Ten minutes until the next train. Silence in the station. That guy over there, probably just looking to get out of the elements. The lady with the stroller, gently rocking it back and forth as her child gently sleeps. Her, fashion diva, long thin legs decked out in matte black boots. Him, his suit without a wrinkle, perfectly done bow tie. And then it came. The train. Air rushing out of the tunnel, first barely a breeze. Then whipping to hurricane like forces as the train nears. Push. Push the air. Steel beast guided by tracks that feed the heartbeat of the city. Push the air out of the confines of the hole you speed through. The hole carved out of stone. Blue sparks light the darkness as you rush to stop. I step onto your floor and you push again. But now I am inside and can no longer feel your power. Only the gentle rocking, like I am in the stroller. And the silence becomes the click clack of your wheels on the rails. And the air you push touches someone else at the next station.
You really think I can go to New York and not get something out of it? I weave random conversation fragments overheard at the watering hole I love to frequent in lower Manhattan. "All the time I spent skipping class" "WD-40 is the bait" "Reel them in" "With all due respect, you are a dick" "And we routed the boat because there was no gas" "Then they started talking drugs and stuff" "But he kept on fishing" "Ready to get some Biggles" "We cannot stand at the bar" "You really should have better permissions "
A couple walking down the sidewalk Their stride in perfect unison A man in a black trench coat Carries a white fluffy dog A broker passes by while on the phone Talking about investments and returns An elderly woman limps Asking for change along the way A kid on a ten speed Weaves through traffic
Intricate little details Carvings in stone Until the third floor horizon When walls become plain Inside Exposed brick and beam Warm heat, fluorescent Crooked walls Personality Outside
Here is the 100th just10things. As I warned, there would be a time when the numbers needed to change, or be
validated violated . At times I cannot believe that I've managed to stay true for this long, and that you have continued to support me through my often always random musings. I'm going for broke with just100things tonight, while unplanned, it was still planned, but not this way. Enjoy!
Time to take a break. I'm tired, my credit card needs a rest. I will miss it here, and haven't given up hope of someday soon calling it home, but it will be a couple months at least before those plans have any chance of coming to fruition. So today...
I say goodbye to Manhattan, goodbye to Brooklyn, goodbye to Harrison, goodbye to NJ Penn, goodbye to Wall Street, goodbye to new friends, goodbye to dear friends, goodbye to poetry readings, goodbye to good food (guess I'll start cooking again), goodbye to posh bars with expensive drinks, goodbye to the R train, goodbye to the coffee shop at 40 Wall (they are closing their doors for good), goodbye to late nights, goodbye to really late nights, goodbye to crowds, goodbye to protests, goodbye to the PATH train, goodbye to crazy cabs, goodbye to good shops, goodbye to colleagues in town, goodbye to early morning flights, goodbye to not having to drive, goodbye to sweet smells, goodbye to not having personal space, goodbye to random strangers, goodbye to long distance Daddy, goodbye to massive expenses, goodbye to searching for a water closet before hopping on the train, goodbye to getting lost (I'll still do that aplenty), goodbye to Cuban sammys, goodbye to Bowery, goodbye to endless nights walking Broadway, goodbye to city rain, goodbye to cold windy streets, goodbye to Pearl St, goodbye to Mary and Noel at Killarney Rose, goodbye to EWR (not really going to miss this one), goodbye to tourists, goodbye to waiting for the hotel shuttle, goodbye to the hotel staff that always made me feel at home, goodbye to the 2/3 train, goodbye to complete strangers that put me back in the right direction, goodbye to a first (and last) date, goodbye to subway maps, goodbye to my Metro card, goodbye to gin and lemonade, goodbye to Soho, goodbye to Chelsea, goodbye to Bar 13, goodbye to the sounds of the train outside my hotel (sleep is difficult without the noise), goodbye to escargot, goodbye to pumpkin ravioli, goodbye to the river and the bench at the edge, goodbye to dusk that makes the city sexy, goodbye to accordion