A guy on the train tonight started peeping and beeping and then launched into “Fever” in a weird high operatic falsetto. Then he sang “If I Only Had a Brain.” Then he started imitating Moe Howard: “Why, I oughta…”
It was completely awesome. At first, as usual, I was the only fool who looked up from my book. To be honest, I’ve been a little overtired, and I was afraid that maybe I was having auditory hallucinations. I kept just missing my chance to catch him singing. And he looked so normal, I really wasn’t sure it was him until he finally sang a whole verse of “If I Only Had a Brain.” By the time he got to “I would not be just a nuthin’, with my head all fulla stuffin’,” I had definitely determined that he was the dude.
He was about 50 years old, heavyset, with gray curly hair and a pleasant face. He was dressed like most everyone on the train, i.e., business casual, and didn’t seem to be drunk or homeless.
I rode the F with him all the way from 14th Street in Chelsea to 7th Ave in Park Slope and he sang the whole way. By East Broadway, people — including one bemused Hasidic guy, a skinny red-headed fashionista a la old Stephanie Klein, a smattering of hipsters and yours truly — were exchanging glances with one another. By Jay Street, we were laughing. By 7th Ave, there was outright guffawing. I was afraid the Hasidic guy would drop his prayer book.
You can think us cruel, but I promise you: I was laughing with him, not at him, and I’m pretty sure everyone else was, too. It was a fantastic train ride. Also? Our Tourettic pal got off at 7th Ave, with me and all the other Park Slope-ians. Which means that Park Slope is now the home of yuppies, lesbians, a few random hipsters … and one mentally ill guy who does a mean Peggy Lee.