The other day I was hoofing my subway gig stuff up a set of stairs at 35th st and a woman asked if she could be of help. It's a rare request, maybe because I look like I know what I'm doing, but even the gesture to ask is welcome. This warm hearted woman lifted up the back end of my cart and up we went lighter than usual, in spirit and in physical strain. We chatted briefly about how hard it is to get around with anything of weight in this city. I am always in awe of people (mostly women) carrying precious children in strollers around the archaic and underdeveloped access into our mass transit system.
Thank you my subway angel.
Yesterday while traveling to Columbus Circle I met lovely people from San Francisco needing directions to the Central Park carousel. We struck up a conversation on the B train to Columbus Circle. Recently I watched a clip by Luke Rudowski (wearechange.org) who decided to talk on a subway car with people he chose arbitrarily, because in his words, "nobody ever talks to each other, no eye contact, no interaction, no humanity." He wanted to prove himself wrong. Maybe it was with his experience fresh in my mind that I was comfortable to chat across the car. I knew people were listening. We all do, we just don't appear to be tuning in. We protect, we insulate. Hey it was a nice conversation that was sparked by a girl with a guitar on a shoulder lugging a roll-y bag and nice people wanting to find a NYC treasure.
A subway performer sees the best of people, the smiles, the spontaneous conversations, unlike in a subway car filled with strangers trying to get where they are going with the least resistance. By adding music and a live performer, the resistance is broken down, it's a common denominator, it's safe, no one gets hurt, there's nothing to do if you don't like it but to move your feet away.