Last night this lady asked me the funniest thing when I was standing out in front of a restaurant on West 10th at God knows what hour.
She said, “Do you know where that Jazz Club is, the small one?”
And she was dead sober and serious and all and seemingly pretty normal other than her question.
I replied, “Smalls? Oh yeah, that is right around the corner.”
And she said, “No, not Smalls. I just walked by there. That isn’t it. It is just a small place. Off of a side street.”
“Do you know which side street?”
“Um, one of these. In this neighborhood.”
I said, “Ma’am, this is Greenwich Village. There are jazz clubs all over the place. If you make a left or a right up there at 7th avenue, you’ll bump into a bunch of them.”
“No,” she said. “It isn’t on a big street. Which one is it? Which one am I thinking of?”
“I’m really sorry I can’t be of more help, but you got me.”
How was I to know which Jazz club she went to the last time she was in town if she didn’t even remember?
And it kept going. “It’s right around here,” she went on, “you know, it is tucked away, and they play music.”
As I scratched my chin, a gaggle of ladies celebrating a birthday somewhere in their early forties stumbled by, and said, “Hey. Hey you. Do you know where Employees Only is?”
I told them, “Down that way on Hudson. Be careful.” And because I had on my Belize t-shirt, which needs to be washed, they asked me, “Have you been to Belize?”
This was the second person to ask me this yesterday. The first was a homeless man across the street from the Neue Gallery, and the third would be about an hour or so later at a Karaoke place (that only takes cash, pfft) on West 4th Street. I told the homeless man and the celebrating ladies “No” -which is the truth- but the third group, which was British drunk tourists, “Yes.” I don’t know why I said yes. The heat, the tenth stop of the day, anyway I wasn’t thinking straight and that was a mistake, because then they wanted advice as to where they should go, what they should do and on and on. And at that point I wasn’t really interested in talking to anybody else.
Anyway, back on West 10th, despite my attention leaving the lady looking for the Jazz Club, she didn’t leave. There she was, still going.
“It has a door, and steps I think? Maybe there are steps inside?”
“Hmm. Yeah steps.”
“There is a stage. A bar inside.”
“Yeah, bar, hm….can’t think of it.”
“You know, they play music.”
“I’m really sorry. I left someone inside. Maybe that guy over there knows. There is a clairvoyant over on Bleecker as well.”
This happens to me almost every day. Anywhere in the world. People always ask me directions. I do my best. I guess I spend a lot of time amongst tourists. To a certain extent I consider myself a tourist in my daily life. I think it is a good way to approach life. You learn to appreciate the little things. I collect coasters and ticket stubs, keep them in a shoebox. One day I am going to make a collage or something that will only be of interest to my mom probably.
In terms of people on the street constantly approaching me, often times I get easy questions like, “Is this Royal Street?” or “Are we on Chartres?” or “Dude, you got a quarter?” or on the subway, “Is this train going downtown or uptown?” Sometimes it gets a little more difficult like, “Do you know where the Hard Rock Cafe is?” Nope.
Another really common one uptown is, “Where is the MoMA?” And since it is not really nearby, I do my best to convince anyone who will listen that since they are all the way up this way anyway, usually walking out of the Met or the Guggenheim, that they should check out the Cooper Hewitt- and I add, “It was Andrew Carnegie’s house,” which invariably receives the reply, “Who’s he?”
I don’t know why people constantly ask me for directions. I told my dad about this and he said he can’t remember the last time someone asked him for directions. He said, “People can tell I am busy.”
Have a good weekend,