Thursday, October 02, 2008

My brother the performance artist

While reading another blogger's posts a day or so ago -- Amanda's wonderful "No one should see this" -- I came upon a post and a number of comments relating to it which said, both in essence and literally, "Only in Vancouver".

Being a New Yorker, my competitive genes immediately became activated, and I told a story that most New Yorkers would respond to as being something that could only happen in New York. Clearly, that isn't true (as it has happened in Vancouver, and is likely an everyday occurance in just about every city, town and village in mainland China), but even so, it is a story that would most definitely happen to my brother, and indeed, it did.

My brother is almost three years older than me, single, owns his own, very beautiful apartment in the Murray Hill section of Manhattan, and has worked in private banking for many, many years. He can eat anyone under the table (figuratively, and maybe even literally, although I won't go there, girl!), but his gustatory habits are easily counteracted by consistent exercise. He's in great shape. I, on the other hand, used to be but am no more, but that is another story.

One day, he was standing on a station platform -- I'm pretty sure it was W. 4th Street -- when this all-too-familiar feeling, accompanied by internal but audible rumbling, and then sheer panic, occurs. Recalling that there is a workers platform off the passenger one, inside the tunnel, littered with all sorts of debris (including empty paint cans), he hurries to the end of the platform, down the steps, along the track for a few feet, then climbs the stairs to the other platform. He pulls down his pants rapidly, and squats over an open paint can. At that point, a subway slowly rumbles past, slowing down for its destination, or perhaps an upcoming turn in the tunnel. He can see the faces of the passengers quite clearly, and smiles apologetically. At that very moment, he has become -- albeit unknowingly, or more accurately, involuntarily -- a performance artist.

Appropriately enough, this happened in the 80s, when performance art was perhaps at its zenith.


Margo Lane said...

Wonderful! I'm so glad you're blogging and that you told this story. I wonder if your brother would be pleased to find out you're sharing this.. ha!

Cheryl said...

Heh, heh...I haven't exactly told him yet. How do you prepare someone for something like this, anyway?