Writing about the Brooklyn Jugs and adventures at various bars in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn has made a bunch of ancient memories come bubbling up to the service.
Did I ever tell you about the time I saw a guy’s dick on the subway?
This one takes place during the same general era as the Lillie’s story. Z and I were living in Prospect Lefferts Garden (Southeast corner of Prospect Park). Z worked at NYU and I worked for a tiny wholesale bakery that over the years hopped around to various professional kitchen sites throughout the city. We started in a cavernous and filthy basement in SoHo, moved to a tiny but tidy storefront in the Meatpacking District across from what would soon be the Spice Market, detoured to a labyrinth catering kitchen in a warehouse in Long Island City for about a year, and returned to the Meatpacking District storefront for a second try.
Commuting from Brooklyn to Queens was pretty straightforward even if I did have to go to Manhattan to get there. I’d hop on the Q at Parkside Ave in Brooklyn and somewhere in Manhattan I’d switch over to the R which I’d take to 36th Street in Queens. Queens. That borough always confused me. With its 36th Street and 36th Avenue and the fact that they intersected. It just didn’t feel right. But the kitchen space was large and clean and the catering company that ran it invited us to eat family meal with them every day. I remember the chef reaming out a cook for not removing the bones from the fish in a dish he prepared for family meal. Chef was not fucking around. He was feeding his people (and us) right. Anything that was put out for consumption was expected to be as excellent as the food they sent to the US Open. I still have a couple of travel coffee mugs they were passing out late summer of ’05 after the Open was done.
So back to the train. If you are a daily commuter in New York you have your system. You wait for the train in the same spot every day. You enter the train through the same set of doors. You have a favorite seat. You have your routine, be it napping or reading or listening to music. You are in a bubble and feel alone even in a crowded car. I think it is how one stays sane in an overwhelming situation. You make order out of chaos. Your world gets manageably small. You recognize the regulars in your car, nod or smile at them but never strike up a conversation. When one of the regulars goes missing you feel a bizarre sense of loss for a stranger you never knew.
One morning in the silence of the subway car I happened to glance up from the book I was reading to see a well dressed man walking down the aisle. For a moment I could not process what I was seeing. He had carefully arranged his junk so that both his flaccid penis and rather hairy balls were free from the repressive underwear and pants the rest of us were wearing. His pants were buttoned, the fly was simply gaping open, a passageway for his genetalia that clearly yearned to be free.
I tensed up. You never really know what shit is going to go down on the train, best to be on guard. Not one other person in the half full car said a word, it seemed that everyone was so involved in their routine that they didn’t notice. I quickly looked back to my book and pretended to read until I heard him exit out of the door and into the next car.
A guy with his dick on display walked the length of our train car. After he left I glanced up at my fellow commuters. Not a single person met my eye. Not a twitch of a smile on any of their faces. I was having trouble not laughing hysterically. Did it that just happen? Was I really the only one to notice? Did I suffer some extended hallucination?
The next morning I was reading my book on the train as we chugged along still in Brooklyn. Suddenly I heard a woman talking to her friend. About Mr. Dick-Outside-His-Pants. My head whipped around, “You saw him, too?” I asked. “I didn’t think anyone else noticed!” She laughed. She didn’t think anyone else had noticed either.
I wonder how many of us on the train did notice. Either way I never saw the man again. Man, I miss the fuck out of New York. Not a lot of dull moments.
Of course we get all sorts of great moments in Syracuse as well. WCNY, our local PBS station moved into a fancy new location and had a big party to celebrate yesterday. Even Bob the Builder came.
Brave C just strutted right up to Bob for a high five.
Shy T needed to watch from a distance and cuddle with Daddy.
Guess what? I’m brewing Kombucha! Thanks again for the scoby, L! Should be ready to bottle in the next few days.