Sunday, May 21, 2006

A taste of community

Last Thursday, I kicked out of my malaise and had a burst of community interaction.

I've noticed a guy once or twice, sitting on a blanket on the sidewalk outside the Damen El stop, surrounded by little bits of cloth, obviously working on something. He's in his forties, with a long grey ponytail. Looks like he'd be very happy on the island. The first time I walked past him, I was already through the turnstile before I realized that the island girl that I want to be would have sat down on the ground next to him and started a conversation. The second time, I was probably deeply into hatehatehate mode and was trying not to inflict myself on anyone.

So, Thursday, there he was again and I plopped down next to him and asked how he was. He was silkscreening little squares of cloth with stylized peace signs and giving them away. He looked a little taken aback that I sat down; I think people usually just bend down to finger his wares. We talked briefly. His name is Chris and he talked generally about community and peace. I picked four little patches and handed him four of my little quote scrolls.

When I stood up, I was obviously communicating to the world that I was a dupe, because an earnest-looking African American man can up to pitch me his self-produced hip-hop album. This has happened to me once or twice before and the young men involved usually rattle off their pitch in a drone, but this young man must have been in forensics in high school because he had that knack of making a very polished, well-worded spiel sound like he were saying it for the first time for my benefit. I was impressed and so handed over $4 for a CD I'll never listen to. That's pretty cheap for the warm fuzzies I get to feel for believing that I've contributed to someone else's art.

No comments: