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…