Thursday, March 06, 2008

A Man With An Upright Bass Sings Nirvana In The Park

Come As You Are, to be precise. Just plunk plunk pa plunk plunk, lyrics belting out of this man wearing glasses and standing beneath the tall statue that held a similar pose to his. I took a seat at a bench in Washington Square Park, next to a woman reading a book, and an old man taking an afternoon nap. The sun was out and the sky was clear for the most part. The buildings in New York are so beautiful and large. Being from Seattle, I am not quite used to the scale of these things. When you walk down the street, you can see these giant avenues that just go on forever and ever, and just disappear into the distance eventually. I wonder what it was like in the 1700's & 1800's. I wonder what it was like to come here from a small village in Europe somewhere, and arrive in Manhattan, the first walk around town must have been frightening and exhilarating all at once.

Sometimes this city seems like a beautiful machine run by tiny little creatures that dart to and fro in a systematic, predictable manner. People board trains from the outskirts and are shuffled in to the central nervous system to buzz around and take part in it's swinging pendulums, pistons, and gears grinding around and around. Steam rises up from this machine but it is invisible. It relies on itself to stay alive. it relies on these little tiny creatures riding on trains and elevators and escalators and cars. Wherever they are going. Where are they going? Perhaps, and most likely, they will end up at a little desk in a chair staring at a glowing screen with numbers or words or pictures. As they hit refresh on their electronic mail, waiting patiently for little notes from the world outside of their screens. But maybe that's only about half of these creatures, the other half are doing other things. They dart to and fro in the world outside pulling levers and twisting knobs and cranking cranks. Because while the others are pushing pistons and pendulums, there has to be someone to tend to the other needs of the machine. And there are moments sometimes when someone is walking down the street and they think about the pulsing beast of a machine around and they let out a piercing scream which reverberates around the immediate corners of big beautiful buildings only to be drowned out by the pistons, pendulums, gears, cranks, levers, and knobs. But it was enough to scream for now she smiles looks up and down the avenue and heads back up the elevator to her warm glowing screen.

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