newest entry 2001-10-21 1:02 a.m.

Another Example of How NYC Ain't Getting "Back to Normal" Anytime Soon

MonkeyA and I were standing on the downtown W platform at Union Square tonight, after seeing the very good L.I.E. with our friends FilmThreat and Hepburn. We were waiting for an awfully long time....Bored and a little grumpy, I looked across at the uptown platform and spotted an acquaintance of ours--the guy who threw that not-so-great party in Queens last weekend.

Cross-platform conversations make me feel self-conscious, and I was feeling tired and a little withdrawn, so I did what I always do in such circumstances: I hid behind a pillar and pretended I didn't see him.

The minutes dragged on, the platform filled up, and the subway was stultifying. Softly, over the muffled Babel, we We looked over, and sure enough, it was our friend, playing guitar and singing, without a trace of bashfulness.

I'm not a big fan of his Dylan-does-Cabaret style, but I have to admit, he found a perfect audience. Instead of behaving like typical subway riders, they didn't ignore him, but turned in his direction, and listened attentively. Before you know it, couples started dancing. Dancing! And at the end of each song: thunderous applause, smiles all around.

I came out from my hiding place and waved broadly to him across the platform, my gesture acknowledged by a big smile and nod. And for the millionth time in this crazy life-during-wartime autumn, I felt teary-eyed, grateful and very alive.

Tonight marks the second time in as many nights that I've walked into a bar and seen a student of mine. Neither bar was in the neighborhood I teach in , either, making it doubly strange. And triply strange, the student tonight was also an old college roommate of Monkey's--he recognized her first, and then I realized who she was. She was tipsy and effusive, and said to her friend, about me, "She's my favorite class!"

Monkey surprised me with Mercury Rev's new CD, and so far it's delicious.

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