Monday, October 16, 2006

The Subway This Morning

I'm sitting on the subway this morning when a guy in the back of the train starts yelling. Sounds like a drunk Rastafarian. I'm thinking he's homeless and he's going to make an appeal for change and snacks. He yells out something about "ladies and gentlemen" and "sweet music on the subway" and then there's this tremendous ruckus that sounds like a big band with the man joining in on trumpet.

I look up and it's not a Rastafarian, but a little man in a Tyrolean hat with suspenders on, only they're not connected to lederhosen, but a speaker that covers most of his torso. He's playing the theme song from the movie "Brazil," and he's backed by a pre-recorded orchestra. The sound quality is surprisingly good and it fills the train car.

The music stops and the little man starts talking again. His speech patterns are hard to follow -- a lot of shouts and arbitrary emphasis on the wrong parts of words. The next song is "The Girl From Ipanema." After that, he calls out something like "A special soooong ... New Yooorrrrk!" His accent is now distinctly Eastern European, maybe Croatian. As he gets closer, I see that his Tyrolean hat is made of mesh and he's attached it by drawstring to his battered tin trumpet. It's dangling upside down and it's rapidly filling with dollar bills and change. The next song is, of course, "New York, New York." I contribute a crumpled dollar.

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