Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Rocky Balboa Vs. The Chair People

I went to see Rocky in Bryant Park last night. It was part of the free summer film festival that they do there every year. I hadn't been in ages and remembered it being a good time. I saw Roman Holiday and a Marx Brothers movie a few years back. I packed some food for a picnic and brought a bottle of wine, it was good times. This year, however, was only slightly different. Maybe it was because this was the last film of the season and, therefore, a last opportunity to cram yourself into a tiny park and sit on top of someone else for a few hours and watch a movie, or maybe Rocky just appeals more to the average New Yorker than, saw, a Hitchcock classic. Either way, it was crowded.

I mean, really crowded.

Apparently people were allowed into the park at around 5pm to start reserving spaces. There was a steady flow of people onto the lawn for several hours. Not only am I slightly claustrophobic, but I don't really enjoy other people and am a big fan of personal space. Sometimes I walk around with a ruler and a stick with a nail in it, just for fun. It's strange, I can recall other times when it was great to be in a big heaving pile of New Yorkers. The fourth of July along the West Side Highway or FDR Drive was always great. Even Times Square on New Year's Eve was tolerable because of the camaraderie between people in a similar and also horrible situation. This time was no fun at all. I did a lot of steady breathing and staring at the sky.

Lots of people turned up with beach towels, carrying big picnic baskets and wearing flip flops, as if they were going to the beach, or even a park. Bryant park is maybe one square block that borders forty-second street. It's like St. Tropez in many ways and, yet, different.

This piece of shit started in on me after I sat down on the edge of the park. He and his wife were attempting to claim and hold on to ten chairs for some friends of theirs. I am sometimes appalled by the string of profanities that can spill out of my mouth without me realizing or even taking my eyes off of my book.

The couple decided to leave the coiled snake be, and carried on not only scattering their belongings over a number of chairs, but also collecting chairs from other parts of the park and making a small pile next to me. I'm not sure if they were expecting a bus full of handicapped schoolchildren to pull up, or maybe they were just building an urban fort, but they looked completely ridiculous trying to carry chairs all over the park.

It's amazing how quickly people resort to their base, animal instincts when in situations like this. Ironically, I started reading Viktor Frankl's 'Man's Search for Meaning' last night, and was well into the chapter about how Jews who survived the Holocaust mostly did so by dispensing with human emotion and becoming animals, while casually watching people digress from children into beasts right in front of my eyes. I watched two people try to push over a baby carriage so that they could lay out a blanket. I saw people push and shove each other so that they could be closer to the screen to watch Rocky, yeah, think about it. I even saw a woman carrying two chairs be stopped by a man who offered to carry one for her, when she thanked him and handed him the chair he ran in the opposite direction, obviously wanting it for himself. This all happened approximately 2 1/2 hours before the movie even started.

This is me coping

This is Lexi coping.

Finally the sun set.

And the movie started. It was another thing all together to watch a movie while thousands of people stand up and dance to the HBO theme song or do that Arsenio Hall barking thing whenever a character says 'Italian Stallion.' I know it's meant to be good fun. Maybe I've lost that happy, communal New York spirit.

After about an hour I left them to it.

And took the train home.

Today I am sitting am sitting around the apartment, trying to come to terms with the fact that I will be in one place, this place to be precise, for several weeks, and not on a bus or airplane, or in a hotel or in Arkansas or London or Tokyo. I'll just be here in Brooklyn, lying on the couch, getting fat, buying records, going to see movies in the middle of the day, ordering shit online and showering and changing my clothes whenever I want to.
Bonus: A package just arrived containing all of the crap that I left in Ally's car in LA last week. I know there are a bunch of CD's from Amoeba and a new pair of aviators. Life is sweet.