The guy sitting behind me on my train called his bookie and was placing bets on tonight’s baseball games. Loud and clear for all to hear! I’m not making this up! $200 on the Red Sox. $150 on the White Sox.
And that’s as far as he got. I gave him the juice.
I’ve seen people get angry over the inability to make a call but this guy exhibited a deep, primal rage you don’t see in public very often. He was desperate to get these bets in—it was 6:55 and the games start at 7:05—but try as he might he couldn’t get through to his bookie. I pictured one of Tony Soprano’s Jersey goombahs on the other end.
He was furious. It was the first time I worried about retribution. Guys with that kind of deep commitment to gambling seem to have a very low threshold for anger. Have you noticed?
* * *
I have become a Zen master gunslinger with my cell phone jammer. I was toying with my prey du jour—yet another yappy sorority chippy—and I needed to send a quick text message. I held my jammer in my left hand underneath a paperback of Truman Capote short stories. My index finger rested gently on the power switch. Economy of movement is key. In my right hand, I tapped out a text message. Then, with one fluid motion, I clicked off the jammer with my left hand and opened a brief window in the cell phone frequencies, hit the send button on the phone in my right hand and quickly activated my jammer again after my message went through. The entire sequence took a matter of seconds.
It’s a shame it’s not an Olympic event.
* * *
Are you watching True Blood? It’s fantastic! It’s got everything! Graphic sex, well-crafted scripts and story lines, hot sex, superb acting (with some fine American accents being faked), lust! lust! lust!, vampires and gore galore and some pretty raw sex scenes. Plus, best of all, the villains are a bunch of right wing religious nuts. They’re the REAL blood suckers!
I was in downtown Brooklyn recently and came across this daring claim that was posted on some scaffolding:
Yo, Brooklyn. Downtown Brooklyn—Fulton Street, to be exact—is the epicenter for sneaker culture, so if you’re going to hang a sign that says you’re the best sneaker store in Brooklyn (which is to say, the best in the world), you’d better have the juice to back it up.
I, of course, would look ridiculous in a pair of big red hightops. I think David Beckham named one of his kids Brooklyn. Is that correct?
That’s New York. A brag around every corner. Don’t even ASK where to get the best slice of pizza in town. You’ll start a pile up.
I was reading an abridged version of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett to 7-Year Old Daughter the other night and at the end of the story I started to cry. It hit me like a freight train out of a dark night. It’s a beautiful story with a beautiful ending and for some reason the whole rejected/accepted theme got under my skin. I was embarrassed.
I wasn’t exactly blubbering, but tears were streaming down my face and I had to stop several times to compose myself before moving on to the next paragraph. 7-Year Old Daughter had never seen me cry before and I don’t think it freaked her out, but she did have an odd look on her face.
When I finished reading, I kissed her forehead and turned out her nightstand light. She wouldn’t let me put the book back on her bookshelf. She insisted on holding it. She was hugging it close to her body. Mrs. Wife kissed her good night and she still wouldn’t let go of the book.
Now that I think about it, maybe it DID freak her out a bit. From now on, I’m only going to read stories about combat and carnage. After all, I have a reputation to protect.
* * *
We had a brief repose from the unrelenting rain we’ve been getting over the past few weeks so we drove to Asbury Park to walk on the beach for a bit. I watched from a distance as 7-Year Old Daughter danced along the shoreline. She was all by herself, singing out loud and kicking the water. She such a joyful kid. Despite what I wrote above, the truth is that I’m just a cranky old fuck. I hope I don’t do anything to screw her up.
CB and I finally saw the third installment of The Norman Conquests. I laughed so hard my face hurt. Three well-written, well-acted plays, all linked together, yet separate. It’s quite an achievement. We did it ass-backwards, seeing the plays in 3-2-1 order. Oddly enough, we both agree that it was a better sequence than the recommended 1-2-3.
On Saturdays and select Sundays you can see all three plays in one day for a special low price. I have no idea how the actors are able to perform at peak levels for seven hours—especially the lead—but word on the street is that they pull it off quite well. I’m not sure I would undertake it. I eventually burn out on laughing.
A few of the actors were nominated for Tonys and the play won for best revival. It deserved it. The show is doing okay business but not as well as it should. The house is running at about 87% of capacity. The problem is that it’s marketed as a trilogy and most people don’t want to invest the time and money into seeing ONE play much less THREE! The producers should make it clear that it’s not necessary to take in all three plays. You can have a perfectly fine evening seeing just one. Besides, only a lunatic, theater-obsessed New Yorker would sentence themselves to spending seven hours with a demented British family. Right, CB?
A few minutes ago I was walking through a corridor in Grand Central Station. It’s only 7:15 in the morning so the mobs haven’t mobilized yet. As I got midway through the passageway, I started to hear the faint notes of a cello being played. Not a recording; live. The acoustics of the passageway gave the notes a richness, particularly in the lower registers. The playing was so superb and the moment so beautiful that I slowed my pace (for once).
Then I saw her. She was an achingly beautiful girl sitting alone along the passageway wall. I don’t know what motivated her to set up at such an early hour since so few people are around to throw money into her open cello case. I tried not to stare but I was so swept up in the sound and vision that I fear I may have watched for a few beats too long.
My commute is a horrifying nightmare but I am occasionally tossed a moment of wonder.