city stuff: strangers swooping in for the pickup, then swiftly aborting mission.

[ Starbucks, Union Square, 3pm ]

I’m sitting drinking coffee and tinkering with my iPad at a table alone. Enter man in late 30’s dressed in uniform: checkered pants, crisp white top, kitchen clogs.

Man: Excuse me, can I sit here? (Points to seat next to me.)

JC: Sure. (The place is crowded, and this was not the first time I’d been asked to share my table)

Man: My name is Danny, I am a chef! (I turn to look at Danny as he introduces himself. He puts out his hand to shake mine. I shake his hand. It has recently had lots of lotion on it. It is soft and smells like my mother’s lotion, So Pink, from The GAP. Danny does not want to let go of my hand.) OH! My. You look just like my sister!

JC: Really. (Trying to pull away my hand.)

Danny: Yes! Where you from?

JC: North Dakota.

Danny: No, where you FROM!

JC: I suppose I’m Scandinavian…

Danny: You married?

JC: (I quickly scan my mind for a way out of this, but am wearing not a single ring to even attempt faking it.) No.

Danny: You have boyfriend?

JC: Yes.

Danny: Is he AMERICAN?

JC: Yes, he is American!

Danny: OK! (Pauses) Nice to meet you! (Grabs my hand once again, comments on how soft it is, then begins to bring my hand up to his cheek, so as to nuzzle it, and kiss it goodbye.)

JC: (Pulling hand away) OKAY DANNY! OKAY! BYE!

JC: (Hands smell of Danny’s lotion…)

hang with me

LAST NIGHT my roommates and I had over several fantastic acquaintances we met last weekend while out at a local bar. They showed up to our place with instruments in tow — guitars, ukeleles, tambourines, harmonicas, shakers, sticks, even a cowbell — for a full-on jam session. We ordered pizza and cracked beers, played board games and shared company as though longtime companions.

What I haven’t felt, or realized, in some time is how good music feels. The kind of bandage and bond it harbors, the freedom and honesty it beholds. I believe we all felt it, and I am so happy we all can call each other friends.

A small, raw recording of us performing a cover of Robyn’s “Hang with Me” —

For a few more jams, check this out.