The Dreadlocked Tweeker in the black stretch pants with the absurdly large black purse who blocked my way to the one and only empty seat on the train car that somehow remained available as I pushed and shoved the Passive Aggressive Californians out of my way started doing yoga once we left the Hollywood/Highland station. I didn’t pay much attention until she started laughing and snorting uncontrollably for 15 seconds every minute. In a past life she would have been a Warhol Superstar but in 2018 she was just another annoyance on the Moveable Carnival that is the Los Angeles subway.
I pulled out my copy of “How to Talk Dirty and Influence People” and began reading whatever Lenny Bruce was ranting about on that particular page. The 30 something Brunette had deepened my Mid Life Crisis by forcing me to sit through a 12-8 binge watch of the ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.’
Luke Kirby as Lenny Bruce introducing a jazz band at the Vanguard doing the infamous Jewish v. Goyish bit put me in the mind of the time the Once and Future Ex demanded to know why I always identified as a Jew.
“Because I am,” I said.
“I still don’t understand.”
“Because my father survived the Holocaust and 95% of my paternal family was murdered from 1941-1945. It’s a stick in the eye of Hitler.” I tried.
“But you’re an American.
“And damn proud of it,” I said. “But what’s wrong with a stick in the eye of Hitler? It’s my thing.”
She wasn’t impressed and demanded to know since we, the Jews, owned Hollywood why hadn’t I, a fellow Jew, made it yet since we are well known- notorious even – for looking after our own. I always wondered if she was serious when she said that but she was from Yorkville so I’m not surprised the couple she’s with flies her out to Munich twice a month.
But I digress.
Thirty-one years earlier I answered an ad in The Village Voice to study guitar. The teacher, a bass player named Bobby Rothman introduced to the hip culture. First amendment Messiah Lenny Bruce was one of those artists along with Bird and Pres and Clifford Brown and Sandy Bull. Heady times that occasionally sustain me, even through a Mid Life Crisis.
As I started to read, a large woman holding what looked appeared to skin care products tripped her way up the aisle. She offered the beige tubes with smeared print as English Facial Scrubs in both English and Spanish – but never to the people who actually spoke those tongues – at a vast discount of only one tube for $2.
A sudden lurch caused the Skin Care hustler and another woman to fall over me. Skin Care apologized in Spanish and continued hawking her wares. Behind her, a lovely 27ish woman with Mauve hair, a 1994 t-shirt that read Girl Power, torn skinny jeans and $500 black Manolo Blahnik pumps stood trying to recapture her dignity.
I was entranced by this lovely 5′ 1″ young lady and her mixing of fashion from the previous decades; Anthony Price would have been proud not to mention the 14 year old me in 1983 as my classmate Amanda proffered the same look only with the decade’s demand for white blouses. And both Amanda and Girl Power T-shirt fell off their right 4-inch heels the exact same way as girl in a 1983 Diet Pepsi commercial of blessed memory.
“What are you looking at,” Girl Power T-Shirt demanded.
“I love your look. It has a real Roxy Music thing going on,” I said.
”I came up with my look all on my own thank you,” she said. Then after some reflection came the question “Roxy who?”
She thought for a moment as the train pulled into the Hollywood/Western station and slowed to a stop. “They’re pervs and any man that talks to a woman reading a book entitled ‘How To Talk Dirty’ is such a creep,” she said as she fell off her heel, then gathered herself and walked off into the train station righteously indignant about something.