I’ve heard lately that if I can make it here, apparently I can make it anywhere. Not so sure about that. I’ve been here three months. Certainly not long enough to qualify as making it here, but long enough to give me reason to believe that I will eventually make it here. And when that does happen, I don’t believe I will subsequently be able to make it anywhere. For example, I don’t believe I’d ever make it in China. What, without Google? Forget about it. I don’t have the slightest idea how I researched anything pre-Google. Plus I’ve never really liked Chinese food, even on New Years.
For such a big city, it’s the little things that continuously make me not hate it here. For example, there is perhaps no greater New York pleasure then unexpectedly grabbing an express train after you’ve already resigned yourself to a local train. It goes like this: let’s say you can take either the 4/5 express train, or the 2 /3 local train to your quaint abode in Crown Heights. The 2 comes first so you figure, “screw it; I’ll just take the 2 so I don’t have to wait any longer.” Then, a few stops down the line, your train pulls into the station and there across the landing is the 4 train. You gallop on board, instantly shaving ten minutes off your trip. Wonderful. No matter what was happening on that 2 train, you get on that 4 train. It doesn’t matter if you have just met your long-lost brother.
“Wait… so if your father is George Quinn, and my father is George Quinn, that means, we’re - Oh my god, AN EXPRESS TRAIN!” And off you go.
Of course sometimes you get on the train one evening and wonder why there is no one else in that particular car despite the packed subway station. It’s only after the doors close do you notice the belligerent homeless man sprawled on the floor or the car. If you’re as lucky as yours truly, sometimes that man will proceed to stand up, scream at you, and then chuck half-eaten chicken bones at your skull.
As disturbing as that incident was while it was happening, I instantly thought about how it would make a wonderful anecdote for this blog. Just goes to show how much you mean to me, readers.
I’ve been the weirdo on the train before. Why just last week I was running to catch the 6 train, and thanks to my exaggerated arm waving, I nailed a jutting pole with the back of my hand. Desperate to catch the train, I didn’t bother to look to see if I was hurt. I made it on the 6 and I noticed everyone backing away from me, forming a circle. Wondering what the hell was wrong with them, I looked down to see my hand gushing blood. Like a geyser. Because I’m a child, my initial reaction was to grab my wrist screaming, “my hand” while I tried to think of a plan. Eventually I just stuck my hand in my jacket pocket and let it bleed out. It’s a wonder I don’t have serious medical problems.
I’ve had some interesting shows in the past few weeks. One was a show I did at a “venue” in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I put venue in quotation marks because I’m not sure the joint actually qualified as such. It was more like a hollowed-out storage closet. There was no bar, no kitchen, no wait-staff. There was no one to stop anyone from bringing in outside booze or smoking butts or hitin’ reefer.
(Just to placate any concerned relatives, I must mention that I did not partake in the last activity. Chiefly because I didn’t want to, but also because I’m not sure I would have been able to locate the microphone –let alone tell jokes – if I had.)
Williamsburg is the hip section of Brooklyn. What the Haight-Ashbury was to hippies is what Williamsburg is to hipsters. I suppose. I’ve never actually lived in either. Anyway, there are a lot of flannel-clad, unnecessary-eyeglasses-wearing cool cats in Williamsburg. I fit in with them no better then with the Caribbeans and Hassidics who reside in Crown Heights. It seems, unfortunately, that the only place dweeby suburbanites fit in is in the suburbs. But my beard helps; I look Jewish in the Hassidic neighborhoods and hip in Williamsburg.
The show was almost an afterthought to the tempered debauchery. I don’t even smoke, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to puff a cigarette on stage while I sipped from my smuggled beer. I started with new stuff like I usually do at open mics, but then abandoned them in favor of my raunchiest jokes. It just felt right.
A comic passed around a flask of whisky. I sort-of smoked another cigarette. Mostly I just stuck the cig in my month and blew into it, like a party favor. As much as I outwardly disdain the hipster culture, I still want them to think I am cool and like me.
I took the train home and it took forever. I woke up the next day and went to work hung-over, the awful, guilt-inducing cigarette taste lingering in my mouth.