Monday, November 18, 2013

Show biz

Broadway Lights

Last Friday, I huddled down in the Meatpacking District at a coffee shop to get some work done and shoot out a bunch of emails. I spent the better part of the day there.

A woman had been sitting behind me the whole time, our backs were to each other, so I never saw her face. A couple hours later, a guy showed up and asked if she was still working, to which she replied yes. He said he would wait.

Of course, I heard all of this because I am in NYC and no one has any personal space. The conversation of strangers become part of your own world. So, not thinking about it much, I continued powering through what I wanted to accomplish.

At one point, the couple got in a strange argument. The first moment I started to pay attention, the woman with nagging voice says: "Say it, say it!!"
Man, softly: "You're not who I thought you were."
Woman, angrily: "Say it! Say it!!" Tell me I'm a b*tc#! and you hate me!"
Man, apologetically: "You told me I didn't have a chance. And, you aren't who I thought you were."
Woman, settles down a bit: "Then,.. get to know me."
Man, shyly and sweetly says: "I would if you weren't acting like such a, such a..."
This continues on a loop for a minute or two. With the nasally, Jewish woman screaming "Say it! Say it!" and the quiet, sweet, semi-loserish sounding guy, saying, "You aren't who I thought you were."

Then, the woman asks the man, to tell her about this other woman. The man then says something about how she is a trapeze artist (Hey, it's NY).
Woman, quietly and a bit eerily: "Wow, she must have a great body."
Man, disgustedly: "I don't know why you always have to say things like that."

The guy eventually mentions that he has never had a real girlfriend and hopes that it works out with the trapeze artist, who also is a barista.
Woman: "Wow, barista, huh? She must have a really great body."
(My expression was a flat out tilt of the head with a question mark covering my face... Barista = great body? What is the logic here...)
Man, again, disgustedly: "Why do you always have to say things like that."

The conversation is repeated again. Almost verbatim. This time, the woman explains how her roommate passive-aggressively left her a note on her door that morning that covered 7 post-it notes. I assume she is telling this story so the guy will feel sorry for her. He offers her his Red Sox cap, as a keepsake, a momento of their friendship.

Woman, exasperated and sanctimoniously: "I was right. This was all a performance. Just admit it."
Man: "What are you talking about? What was a performance?"
Woman, changes gears again. This time, softly: "Get to know me."
Man, clearly at a loss: "I can't get to know you. You aren't the person I thought you were."

This conversation goes on and on. In a circle. It is believable all the way through the third time. When they started the fourth round, I started to go crazy. Thinking these folks were mentally disturbed. I felt sorry for the guy, who had tried to get out of the conversation from the start. Each time, trying to find a way to end whatever was going on between them.

Man, almost stuttering, but slowly says: "Sooo, sooo, soooo... what are you... saying?"
(You could almost hear the hope in his voice that this was the final nail. That this thing was going to end. But this woman was persevering. Who knows why.)
Woman, sweetly: "I just want to know about her. Tell me. What is she like?"
Man, gullibly answers: "Oh, she is great! She is really nice and we have a lot to talk about."
Woman, like a flip switched, bursts with anger: "Oh, she must be beautiful!!! She has a great body, doesn't she?"

And, ladies and gentlemen, it goes on.

Earlier, I looked around the cafe and noticed another man watching them at the beginning of this insanity. I again looked up to see how he was handling this. To my surprise, he didn't seem agitated or incredulous. What was the look,... amused? How?! I wished I could just turn around and see what he could see. Why did it ease his frustration?

When the fighting couple stopped the banter, I decided I needed a refill on my caffeine and turned around to ask the woman, who happened to be the closest to me, if she could watch my things. I figured I could trust them, since everyone was watching them and they were not going anywhere. Once I had turned around, everything became clear! What I saw made me laugh :) And relax.

Why had I not thought of this earlier? Why had I not considered my surroundings? Hello, we are in NYC! Of course they would have scripts in their hands! Rehearsal in session!

She said sure and off I went to get another coffee. When I came back, they were discussing their strategy for the roles and changing it up. I turned around and asked if I could offer my unsolicited opinion.

After they acquiesced, I told them that I had been going crazy listening to them. They were repeating the same conversation over and over again and that I was about to turn around and tell the woman to just let him go.

Then, I told them how I had not been able to see them. But, from my observations, I thought she was a typical NYC Jewish girl and he a sweet, shy, semi "Turtle-esque" (character from Entourage) guy. Turns out, she was pretty brunette Australian and he was a dead-ringer for Ryan Gosling.

I said, if I were both of them, I'd change nothing. It was super convincing. Ryan's doppleganger beamed. She apologized for bothering me and explained that they did not have space in the theater to rehearse. I told them it was not a bother and that they were absolutely convincing.

Just another day in the life in NYC. Someone always putting on a show. And somedays, there are scripts involved :)

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Great story and well written. You have a number of these type of things. You should think about writing a book of short-stories with a travel theme woven in along with a message about how to live life....