August 18, 2009

Air guitar

Here's a joke:
What's green and smells like Miss Piggy?
Kermit's finger.

I heard that joke many years ago and it still makes me smile.

I was in Central Park recently and I noticed these kids running around like banshees. I was so envious. When was the last time you just took off running for no reason? As a kid growing up in Virginia we ran constantly. We played smear-the-queer, football, baseball, or just ran around chasing each other like maniacs all over the neighborhood. We also had a huge chunk of land we called "The Woods" at the bottom of our street and my best friend Bruce and I would go there just about every day until our mid-teens. If we weren't running, we were on bikes. I don't remember ever getting tired, though I'm sure we did. Watching those kids made me want to run, not jog, but run...flat out, really fast.

Today I was on the A train going to visit Julia (my goddaughter) and her mother Kristin. This guy was sitting across from me wearing headphones, a scraggly beard and one of those Rastafarian hats, even though he was whiter than I am. He was playing air keyboards. Not in a subtle way, really rocking out. Like he was on stage backing up Santana at Woodstock. His knee and thigh were his pretend keyboard. I'm sure he thought everyone was looking at him thinking he was cool.... Well, he was wrong, he looked like an asshole. I see many people doing air instruments on the subway, usually it's guitar, an occasional horn or slap bass but even more people dancing with their headphones on. They know people are watching but obviously the music is so intoxicating they can't help themselves. The other night, riding the train headed north, a woman with "whitey dreads" and a faded bandana stood in the middle of the car gyrating about like she was at a Grateful Dead concert. I almost tapped her and said "Please stop, you really look stupid." Each time I have one of these "air" sightings it painfully brings me back to a high school dance. I was a junior and I was too embarrassed to ask anyone to dance with me, and actually I really didn't know how. We were listening to great local band called Liberty. I was standing there on the side of the dance floor, the music pounding and I felt I had to satisfy this urge to move. I started to air guitar during one of the solos. Suddenly my best friend Bruce tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Steve, stop, you look like an idiot." I was embarrassed, I knew he was right. Air instruments are for those people who can't play anything, OR they're too shy to ask someone to dance, OR for drunk people who truly don't give a shit what anyone thinks. Since that night, any time I've felt the urge to air guitar, I stop and think of Bruce and that Liberty dance... he was right, I must have looked like a total asshole.

Photos have no relevance to story. I just like them.

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