Friday, September 24, 2021


The subway car erupts with the wail of “Greensleeves,” but only the first verse, played at maximum volume on violin by a stringy, deeply tanned man with greasy, thinning hair.

When he reaches the end of the verse, rather than the song lifting into the soaring chorus, he simply starts over in a loop. He has some feel for music, it seems, holding certain notes longer in tension and speeding up as if tumbling down a hill in the descending phrases, but his overall ineptitude leaves the ends of notes trailing off, fraying out of tune, and the repetition begins to grate almost immediately.

His eyes are closed in (real or feigned) rapture, and the tendons on his skinny arms that protrude from the gaping sleeves of his dirty black oversized t-shirt strain with the emotion he is trying to convey through this one half-remembered phrase from an ancient song, until finally he stops for one blessed moment, before splitting the silence again with a ramshackle version of the theme from “The Godfather.”

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