Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Besame Mucho New York City!

I think New York City is surreal. There is nothing ordinary about it, nothing bland. The thing I find most extraordinary about the city and its people is the acceptance that their life is normal.

Case in point—the Subway. Everyone on the subway seems to take pride in not noticing or acknowledging anything that happens in their surroundings.

Before I illustrate this point—I do have an exception. They seem to have a great understanding of danger and respond to it quickly. One day while riding the subway up to my daughter’s school, in a semi-full car, two teenage boys entered. Not to be judgmental but they looked like trouble. They talked loudly to each other, swore like sailors and took up about 8 seats. They made me feel uncomfortable. At the next stop everyone got off. It didn’t matter if they were black, white, young, old; everyone exited and I noticed many moved to another car on the same train. Being the dumb tourist and thinking I’m only one stop away from my destination I didn’t even try for the door. I sat at the other end of the car alone with the two loud and scary young men. They felt an urgency I hadn't felt. Nothing happened but I have to admit I booked it off that train as soon as humanly possible.

Now, here is the other side of that same story.

I had just bid a final and fond farewell to my fair daughter on a lonely New York street corner. It was 1pm on an ordinary Thursday afternoon. I was very teary and trying my best not to cry. I sat down in a subway car and counted windows, because that is how I stop myself from crying, I count something. In movie theaters it’s the dim lights up on the ceiling and I guess on subways it’s the windows. The doors began to close and two men sat on either side of me.

The doors bounced back open and a Mariachi Band entered the car. Yes, a Mariachi Band, in full regalia. Did I mention it was 1pm on a THURSDAY. There was a man with a little guitar, a man with a ginormous guitar, a man playing the trumpet and the singer. They immediately started to play “Besame Mucho” loudly. Not one person looked at them. I then saw the man sitting on my left surreptitiously take some pictures—so I didn’t feel completely insane about feeling like this was a little out there.

While the band played on a little boy, who couldn’t have been more than nine, held up his I-touch. The application he was using displayed a perfect little hand-gun. The man next to me gestured to the man on the other side to look at the little boy. (I figured out that these two must be friends—I am quick that way.) The little boy pointed the I-gun at people, pulled the I-trigger and it actually I-fired. The three of us looked at him as we saw him I-shoot every person on the train, beginning with the Mariachi Band that was still playing with gusto.

At this point the one man leaned over me, like I wasn’t even there, and in very accented English said, “Dis is unbelievable.” Thank you foreign tourist for being the voice of sanity! We were probably the only three non-New Yorkers in that car.

We arrived at our next stop and the band took off their hats for tips and slowly exited the car. Not one person gave them money (including myself, because I didn’t have any) or looked at them.

At this point I went from trying not to cry to trying not to laugh hysterically and ended up just grinning like an idiot.


  1. Mom--this is a hilarious experience. I didn't know about the scary one, though! That is crazy...well next time just walk to the next car, silly. :)


  2. I think I would look good in spangly sombraro and a ginormous guitar, don't you?

  3. Eden. You crack me up. Again.