Last night we played on the L.E.S at Left Field. Towards the end of the set a group of young women came down the stairs. They began shrieking when they saw their friend who, from the sound of it, I gathered had been last seen on the observation deck of Tower 1 at 8a.m. on 09/11/01. They were so shrill that it threw me off. I know that’s on me. The band on the Titanic played unflinchingly until the cold Atlantic claimed them. But there it is, they threw me. So at the end of the number I mildly berated them and got a few laughs for it. Finally they shut up.
After the gig one of them pigeon holed me. A nice young lady.
“Why did you do that?” She demanded.
“Hey, no worries it’s all good.” I said trying to brush her off.
“No. Really. I want to know why. We’re paying customers you should be happy we’re here.”
So I explained it to her.
“Look. We are live performers. We are not radios. We are actually humans. We want you to have a good time. It’s OK that you talk. This isn’t a church. But you can’t scream louder than the band. It makes our job nearly impossible. We are trying to work. We are performing not just for you but for everybody here.”
“Ok.” She said. “But you hurt my friends feelings and I was feeling like you know, Mafia. But now I get it.”
“It’s OK. It’s typical for Americans. When I play overseas, even when I play on the street people are respectful. They appreciate that I am a live performer. If they don’t like what I am doing, they listen quietly before moving on. But here forget it. People don’t give a shit. My own friends don’t give a shit. It’s a cultural difference.”
She smiled at me. “Well we thought you guys were really great. Let me buy you a drink. What are you having?”
“I have a drink ticket.”
“Keep your ticket I’m buying you a drink.”
“OK. Rum and coke.”
“What kind of rum?”
“Ok. But Bacardi at least.”
After the show I took Kosi to Katz Deli. We wandered around the miracle that is New York City. Everywhere, beautiful, clean people on dirty, ugly streets. Winter was fading and maybe a hint of spring worked it’s magic on filthy, mounds of icy, grey snow. We sat not far from “where harry met sally”. Kosi beamed. She had never had a sandwich like that.
“This is a very special place.” I told her. “I’ve traveled all over the world and I never had a pastrami like this anywhere. Not even close.”