People here live in small spaces. There’s no attic to store things. No spare room. Unless you’re a hoarder who likes to sleep on the bed next to unopened boxes from Amazon, you have to get rid of stuff. Even books have to go. In thrift stores here you find first editions. This crate of French books was sitting by the curb on Sixth Street in the East Village a week ago. I take books I thought I’d keep forever to the local library branch and leave them in the vestibule there thinking maybe someone who couldn’t afford to buy the books will be pleased to find them and like them like I did.
Friday, May 18, 2018
Friday is the best day. Like it’s the best night even if I don’t go out to the half-dozen Irish bars in my neighborhood anymore.
Friday is a good day to hold my sign too. More smiling faces. More well-wishing. Have a good weekend some say.
This morning on the tight two-lane street where I hold the sign, where cars come pretty close, a cab stopped right next to me. That happens sometimes. A parent on their way to work is dropping their little kid off at the pre-school on the block. Someone in a leg cast who works in the Dept. of Ed. building right there by where I stand is being let off, helped to the sidewalk by the driver. That’s who I thought would be getting out of the cab today.
But it wasn’t anybody dressed for everyday work. And it wasn’t a parent in a hurry with a four-year-old. It was Laurie Anderson in a rumpled white lab technician’s coat and thrift-store pants with beat-up low boots with her back to me getting out of the cab. I thought it could be her. It was her hair, sort of spiked, but softer than you’d think from all the great photos of her face you‘ve seen. Her face wasn’t as shiny as in the photos either. But it was a great face when she turned and saw the sign only four feet in front of her and smiled fully at me and held out her arms palms up with that face that said yeah of course why aren’t they taught to read that's sad that’s crazy. And then she scooted through cars to the other side of the street.
Thursday, May 17, 2018
Raining out my apartment window. My phone shows rain all morning. No sign-holding today. I’ll meet a friend in from Cleveland for breakfast.
This is a photo from the subway yesterday after I held the sign. After the next stop the train would be so full, I could barely see the two readers.
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
My favorite bookstore window is this one at Three Lives in the West Village. They have other bigger windows with various titles sharply displayed, but in this window they always highlight just one book.
I feel lucky to go to this store. My middle daughter used to live near it and she’d go in there more than a few days a week. That’s how I got introduced to it.
The small rural town I grew up in in western New York State didn’t have a bookstore. The bigger town down the hill did. There are parts of this city that don’t have a bookstore. You could put that fact on the blackboard the first day of class and discuss it all year long and you’d come to recognize the harsh imbalances in the city.