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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

You could hear the whole damn city crying

I walk down into the Steinway station this morning, tired, dragging, not wanting to go to work -- dreading it, to be honest. I hope maybe I can hear some live music. Maybe Tony will be playing today. That always cheers me up. I've written about him before. He plays and sings sometimes down in that station, and he has a beautiful voice.

I don't hear any music, but I walk down the platform toward my usual train entry point and I see Tony sitting on the bench, his soft guitar case closed, held upright on his lap.

"You're not playing today?" I ask, surprised.

"No," he says, looking disgusted. "Cops just kicked me out."

"What -- you're supposed to have a license or something?" You are supposed to have a license as far as I know, but there are lots of wandering musicians. Better them than the obnoxiously loud panhandlers who shout on the train.

"It's supposed to be at the discretion of the stationmaster," he says. He looks like he doesn't want to talk about it too much, and the V is pulling in. He gets up to board. "You taking this one?" he asks.

"Nah, I gotta wait for the R." We say goodbye. Now I'm even more depressed. F'ing fascist cops!

I have a sh**load of work to do today, but I'm going to go run on the treadmill at lunch. I need the endorphin rush. I can't get my "other" endorphin rush during the day, so I'll do the workout.

On the train, what do I do? I've got a full-throttle New-York-Times-reading space hog next to me. Doesn't believe in properly folding the paper, apparently. Or in closing his manly legs. I take my first opening at Lexington and move across the car to an open end seat. I've got the i-Pod on as usual, with the voice of God in my ear. By this I mean, of course, BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN.

Seems that "Backstreets" has become my morning blues remedy. If you know the song, you know what I'm talking about. the intro is such a beautiful thing -- how it builds, and builds, Roy Bittan stroking the keys, until the full band explodes. "Trying in vain to breathe the fire we was born in..." Yeah, I know it's another f'ing Anthem for the Outsider, but that's how I feel a lot of the time.

Oh, and after "Backstreets," if you're playing the album in order, you get "Born to Run" -- New Jersey's official state anthem for the youth. That gets me even more pumped.

Time to get some coffee, and then to get to work.

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