Friday, May 17, 2013

A petite, young Asian woman stood in the middle of the 7 train platform with a guitar, the case open at her feet. She had a mic too, and she was amplified, ready to go. She played quick, jabbing chords as she tuned up and adjusted her volume. Commuters flowed by on either side. A westbound train left the station. An eastbound one came in. Still she played her tense, little chords. Someone bent over and left her a buck. I wondered whether this was her act. All preparation. No singing. No songs.

A deeply hunched vagrant drifted by erratically, looking straight at the space right past his dirty shoes. People took note of him as they do in New York City: as the wild card in their midst. The performer eyed him with a trace of concern. Two more chords: jank-jank.

As people got on and off the train I heard him bark at someone. People turned to look in his direction. When I did, too, he was gone.