Saturday, November 19, 2005

Idillically pathetic, pathetically idillic

Okay. I have to report this. I mean, I never thought it would happen to me. I thought, "That happens to other people... not me." There's no history of it in my family; there's nothing in my personal history that would predispose me to it or put me at risk of it. You just never think it'll happen to you, and then it hits home, and it's more real than you could ever imagine. That's what's happened to me, and I'm dumbfounded by the ugly, horrid truth, which I'm now forced to face as grim reality...

I cussed out a cabbie.

Why would I do that? I've been confronted with ineptitude before, and it never affected me so potently as this. And to cuss out a complete stranger first thing in the morning... it's just not me. I would never do such a thing. That is, of course, until yesterday morning. I was running late for the van to Lincoln Center, so I figured I'd take a cab. On a previous late morning, taking a cab to the van did the trick beautifully, and I caught the van with no trouble. This time, I assumed things would be no different, and a cab pulled up as if on cue, just as I'd set foot onto the street. I told him to take me to the other side of the Fordham campus, where the vans were waiting. The cabbie, in a thinck and unintelligeable accent, said, "Okay. I take you." He then proceeded to drive in entirely the wrong direction. I gently corrected him, repeating that I wanted to go to the Fordham campus. "Oh, okay, okay. That is then I taking you." Right. So we turned around again, only now in another wrong direction. I had only three or four minutes left now in which to reach the van, so I remind him, a bit more forcefully this time, that I asked to be taken to the Fordham University compus. "Oh," he said. "You no say university." That's when I lost it. In a nutshell, I gave him a rundown of a definition of the word campus, punctuated with some slightly off-color terms here and there. By the end of my cab ride, I had missed the van by five minutes, I was still on the wrong side of campus (although I'd finally managed to at least get there), and I refused to pay the cabbie the fare he asked for... he wanted eight bucks, I gave him five. Frankly, he's lucky to have gotten that much.

Tonight, I was all set to perform at an open mic in the lower east side, at a place called the Orange Bear Bar. To be honest, it sounded like a gay biker bar to me, but I had it on good authority that it was actually a neat little live music venue without any specific alternative lifestyle flair. Anyway, I went, arriving just in time... to fnd it closed. No open mic, not even a light on. No problem, I thought. I was pissed, sure, but I wasn't about to tuck my guitar between my legs and run home just yet. After a couple of phonecalls, I discovered another possible open mic taking place just a few blocks away. Okay, more like fourteen blocks away, but whatever. Actually, it was at Micky's Blue Room, where I'd performed the previous weekend, so I knew the area a bit. So, guitar strapped to my back, I hiked out to the Blue Room. Sure enough, there was an open mic going on... for stand-up comics. Really, really bad ones. I stayed around and had a few beers while these painfully unfunny people tried to play to me, the only non-comic there. After about the fourth beer, they still weren't getting any funnier, so I left. From there, I literally walked the streets, combing the blocks and blocks of bars and live music venues in search of a possible open mic or performance opportunity. After a good bit of that, I gave up on the search and went in to Katz's for a bite (and what may well be the best cheesecake I've ever had). All in all, not a great night, Then again, no a bad one, either.

Yeah, it sucked that I didn't find a gig tonight... no biggie. Because there I was, my guitar on my back, walking up and down the streets of the lower east side, soaking everything in, writing lyrics in my head, hearing music all over the place coming together to form a single resounding melody in the core of me. I don't think it gets any better, any more idillic, than that very image. And cussing out cabbies, on top of everything else... perhaps I'm absorbing more of New York than I thought. Someone even told me earlier today that I look very upper west side. Yeah, right. I don't think I look like much of anything, but it doesn't matter. I like where I am, who I am, what I am, what I'm doing. And if it takes walking up and down the streets of this mystical place to truly thrive in it and make it my own, then so be it.


Blogger christine said...

nice...i wish i could have been there for such a grand gesture...way to cuss out that

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 11:16:00 AM  

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