Last weekend, B. and I were strolling through a street fair on 31st Street in Astoria when an odd thing happened. We were walking past a tent with a sign promoting "Chinese Massage" and several massage chairs on display. Suddenly two men raced out of the tent and intercepted us to tout their massages. One of them grabbed me and started aggressively rubbing my forehead and shoulders, saying "Sample! Sample!" While I was fending this guy off, the other one seized B. and propelled her toward one of the massage chairs and pushed her into it. (I wondered when the straps would come out.) I told the first guy "No thanks, I'll pass." He said "No pass!" and continued squeezing my forehead pretty hard. I broke free, he grabbed my shoulders again, and I said very firmly "No, I'm not interested." Just as I was about to start making a scene, he finally let me go and I went over to the tent, where B. was extricating herself.
We laughed about it later, but it was disturbing at the time. (If I'd had the presence of mind at the moment, I should've told the cops standing on the corner.)
Nice NYT profile of the guy who's been living in a Paris airport for years. I'd read about him on Snopes a while ago, and was always fascinated by his story. Airports are a kind of limbo, anyway -- time spent in an airport oddly drags, and the usual amusements fail to distract. And here is a man who is spending his entire life in one, due to stubbornness and madness. (No wonder they're turning it into a Tom Hanks movie.)
Which made it pretty damn exciting when I got to say hello to him and shake his hand a few minutes ago. (There are benefits to working in Big Media -- he was in our greenroom next door. Alas, the publicist said a picture probably wouldn't be a good idea...and I figured begging for tickets to tomorrow's Live By Request wouldn't be, either.) He was gracious but didn't say much -- after all, I'm sure he's completely bored with fans like me. But he did agree that Jon Pareles' review of his show Monday was a good one, and thanked me when I wished him well for his show tonight.
"If my wedding was on the date of a key trial, the wedding would be postponed. If the wife to be did not like it, I would inform her that work comes before EVERYTHING ELSE and that if she does not like this, she is free to find a competing husband."
"If my mother's funeral was the day of a key deposition, I would do the eulogy via teleconference after the deposition."
Well, I didn't make it to the rivah after all, due to Isabel. Got as far as my cousin's in Baltimore...and then found out from my mother that although the cottage is fine, we won't have power for quite a while. Also, we and our neighbors lost both docks and about ten feet off the shoreline. (Now we need to either build a seawall or put down more riprap for erosion control.) Had a nice time hanging out in Baltimore with various cousins (including my cousin John, who makes award-winning wine in his cellar basement.) Then I headed back to NYC for a day or two with B. Yesterday we had a very nice Belgian meal at Cafe de Bruxelles (home of earlierboozyromps), and saw Lost in Translation -- very good, and highly recommended. Bill Murray contributed the most nuanced performance I've seen in quite a while, and the cinematography was perfectly evocative of the movie's melancholy.
And now it's back to the grindstone. Work will be pretty busy this week, with several 12-hour-plus days. Not sure how many updates there'll be. See you when I get out of the salt mines.
Sleepy today. After work last night I met up with B. and her roommate H. (to paraphrase Woody Allen: Should I keep going out with B.? Not if she won't tell me the rest of her name.) and we all merrily traipsed off to the Knitting Factory, where we saw Dressy Bessy, a pretty good power-pop band. They reminded me of Tuscadero, with their female singer and tight, melodic, almost-1960s-girl-group sound. Fun!
Qatsi opened for Dressy Bessy and wasn't too bad...and well, the other opener (who shall remain nameless here) was at least good for a few laughs: Peter Mark Roget should have gotten partial songwriting credit, and the lead singer looked like he was channeling not Jim Morrison, but Val Kilmer attempting to channel Jim Morrison. Favorite lyrics included "I met a guy/His name was Magnify/He told me the truth/But only when I was high" and some song that ended with "You left me there/Like a wino in a wine cellar."
Then it was off to my favorite Greek diner in Astoria for some restorative grease. Morning came too quickly, though, as did work. Tonight I'm off to the Rivah by way of Baltimore -- reallycrummytiming, I know -- for a family reunion with a bunch of cousins from my generation. It may turn into more of a mopping-up and cleaning-up party than a beer-drinking one, though. I'll keep you posted.