Monday, April 13, 2009
There is a new fixture in and around the R/V/G Steinway station in my neighborhood. A man with a harmonica/drum contraption and a banjo performs for money. He wears a black blazer and no shoes. His hair appears to have once been a golden blond, and his light eyes are bloodshot. He's not covered in dirt, but grime--just unwashed buildup. To bang out his no rhythm ditties he uses Sharpies, leaving green and purple marks on the surface--colors concentrated, yet somehow subtle...must be a new thing. His improvised music is incoherently performed with fervor, leaving it aimless. Music seems to just be the most available option to him, and not something studied, valued, or instinctual. While shouting his jibberish lyrics, he displays a hat that beckons for change. It seems to me that it would be a great disturbance to actually drop something into that hat. I never have, and I see him every time I'm in the area. He must be a transplant, from times and places I've never seen, arriving in the international blender that is Astoria--Steinway Street-complete with discount hosiery, the Mickey Dee's Dollar menu, and Italian suits. I think he must have stepped onto the wrong train, blacked out, and woke up here. Am I a part of this man's nightmare?