players on trains, goodbye to station dancers, goodbye to French (I have not been counting, but sticks out as the most often heard language), goodbye to barricades, goodbye to riot gear, goodbye to marching bands that only know two notes, goodbye to living out of an 18" roller, goodbye to WTC, goodbye to machine gun armed military, goodbye to public restrooms that make you gag, goodbye to people more lost than me that ask for directions, goodbye to holiday decorations, goodbye to turnstiles, goodbye to subway stairs, goodbye to dragging luggage through crowded streets, goodbye to pigeons, goodbye to the dog walkers, goodbye to almost getting run over by a bicycle, goodbye to $5.00 umbrellas when you forgot yours again, goodbye to hydroplaning on a Jersey highway on the way to the airport, goodbye to the homeless man who passed away, goodbye to Starbucks hopping, goodbye to searching for power outlets, goodbye to mice on the train tracks, goodbye to the elevator cricket, goodbye to not having cash for a cab, goodbye to long lines, goodbye to rooftop views, goodbye to meeting for dinner, goodbye to getting locked out of the hotel, goodbye to a brutal sun baking the pavement, goodbye to forgetting to pack something, goodbye to missed flights, goodbye to "I'll be home late", goodbye to tall buildings, goodbye to food trucks, goodbye to street vendors, goodbye to horns honking, goodbye to leopard print, goodbye to lots and lots of boots, goodbye to sirens, goodbye to crossing Church St in the morning, goodbye to sidewalks, goodbye to ignoring crosswalk signals, goodbye to Central Park
100. Goodbye New York, goodbye, but only for a little while!
Or sea monkeys that live forever Oh, the hangovers find me well In this body that refuses to age Stand up artist, pickup paragraphs and Missed connections as I paint a picture and crumple it up The now blank canvas fades to gray In a colorful world Full of living the moments for Sweet smells of your whiskey
The fact that we stand so close On the same train, the same car Twice is coincidence Three times tempting fate I get on at Penn, you at Harrison Once last week, yesterday And then today, again You stare at me with your unforgettable eyes We both shift nervously as the train rocks us in unison We exit at WTC and go our separate ways
Even though I was born a Northerner, I've lived in the South since 1982(ish), and the South is my home (for now), my roots (for always). In the South, we still hold open the door for ladies, we say "Thank you," "Yes Sir," and "Yes, Ma'am," and I've come to realize, that these acts are appreciated far North of where I call home. I haven't gone as far as to throw my coat over a puddle (yet), but generally speaking, a little bit of kindness goes a long way, even if all you get is an odd stare. I get strange looks and odd replies when I hold the elevator door, I get hesitation when I allow someone else to go first through the turnstile at the train station. I get evil glares when I offer my seat on the subway to someone who clearly needs it more than I. These gestures of human (Southern) kindness are accepted, with oddities, even in the millions of people city they call New York. Do I get irritated at the people who look up as they walk forward, yes! Do I curse the people that merge into pedestrian traffic only to stop short as you rear end them, yes! Do I mumble under my breath when someone in front of me is texting or Facebooking or emailing and blocks the clear path to where I need to go, yes. But I do smile as I side step to avoid their meandering ways. These last 2 days have been an overload of just10things, mostly centered around 2 events that should honestly be their own entry. Me, getting close to the milestones of 100 posts and 1 year of just10things, I've somehow come down with a case of writers block, so I am curled up on the most uncomfortable couch in my lovely hotel room with the determination that I will post this tonight (and since you are reading it, I must have been successful). 