Sunday, April 13, 2008

street theater of the absurd

I grew up in suburbs where you had to be careful about how you dressed and behaved because there was always someone watching who knew your mother. (This was in days when kids were easily cowed by their mothers.) One of the things I like best about cities is the anonymity they confer, granting citizens the freedom to dress or act pretty much as they please. I retain too much of my upbringing to personally take advantage of this, but enjoy the entertainment the freedom ensures. Yesterday, buying train tickets in Grand Central Station, the guy at the next window was a clown in full dress, big wig and painted smile, ransacking the pockets of his polka dot suit for exact change. (Who knew clown suits had pockets?)

Acoustics in subway tunnels make ad hoc bands sound great, so that running for the #1, I often feel like I'm living large, on a screen, my crazy choreography accompanied by soundtrack and support cast. Stage right: MAN DRESSED IN BURLAP BAGS HAWKING POEMS FOR $2; stage left, ANOREXIC WOMAN PUSHING SHITZU DOG IN BABY STROLLER. Props for surreal scene as I come up to the street: TWO RANDOM SHOPPING CARTS, OVERFLOWING WITH GRAPEFRUIT.

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