Friday, October 11, 2013

Just Janis

Mom and I get to the VS train station on our way to see A Night With Janis Joplin. We sit in the waiting room that smells a bit like pee and hear lots of announcements going off at the same time. There's a prerecorded announcement and something less prerecorded. One sounded like it said there was a delay. The other sounded like it said trains weren't running on that particular line. After some deciphering and wandering around the platform, asking people what they heard and what they knew, I hopped on the Twitter to find that there was a fire somewhere on the tracks and that the line wasn't running. Then I put my brain to work and figured, if trains are diverting to Lynbrook, that line must be running.

Mom and I go down the steps from the platform to the lot, and I drive to Lynbrook with about two minutes to spare before the train is scheduled to leave. We park in a space that seems to be parkable without being ticketable. We go up one of the two sets of steps as neither is labeled as "Go Here If You Want To See Janis Joplin Today." We see most people are on the other platform. The woman standing on our platform says that both have trains going to the city. However, she's the only one on our side.

Mom and I go down the steps from the platform and up the steps of the other platform where we can see the digital sign saying that a train will be arriving two minutes ago. So the schedule was all messed up but that was working to our advantage. Then a single announcement came on saying that a train to the city would be arriving on Track 1, The Most Northern Track. No clear sign saying Track 1 was around, but Mom knows North, South, East, West. We are on the right platform. The train finally arrives.

We make stops along the way, stopping a particularly long time at Jamaica where we see people running down the steps, some carrying children scooped under one arm, rushing to a train that was not leaving. Finally it leaves. On the train? A jerky guy with an 8 year old boy, and I know he's 8 because his birthday was yesterday and I know that because Jerky Guy is loudly talking into his cell phone about the birthday, going to the Nickelodeon studios, and something about guns. The 8 year old boy seems slightly mortified when the Jerky Guy insists he talk on the phone about his birthday, telling the Jerky Guy, It's not my birthday anymore, in a very low, very appropriate voice. Next to us is a man eating nuts out of a can who has fingernails longer than any woman I know. It's that kind of train day.

Oh, and we mustn't forget Meredith. Meredith likes to stand when she's supposed to sit. Meredith likes to wail loudly when she's told to be quiet. Meredith likes to turn around in her seat and stare through the seat holes at other people for too awkward an amount of time before being told to stop. How do I know all this? Every minute or so: Meredith? Meredith! Sit down. Meredith? we will turn around and go home. Meredith? Meredith, you need to sit down. Do you want to go to the party, Meredith? Meredith, sit down. Meredith, you need to sit down. Turn around, Meredith. Meredith? Look at me, Meredith. Sit down, Meredith. Meredith, sit down. Yes, that kind of train day.

The subway thankfully runs on time. Up the steps from the train. Down the steps to the subway. Up the steps to Times Square where Mom decides it's a good time to befriend the characters and say, "Hi Spidey!" to which I respond, "We do not have time for this!" Across the broken and hilly and cratered street, up Broadway where construction abounds, to finally finally finally find the theatre after weaving through tourists and other people who do not understand the meaning of urgency.

In the lobby of the theatre, the man looks at us with disdain as we show him our tickets. The usher inside is nicer, saying to me, I'll take care of you in a few moments and it's easy because you're on the end. We walk into Janis on stage, backup singers and band behind her, flipping her hair and drinking her drink and wailing, not in the way Meredith was wailing on the train, but in the way that makes music move you.

Mom and I were able to sit right after the song. The guy next to me cramped my seat and at one point hit me in the head because he tried to get up to join in a standing ovation but lost his balance and fell back down. Mostly everyone in the theatre had gray hair or dyed their gray hair, but this guy had no reason to be off balance because he was like my age. There were several standing ovations. There were several sing alongs. There was a lot of rocking. There was some rolling. No one keeled over. (Safety first!) It was a scene.

At the end, we all sang Mercedes Benz. Talk about an encore. I'm not really sure if the woman who plays Janis can talk between shows because her voice is amazing and she goes full force on every song. And it's not only her. The show includes her influence, all of whom seem to be amazing black lady singers, so when she wasn't singing, one of them was, and they are all equally as powerful.

After the show, Mom and I had a more leisurely walk through the city. We went up to the M&M store to visit S. We chatted for a while, and then S suggested to my mom, Why don't you take a picture with Blue? She motioned behind me so I turned not even a quarter of the way around when I saw BAM BIG BLUE! Not knowing that thing was behind me combined with my general loathing of adults in character costumes, I had an almost-fainting-palpitations moment, during which S was holding her stomach, doubled over from laughing so hard. This? Is friendship.

No comments: