Grand Central Terminal: December 6, 2006

A note to the unwashed:  Grand Central Station is a post office.  Grand Central Terminal is the train station on 42nd street.

Here’s a little something I just tripped over in my archeological forays into my old notebooks.  Thought it was cute enough to put down:


Take this as you will.  For most reasonable people that means discard it utterly.  I expect no less.  But I have to write this down.

Wednesday December 6, 2006.

The scene is Grand Central Terminal, downstairs among the tables and food, after work, a little after 6:15.

I was sitting next to a couple women while eating my slice of pizza and doing a couple sudokus, killing a half-hour before I headed off to my Wednesday night haunting job.

A couple things happened around me that caused me to chuckle.  A group of women, lost, passed me three times in the space of 20 minutes. Another group of people picked up a table and dragged it around to where there was a polite little mob of them sitting.  The hilarity of watching people come over where they expected to see a table and just staring blankly into the space where it ought to be, unable to process what the problem might be was quite rich.

It caused me to have a little realization:

People comment on how “all this weird stuff seems to happen around you.”  But…I don’t think they understand what’s going on.  See, it’s one of the secrets of New York City.  These things are going on all the time, all over the place; all you have to do to see the magic inherent in Gotham is SIT STILL long enough for the scenes to take place around you.  Otherwise the most you can hope for is to catch a punch-line as it goes by around you.

Take this scene:

A large food court with lots of vaguely walled off sections is mobbed with end of day commuters buzzing about.  A group of women come over to an empty 8 seat table, negotiate among themselves a bit, then pick up the table and drag it over, around the corner, where a bunch of their friends are already sitting, so they can all sit together.

Not 90 seconds later, someone walks by with a tray of chicken vindaloo, looking for a table and, seeing a section where there are no heads sticking up, assumes that means there’s an empty table. She walks over, stares intently at the floor for a few seconds, crinkles her brow a bit, looks around, then continues her search, utterly befuddled.

A few minutes later a maintenance guy with a broom, doing his rounds approaches, stares intently at the floor for a few seconds, crinkles his brow a bit, looks around, quizzically declaring “what the hell?” and walks off.

He comes back with someone who is clearly his manager.  They walk up to the spot. the maintenance guy says “see?”  The manager stares intently at the floor for a few seconds, crinkles his brow a bit, looks around muttering “where the fuck?” then they walk off.

I just burst out laughing.  This I think is why I like to hang out in bars for protracted periods of time and just watch what goes on.  It’s the only way to really pick out the funny stuff.

So I leaned over to the woman sitting at the table to my left, facing me (more or less) and said “I love my city.  You never know what you’re going to hear in this city.”  We chuckled a bit.

Her companion, a woman in her mid-late 50s came back and sat down with her food.  The first woman asked…

“Hey, doesn’t your husband work down here?”
“No no.  My SON works down here in the city.”

Something popped in to my head.  I had to say it before she did. So I said it out loud, interrupting her.

“Stamford!”
“Huh?”
“Stamford.  Your husband works in Stamford. Right?  Right?”
They looked at me, kinda stunned.  She nodded… very slowly.
“Yes, that’s right.  He works in Stamford.  How…?”
I could hear it:  Who was this, Why does he know, HOW does he know,
what’s going on?
“Lucky guess” I said.

I departed hastily.  45 minutes later I was stationed at what has become my bar stool.  “Jenn.  yeah, I’ll have one of those.  But I need a shot.”

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