Approximately 8:30ish am, I bounce off the train and bound up the stairs into the bustling lobby of Penn Station. I look around to get my bearings, plaster a smile to my face and skip off into the day.
And on the other four days a week, my bouncing and bounding more resembles trudging and stomping, and my smile, upside down.
But no matter what mood I am in, I can’t help but smile—or at least smirk—as I walk towards the 1, 2, 3 train and pass Recorder Guy.
The homeless man spends his mornings resonating the central corridor of the city’s most (second most?) crowded train station with Pop Goes the Weasel on the recorder. The same type of recorder you learned to play in third grade music class.
I quickly gained an appreciation for his presence and effort. He plays non-stop, repeating the song from the beginning as soon as he finishes; although, I have no idea how long he keeps up this repertoire—it only takes me a few minutes to pass.
He hasn’t exactly yet mastered recorder-playing, but compared to the men and women around him, holding out their cups in hope that one of Wall St’s finest will drop their—wait, I forgot, most of Wall St was laid off.
However, in my opinion, this man’s effort goes a long way as he strategically sits only a few feet before the Miserable Man, as I have named him in my mind. The MM sits with his knee up, arm extended resting on his knee, holding his cap, with—and this is what gives him his name—a look of disdain in his eyes as he stares off at the wall.
Since I don’t know how life lead him to his current place, I can’t say he does not have a reason for his eye-glare—and I mean he is living on the floor of Penn so I am guessing things haven’t quite turned out the way he planned—but I imagine his contempt doesn’t help his situation.
And this makes me appreciate and admire Recorder Guy all the more.
Yesterday RG mixed it up a bit and busted out some Wizard of Oz, which I then continued to sing in my head for the remainder of the day. But today, he wasn’t there. I looked around the local vicinity, but he was definitely gone.
I did notice that MM had sparked up a bit. Maybe he recognized the opportunity to bring attention to himself; maybe he had got his hands on a coffee earlier. Either way, he was marketing himself as best he could: talking, waving his hands and making eye contact.
And although I was proud of him, I sure hope RG is back tomorrow with another school-tunes hit!