“Starting now, I won’t watch TV for a month” She says. She sports a wool brown hat with various pieces of colored lint sewn into a central pink and beige band with points popping out like bear ears. Below that is a funky jacket with shaggy green fur in horizontal strips. She carries a green and white plaid STRAND bag.
She is with a man who is equally bohemian, but two generations removed. Her grampa has an indistinct brown jacket and stark white hat, fur-lined that almost perfectly matches his gray-handle bar mustache. There are splotches of white paint on the back of one hand, blue on the back of the other.
“Cassandra is coming over Sunday!”
“Do you want Hannah to come over too?”
“YEAH!” her enthusiasm is only matched by her diverting curiosity “Why does it say ‘I like’ on your hand?” He shrugs teasingly. She opens the hand in question and reads it, “I like 9…what does that mean?!”
The L train comes. They will travel one stop, going from the tip of the East Village into the heart of Williamsburg, which some call the East East Village. They will travel under a river, from a historic but immortal center of art, free thought and expression into a new world.
“Why would someone put $5000 on a Metrocard?”
She drops two Metrocards, one of them is white with lime green lettering.
“What’s that one?”
“I don’t know, I found it”
“Does it work?”
“I haven’t check yet!” Her bright green eyes are wide—almost as wide as her over-bite grin. She fumbles.
“You dropped them again!”
She giggles and guffaws at her own clumsiness. Barely two seconds pass before she drops them again and picks them up.
“Why do you keep doing that?”
“It’s like Gramma says” as she gets up “things happen in 3’s!”
He guides her off the train.
* * * *
“Did Pop go to college?”
“ A little bit. He went to NYU for a couple semesters”
“Wasn’t for him?”
“No, probably not”
“Yeah, I can just image him tapping his pencil” She says, with a faux-grim look on her face.
They talk about college prices for a bit. He takes off his tan Woodsman hat, with it’s soft wool flops on the interior and holds it upside-down, letting the strings on the end hang down shaking at the mercy of the train. He focuses on them softly while chatting with his daughter. He speaks to her like a peer, with the friendly small talk rolling off his shoulders. She is learning things, always, and maturing.
“Prospect Pahk. Prospect Pahk” He says, imitating the conductor. “Gettin’ there slowly, slowly. About halfway across Brooklyn. Another half to go”
Look at this guy”, he says lowly, head squarely faced to the left in a distinct effort not to stare. “To the right, to the right.” A bright magenta mohawk enters the train and walks the opposite direction. “I can’t believe that woman was wearing sandals and no socks yesterday”, He says “Retaaaaaaaarded. And those guys with no belts. It’s a world-wide phenomenon.”
The train lurches a little but stops. “Just kidding” the girl gives voice to the train. His fat tan leather gloves, are the identical color of his puffy coat and hat. He’s stretching vastly out in a forest of tan. “I don’t feel like stoppin’, pickin’ any of you folks up” He voices for the train as we speed into DeKalb Ave. station “That means another subway’s close behind. These poor folks aren’t gonna get picked up”
The train stops. “Nope” They both say, and laugh. “Close the damn door” The warm mid-western accents and spirits are miles from any harsh, impatient temperament native to New York City, among others.
“Leaving Brooklyn” she says.
“That’s the Brooklyn Bridge. There’s an incredible story of how that was built”
“I know, I read it!” She says excitedly. He tells her about the Bends and I politely inform them that the chief engineer suffered a ferry accident that brought him to his death. It was his son, Washington, which fell ill from the Bends.
“See I could never remember any stuff like that.” The Dad says. “I’d be on Jeopardy like, ‘Who built the Brooklyn Bridge?’, ‘Uhhhh….John Brooklyn? Aggghhh’” He cracks up, his smooth mouth arcing high around his high-bridged nose. “’How much did you bet?’ ‘Uhhhh…30,000’ Alex Tribeck would say ‘Man, you’re the stupidest person who’s ever been on this show!’”
“Hey we’re here! Canal!”
“Yeah, it brought us right to it. Isn’t that amazing?”