LIRR a spot for chaos or calm
November 5, 2009 LIRR Arrived ready to set up and Ricardo steel drummer was playing he was a joyful fellow from Trinidad and we laughed about our fun life…
The performance location is between the flower stand and McDonalds, so I get this amazing color from the flowers and the close proximity of the people stopping by to buy bouquets, a lovely energy. The people coming in and out of McDo’s couldn’t be more diverse. I don’t really like the smell, but tolerate it better than the constant hum=roar of a large machine? Fan? Don’t know what it is, but it’s somewhere behind me. People linger, lean on columns, listen. I started with 2 women listening standing close, which helped other people feel comfortable to stop too. One had no teeth, the other had a shopping basket full of stuff. They seemed to be familiar with other people walking by. I’m uncomfortable to suggest they were most likely homeless, or 2 lost souls, but they were so bright, 2 such lights make our world a lovely place. They moved to the rhythms and from time to time said things like “oh I like that one!”
A large man came by and asked if the song I sang was mine, I said no, but said I’ll play you one, he looked at my CD’s and handed me a $20 I tried to give him 2 discs, but he refused saying no it was worth it. He seemed Russian by his accent. He hung around for a while intently listening and enjoying my songs. Other people came by, a woman who said she too was a guitarist and harmonica player, she left her card, others bought CD’s and ran to catch trains. And some really run in LIRR station. One guy’s legs were thrusting out so fast in front of him he looked like a crazy marionette not in control of his propulsion and so his legs seemed to go in all directions, like a cartoon character.
At the end, I had been chatting with a guitarist about the MUNY program, he was a children’s songwriter. The flower guy asked if I could give him some dollars. His broken English made me unsure at first what he was asking, 40 $1 bills. I normally don’t like counting out my tips in public, but the spot was protective and the flower guy and the musician were there so I didn’t feel so vulnerable. I actually did have $40 in dollars so not a bad day. The guy was very appreciative. I took the larger bills from CD sales out of my back pocket and looked at the $20 tip from the first guy, of course now with glasses on I could see it was actually a Grant! First time I’ve ever gotten such a large tip for a CD in the subway.
Guilty pleasure, I planned on going to Whole Foods for a grocery stop so took the $50 and went and sat at Bar Masa- that tip never tasted so good. Autumn steamed vegetables, cold saki, and a crispy fish head.