Names are Superfluous


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As I came up the stairs, lugging my busking equipment to the #6 train platform at the 59th street subway station, a lady told me she was having a bad day. It was her first time ever taking the subway in New York City (she is from PA) and a lady had just fainted and fell on her in the train. The PA lady was very concerned. She stayed with the fainting lady and offered to take her home. The fainting lady didn’t want the PA lady to stay with her. The PA lady spoke to the fainting lady’s husband on the phone and he wasn’t surprised at what had happened to his wife. He said to just let her take the #6 train and he will wait for her at her designated stop. The lady from PA was really nice and felt bad about the fainting lady. She pointed her out to me. I assured the PA lady that she did her best, and if the fainting lady doesn’t want help, then there’s nothing we can do about it. The PA lady felt better and went on her way. I invited the fainting lady to sit on the bench next to the Music Under New York spot.

At the spot Mason’s group – the 3 singers and keyboard player, were performing.
I sat on the bench to wait my turn. Some crazy guy was trying to join the performers. They handled him well.

Mason's group

Chill, Bow and their third singer (the one wearing an ‘I heart Jesus’ hat) were singing on the #6 train, as they do every day. As they were switching cars they saw the singing group on the platform and came to say ‘hi’. Then they saw me sitting on the bench and they came to say ‘hi’ to me, too.

Chill & Bow

The MTA employee who works on the #6 train platform (I’m not sure what his job is exactly… but he is there every day and he keeps walking up and down the platform) greeted me as well. He seemed to be friends with Mason – they talked for a long time while the group was striking their set and I was setting up.

I asked Mason if he knows the name of the singer who wears an ‘I heart Jesus’ hat. Mason said that he has known this singer for many years, but he doesn’t know his name… I said ditto. It’s interesting how the musicians in the NYC subway all know one another, and are friends for many years, talking to each other every day, and yet – we mostly don’t know each other’s names. Somehow our common ground (playing music) and location are such a strong bond that we don’t have use for name tags. Except that since I started writing a blog all of a sudden I have a need for names, because it’s hard to refer to people in writing constantly by their description…

Me playing the musical saw in the subway

It was an unusualy warm day for December, so even though I was still playing Christmas carols I had to replace my Elf hat with my usual ball-cap – Elf/Santa hats are very warm!
Here is one of the Christmas carols I played:

I noticed that the sanitation people in the station have changed. The nice tall guy, Jackson, has disappeared and in his stead there is mostly a lady with a red streak in her pony tail. A long time ago Jackson told me the MTA is thinking of cutting the sanitation personnel out and instead farming the sanitation jobs in the subway to an outside company. That would save the MTA money as they would pay lesser salaries to the outsourced sanitation personnel. I wonder if this is why all the old sanitation people are no longer in the station.

subway sanitation

Somebody put 2 coins from South Africa in my donations box. I think it’s the first time that I got coins from this country, so it’s exciting.

South African coin

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2 Responses to Names are Superfluous

  1. Ramon on December 15, 2007 at 12:13 am

    Hi, I just wanted to drop this little article that a friend left at my blog, thought you might enjoy it…

    http://www.philly.com/inquirer/local/philadelphia/12409351.html

    plus, I did listened to Ulises’ advice…except for the public transportation…maybe next week.

  2. Kathy on December 15, 2007 at 6:49 am

    I love reading your posts! You have such a good attitude towards life, and clearly have love and respect for everyone you meet.

    Keep up the great work!

    – Kathy (the lady from California who made sure to see you play in Times Square Station in mid-July)

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