06 April 2013

Bye-bye Van Guy

My Van Guy has retired from van-guying. I know I should be happy for him - van-guying is no life for a young fella with a wife and coupla young'uns. But I can't help but feel a bit sad. It's like the Gem Store on Delancey closed down all over again.

Matt's a beanpole. He looks like Carrot top, with a slightly more subdued mop of hair. When he showed up at my door the first time, I couldn't believe it - this stick of a man was going to help me move heavy objects down and up stairs? But move heavy objects down and up stairs he did, like the dickens!

I first used Matt's van-guy services when moving from my Devoe Street apartment to Greenpoint. A third floor apartment to a fourth floor apartment. The big move with the U-haul and the friends helping is a harrowing tale unto itself; Matt just helped with the extras after all that was done. Mostly hanging clothes, a couple of boxes, a few loose items, maybe a small piece of furniture, and of course the ten foot pole that I'd used as a curtain rod.

That's how he remembered me the next time I hired him. The ten foot pole girl. It was about nine months later and I was moving again, to my own place off the Montrose stop. A studio about the same size as the one I lived in on the LES, but ill laid out, and, oh yeah, totally janky. But I was desperate and the landlord was willing. Matt told me his wife was preggers and due any moment.

I called on Matt again a year later when I moved from that hellhole to my current, glorious place off the Grand stop. It was a busy moving time for him, so he couldn't help me move, but he did pick up some wardrobe boxes and drop them off at my apartment - a lady was giving them away in Park Slope, and he didn't even make me go out there to me him! He just delivered them. That's service. I got him a again a couple of months later, when I picked up a love seat for the new place. By that point he had some photos of baby Olive on his phone, and they were expecting again.

I found out he'd retired the hard way, when I texted him today to see when he could help me get something from craigslist. I'm not entirely surprised. The last time I saw him, when he picked up the love seat, he mentioned that he and his wife were trying to start an Italian shoe importing company, she being Italian. But he makes temporary wall tiles or some such now. Or sells them. Or made the website for them. He sent me the website, and the name and number of another Van Guy. Will this Van Guy be my new Van Guy? Only time, and several moves/craigslist runs, will tell.

05 April 2013

Subway Triple Header

I was waiting for the L at 6th Ave the other night, as I so often do. I place myself on the platform where I need to be in order to get on the car that's closest to the best exit (or transfer) at whatever stop I'm getting off. That's the kind of planner I am. Some people would say that's the kind of New Yorker I am, the kind that knows the right car for the right exit or transfer.

Right at that place on the platform, which happens to be next to a set of stairs, a musician was entertaining the straphangers, as they so often do. I suppose they stand at that place on the platform because the stairwell gives them a sort of backdrop; musicians set up in about the same place on the Union Square L platform.

Even when I can't stand the music, or am just straight up not in the mood for busking or aggressive drum banging, I still stand in that same spot on the platform, waiting for my train car to come. But this guy, this guy I liked. I liked him a lot. Enough to peek around him for some clue as to his name. This man was a looper. He beat boxed a beat, and looped it. Then he played the trumpet for a bit, then looped that on top of the beat box. Then he played more trumpet over those loops, and it sounded like the fucking Blade Runner soundtrack (I know that's a sax). He hadn't even set up his little money basket before a lady came up to give him money. I don't know if I've ever been impressed enough to consider skipping the next train to keep listening, but the thought crossed my mind here.

When the train came and I did get on, I regretted it after a moment. I should have listened to that impulsive part of myself imploring me to stay and listen a little longer. I got on a car with a particularly aromatic homeless man. Specifically, he smelled like shit. I feel sad as I type this, thinking about this poor man who was covered in his own shit, who maybe didn't even have the mental wherewithal to realize or care. A couple of people turned around and got off the train as soon as they walked on, but I sat. I thought it would be cruel to walk out, to essentially say that I can't stand to be in proximity to this person.

So I waited, and at the next stop I got off that car and went into the next car over.

After a minute on that car, I wished I was back in the other one. I ended up standing right next to  a young Asian man who was preaching. Not to anyone in particular, as they so often do. He seemed to be talking about watching television, or rather, not watching television, or just bad television, ungodly television. I caught him after he began so I can't be sure. He got off one or two stops later, so I didn't hear a whole lot from him, but what I did hear counts: his blog address, which he repeated several times before he got off. It's not necessarily an easy one to remember, which struck me as quite amusing because here he was imploring/encouraging people to visit his blog for more preaching, just sort of shouting out the blog name, and no one will ever remember it, except maybe me because well, being so struck by the strangeness, I remembered. I didn't even write it down. It's here, if you want it. Sort of lame/boring/incoherent analyses of bible passages. I was hoping for some crazy ramblings, but he wasn't all that crazy a rambler in person so I suppose I may have set my expectations too high. There're some good examples of Christian Crazy here, if yr lookin'.