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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Ziplock Oatmeal and Tongue Lips?

I saw a man eating oatmeal out of a ziplock baggie on the subway this morning, with a plastic fork. Now, I gotta hand it to this guy on one hand, because I hate carrying around my plastic container all day after I have eaten oatmeal on the go. I didn't see a man-purse on him, so this is a very logical choice. But...a plastic fork? Everyone knows you eat oatmeal with a spoon! It was amusing to watch as he forged into every nook and cranny to fish out all the clumpy clumps that stuck to every inch of the bag...sometimes squeezing it out like toothpaste.

This was all happening just inches away from a man who looked like he was sitting there sleeping with his tongue half sticking out in between his lips. I instantly caught a glimpse of him just as a tiny boy sidled over towards him to grab onto the pole on that seat. The man's "tongue" startled the boy who immediately let go of the pole and jumped as far away from him as he could. I watched as the boy stared from a far, trying to make sense of this. I did as well. Is this the man's relaxed state? Had his coffee been too hot and he had burnt the poor thing? Every once in a while the small boy would get as close as he could until he grew frightened again and would dart away. Shortly after the boy and his family left the train we were nearing this man's stop. Only I would notice, as he opened his eyes and saw me stealing glances, that his "tongue" was actually just the inner edge of his bottom lip, which was more pink in color against his darker skin. I hope he didn't think we had a "missed connection".

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Tiny Dancer

I had just stepped onto the uptown N train platform below Union Square. I was joining a few others, but it wasn't too crowded, so the wait would not be long. A small woman, wrapped in Muslim sheathes, was playing a synthesizer on the opposite platform. I am calling it a synthesizer because this looked like one of the originals. I mean, the keyboard was so large it nearly hid her entire body. Having finished a tardy, if not spirited rendition of Joy the the World over a week after Christmas, she began the familiar notes to "Fur Elise". Just then, the scrawny homeless man who slid under the turnstile before me approached and appeared to check the time on the digital clock hanging above. Suddenly he began attempting to reach it, as there was a sticker of some sort that he felt it was necessary to remove. The sticker on the clock was just barely in reach and he could only rip it off in tiny strips. He stood on his tip-toes and balanced himself by allowing his free arm to circle himself. It almost fluttered gracefully like a ballerina's port de bra. Having scraped off another strip, he switched arms and popped back up on the toes and proceeded to circle the other arm several times just the same. He repeated these moves several times even as the train came and I left on it. Had Beethoven's gentle melodies overtaken him? For what reason did he feel it vital to remove that darn sticker? To what do we owe his elegance and delicate artistry? More importantly, when can I see it again?