, then licked our forks clean of frosting.
THANKS FOR READING — NOW APROPOS OF NOTHING I’M SHARING THE SONG I LISTENED TO WHILE POSTING (I SAID I’D BE POSTING MORE VIDEOS) — THIS SONG HAS ONE OF THE BEST LINES EVER — “I DON’T WANT TO HURT YOU, I JUST WANT TO KILL YOU!”
I know friends, coworkers, and acquaintances who have met significant others online. “Hell no! I’m not doing it!” I say. Pride. Sheer pride. I’m also not one to go running after boys. Only once did I do something mildly resembling pursuing. In high school there was a boy I saw hanging around the school, never in it. I told a few people that I liked him. “Who IS that guy?” I would ask, knowing it would get back to him. And it did. So he came to my house. I gave him a shot gun with a joint. Later on I told him how I thought that it was so hot to be that close to him like that. He told me that he liked it when we talked in adjacent chairs and I put my foot on the chair between his legs. He was gregarious, very attractive, very wild. He cowed a guy who took out a gun and threatened to kill him. “You better put that fucking gun away or I’ll bust your fucking ass!” He told him and the guy just ran off. I also enjoyed somewhat of a wild style and liked boys who looked rocked out, dirty dirty boys. The boy I’m referring to was named after the astronaut who went into orbit the same year that he was born. He was named after an astronaut and I was, as my friends called me, a ‘space cadet’. He had wild parties in his parents’ house, smoked lots of weed, and played in a band. He introduced me to the music of all these cool bands like Mahavishnu, King Krimson, and artists like Annette Peacock. A lot of elements of what I wanted were there but we were not mature enough to be connected to anything solid. It was two and a half years of not quite getting it, especially with all the alcohol and other stuff involved. He had all the pieces of a type that I like. I suppose I’d punch those elements in today if I were to do the online dating thing.
But fuck that shit – I’d rather die!! I’m fifty in November. It’s THAT age. I know people still hooking up anew at this age. But I don’t, as I’ve said before, want to be one of these poor old women pining for a man well into her 70s. Gotdammit I’ve had my chances! And I have the enduring love for my family, friends… I absolutely want nothing but to continue my relationship with writing… But…‘twould be nice if the right fella came along, old, young, hung, not so hung… Eh…
About a year and a half ago I was in Dunkin Donuts talking on the cell with my Mummy. A man slipped me a note on a Dunkin Donuts napkin that said:
I’m so sorry to bother you but I find you to be the most beautiful, well-spoken intelligent woman I have ever seen. I’m not sure if you’re talking to your significant other but I must give you my resume. I’m single, 43, employed, live alone, I don’t have any children and want to have lunch with you if you allow me to treat you. My name is ________. [phone number]
As a writer, I save all letters. I stored this one away thinking I’d put it to good use. Of course ________ wouldn’t think that I put it to good use because I never called________. ________ was…okay looking. I was highly flattered. Hell, I ain’t got nothing else going on now – well, there is this twenty-something kid I’m wondering if I could “cougar” for a couple of hours if you know what I mean — wink wink…
An old man got on the bus demanding that a woman in front, in the old people seats give up her kid’s seat for him. “Can I have that seat?” He said, pointing to her kid. The bus was a can of Granadaisa Sardines. It was hot and I stood in back of the bus, sweating like a bitch on fire. People were still getting on the bus, squeezing past other passengers and their baggage. People were twisting around to see what was going on. From the back I could hear the man because he was yelling. The woman yelled back, “No!” “What?!” The old man said. “I said no!” She said back. He yelled even louder, “I want that seat!”
The woman wouldn’t budge, so a nice lady, who also had no business sitting in the old people seats, gave him hers. He sat down and screamed to the nice woman who had given him her seat, “I’m sorry. I just had to sit down. She should have given me her seat. I’m sorry.” He said to the mean woman with the brat then, “You’ll get old and I hope they don’t give you a seat!”
I hate when people who have no business sitting in those seats refuse to get up when old people get on. Jesus! It’s printed right on the seats to please let old and handicapped people sit there. People don’t go to charm school anymore. They don’t have manners.
An acquaintance of mine was on the bus. I frowned at him and pointed to the commotion. “That man’s right, those people have no business sitting there. He’s right! I hate that! I hate that!” I said. I wagged my finger and shook my head. I was sweaty and probably looked like a maniac. My acquaintance’s face was red. He seemed overwhelmed with the commotion, with the crowded bus, with the heat, with me wagging my finger at him and sweating. I even riled myself up so much that I got an acid reflux attack. This was fucked up because I wanted to be on time – I hate being late for work. The only remedy for the excruciating acid reflux pain was for me to get off the bus a mile and a half before my stop to buy a bottle of water to stop the pain. So that’s what I did.
The lesson: I was dumb to get upset over a stranger’s conflict. I was already imbalanced as this was supposed to be my day off, I was running late, I was uncomfortable and hot, and as usual, had slept very little. This incident was an easy target for displaced frustration. God forbid I should have been sitting in the front where I could have caused more of a ruckus being an instigator!
So in the sunlight of the spirit I forgive the stupid bitch who was a peasant raised by wolves. The poor thing just didn’t know any better. What does a wolf know? I should accept people’s shortcomings like the bible says — judge not lest ye be judged – something like this. She probably didn’t go to charm school. I didn’t either, but I didn’t have to. I read “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” which has stuff about manners and what not in there.