1st run in with 10 this week: My favorite Irish pub in lower Manhattan on a Monday at 6PM is typically slow. On any day, though, it is still full of investors and bankers and your general "Wall St." crowd that like to talk about money in the 10's or 100's of thousands and 20 dollar bills flow like water. This Monday, after having been up since 3AM, I wasn't really in the mood to listen, but did need a calm me down drink before jumping back on the train and settling into the hotel room for the night. Two businessmen sat next to me at the bar, about 5 minutes after I arrived. One "gentleman" (using Gentleman lightly), probably mid 40's, proceeded to order drinks. I will admit, the bartender is cute, and Irish, and has a great accent, but I know my place. He ordered, within an hour, 10 vodka tonics. Why, you ask? Because she needed to bend down for each drink to reach a new glass and he had a clear shot at looking down her shirt! He was totally shit faced by round 4, and honestly, I think she was watering down the drinks by round 5, but I cannot be sure. So NOT Southern!!! So disrespectful!!! 2nd run in with 10 this week: Standing outside NJ Penn Station waiting ever so patiently Monday night for the hotel shuttle to arrive, nothing abnormal going on. A gal who could not have been more than 20 dressed in purple jeans and a Pink brand sweat shirt, walks up to me and says (as if rehearsed), "Pardon, I mean no disrespect, but could you lend me money for the train to NY?" I replied that I had no change, but how much did she need (knowing the cost of the train to the city), which she promptly answered, "Five, er, uh, four dollars." WOW! I've become used to the "Can you spare a quarter" and "Can you spare a dollar," but the guts to go immediately for a five spot completely floored me. I had 3 dollars, which I gave her and she did say "Thank you." Due to miss communication, my hotel shuttle was delayed 45 minutes. In those 45 minutes, she worked the crowd at the train station, passing by me, and thanking me again, 10 times exactly. Thank goodness the shuttle showed up or I would have to venture into just12things or something. Young and presumably out of work, I suppose... I guess we all pay. 3rd run in with 10 this week: And it's only Tuesday! 10 people in front of me in line for coffee this morning. I was having coffee withdraw shakes and no one could seem to make up their mind. And with that there, my friends, I end this night. My week has been overloaded and technically, this post is 30things, which reminds me of thirty something, which I'm sitting at the higher end of, yet, I pretend to be twenty something. As of now, it's working , and the energy keeps coming, so I'll leave it at that! Good night, my friends, good night.
My reflection, dance the ghost with me. Meet me in Chi Town and ring in the new year, you love it just as much as I do. In the mean time, I'll be in Brooklyn. It's coincidental what leaving at a specific time does to your experience. It's crazy to think that a one second delay can lead to silly encounters. It's wicked how decisions can lead to beautiful moments. It's other worldly how much people you don't know can talk, thereby causing the delay that leads you to a place where you end up having a dashing night of fun. Yeah, I said dashing. Franklin park reading night, dressed in flowery hippie fashion, jazz blasting, reggae blaring, garage door style entrance, chic crowd, cash only, I'm exhausted but I'm staying, call me crazy, dark hair horn rimmed glasses, I won't take you home, but we can talk, it's a different vibe than Manhattan, swing to the left, sashay to the right, bleed emotion in the prose, and a southern, albeit distant, twang in your voice that burns a memory in a brain part that I can't pronounce or spell, buy a book, make a friend, talents shared, whiskey shot, lemon drop, it all tastes the same. 1. Cabs: 87% carry a stench of stale sweat that never shares the fare, the remaining 13% I try not to place the smell 2. Slightly interested: When I asked if I could buy you a drink... you answered. No fru-fru fancy cocktail, no $20 glass of wine, no exotic craft brew, but a "yes" to a PBR? 3. Truffle fries: fireworks in my mouth 4. Stranded: There is no sunken helpless and lost feeling as bad as trying to catch a cab when none are rolling by at 430AM with a dead cell phone in the middle of Brooklyn 5. NYPD: Coming out of the subway to be greeted by a hundred officers in full riot gear is not a pleasant way to start a Thursday morning 6. Floral arrangements: The most beautiful I've seen wrapped in plain white paper carried by some random stranger on the train 7. Accordions: Pleasant tunes as a hat passed round for tips, again on the train 8. Fine lines: Details and the devil within 9. Intrigue: Leave it to distance to spark 10. Words: Expressions and combinations to make you pause and reflect