As a teenager I had a few odd jobs. Usually my job was 'be the cute white girl sitting at the front desk and answering the telephone'. For a few years though I did some office work at my father's store, bookkeeping and collections mostly. I loved helping out, and it gave me enough pocket money to buy tickets to some great summertime rock concerts. Good times.
My dad's place was in the village in New York City near Canal street, which was a half-hour walk from home. Using my feet instead of taking the bus or the train gave me a chance to get some exercise, do some window shopping, and listen to some great tunes on my walkman.
One day I was zipping along my usual path; straight uptown on Broadway approaching the shoe stores that lined the avenue near St. Marks. A man was walking quickly toward me. He was crazy-pale white, wearing a grubby tee-shirt, a black jacket and tight black pants, which was fairly typical attire for 1988 in New York City.
He was walking so fast and I was going so fast that I only caught snippets of him, just tiny puzzle piece images. He was really skinny, I remember. I think I could have wrapped my hand around his ankles they were so small. As he passed me I caught a glimpse of long black hair draped sloppily over his face, a prominent nose, and a definite sway to his walk. It was more of a lope, actually, like his whole body went up and down as he took each long step; and he was moving along at a good clip on those teeny tiny legs.
Only after he passed me did the entire image of him come together in my mind, and I stopped. I know him. How do I know him? Who was that? Why do I know him? Was that...Joey Ramone?
I immediately started walking back downtown as fast as I could. "Was it really him?" I thought as I walked. Maybe it's not him. Maybe when I see him up close I'll see, it's definitely not him. He's moving fast, can I catch up to him? Should I be chasing him? All these thoughts came in a quick jumble as I tried to justify why I was now walking really fast away from home, trying to catch up to a guy who maybe, maybe was a member of the Ramones. "I have to know", I thought. I was literally running at this point and about to turn around, when all of a sudden there he was.
I scuttled up and said quickly (slightly out of breath), "Excuse me, are you Joey Ramone?", thinking again, "I have to know." He stopped. He looked at me, said, "Yeah" and I knew, I knew it when held his hand out, I knew it when I shook his hand, I knew it as I looked at his face behind his hair. I must have watched the movie Rock 'n Roll High School a dozen times in the past year, I was certain it was him. I shook his hand, he let go and slung himself away again. He was very quickly out of sight.
I stood there for a moment just letting the experience sit in my belly. Joey Ramone. He said "Yeah". Actually, the way he said "Yeah" was kind of like the rest of him, I reflected, long and drawn out with a bit of a twist in the middle.
I turned around and headed home, repeating the story in my mind so I could tell all my friends later; and now, I've told you. So I guess we're friends then. :)
Did you ever have one of those experiences that went exactly the way you wanted? Yeah, that was one of those times for me.