I'm on the subway this morning, listening to music on my portable music listening device machine in random mode. A They Might Be Giants song from their most recent album comes on. At the next stop the doors open, and who should walk in but John Flansburgh, singer for They Might Be Giants, the man whose voice is currently yappin' away in my headphones. He winds up right behind me. It's always funny to see 'famous' people in their day-to-day mode, especially early in the morning. His hair was all disheveled and he was unshaven and he looked generally grumpy. I stood there for a bit, pondering all the silly things I COULD do at this point. Do I say howdy? Suddenly it hits me that I forgot the insane fact that this very person is currently singing into my ears. So, using my EXTENSIVE KNOWLEDGE of sound wave characteristics (higher frequencies emanate from tiny headphones more prominently than lower ones) I pick a TMBG song rich in treble (not difficult to find in their reportoire) and crank up the volume. Sure enough, Mr. Flansburgh turns his head and starts staring (okay, maybe just 'looking') at me. I played it cool and continued to act like I had no idea who he was, but I tapped my feet and hands to the music and acted like I was really enjoying it, which I guess I was. I thought to myself, "Hey, at least I'm leaving him with a fun little anecdote to pass on to his friends today". I imagined what he'd say.
"Hey guys, I was on the train this morning and I saw a guy listening to 'Mr. Xcitement' on his headphones. He really seemed to be digging it!".
We both got off at the same stop and I shot him a super-quick 'howdy' smile and continued on in my own direction, happy with my little moment.
Then I wondered, does this happen alot with purveyors of famous music? Do they often find themselves in similar situations to the point where it's no big deal? I felt my heart sink ridiculously as I considered the possibility that this moment meant NOTHING to Mr. Flansburgh! How dare he! I worked so hard to orchestrate the moment JUSY SO for his optimum amusement! Jaded famous bastard! See if I ever give a musician the glorious feeling of seeing a total stranger enjoying their creative output ever again!
Man, did I ever learn MY lesson.
This morning at my lovely temp job at the Interchurch Center (aka the 'God Box') at Columbia University, I saw the guy responsible for refilling everything at the 'beverage station' as he nicely arranged new tea packets on a little tray next to the cocffee machine. Then a woman came up and started repeatingly messing up his nice arrangements! It was just a bit of harmless, flirtatious fun on her part, and as a joke I turned to the refill lad and spoke a favorite quote of mine from the film 'So I Married An Axe Murderer'. I said, "She's EEEE-VIL...like the froo-its of the DE-VEEEEL". Boy did I pick the wrong place to even jokingly compare someone to almighty Satan! Hello! Idiot, you're at the INTERCHURCH CENTER! The woman looked at me as if seriously and personally offended and said, "Well, I hardly think so", and walked off.
She didn't get it.
I uttered a pathetic "It was a joke" and slunk away to my desk.