People Who Need People, and An Economy That Needs People

What I’ll miss: Talking to strangers
Subways, sidewalks, elevators. Elevators are probably my favorite. I like to see what choice people make when I try talking to them in a confined space and we have a moment or so to ourselves: Talk back, or not. Most of the time they talk back and it’s fun and people smile, except for the one time this happened:

Two friends and I, then a woman and her friend with her dog, and two guys were on the elevator to the ground floor. The woman and her friend with her dog got off somewhere between the 15th and 5th floors. The dog looked to be something of a Bichon Frise – white and fluffy. When the elevator door closed, one of the guys said to his friend, “My mom has a dog exactly like that. Except it’s fat. And it’s a pug.” His statement took me all the way back to high school, and how my friends and I would glower at the people who said something was exactly like  something else and then describe it to be drastically different. It happened all the time. So when the guy described his mom’s dog, and I couldn’t help but burst out, “That’s not even the same breed!” And then I laughed. And the guys got quiet; it seemed they didn’t understand what I thought was so funny. And then the elevator doors opened like floodgates, and awkwardness flowed out like runoff from a heavy, summer rain. Oh well.

There was also that one time when I asked about birthday cake a guy was holding and it was actually a piece of his brother’s wedding cake and then I asked if he was next. Then he said probably never and never looked happier to be getting out of an elevator. That was awesome.

What I won’t miss: Tourists
I suppose we’re all tourists sometimes, and I’m happy giving them directions, but people: our sidewalks are our throughways. Go with the flow of traffic, or realize you’re in my way and let me pass, and maybe stop with the fanny packs. Thanks.

What Actually Happened(?)

Missing Persons (MP): Hello, Missing Persons.
May: Yes, I’d like to file a report.
MP: Okay, how long has the subject been missing?
May: Um, since Tuesday night, so almost three days.
MP: Where was the last time you saw the subject?
May: Joe’s Pub.
MP: Joe’s Pub?
May: Yes, south of Astor Place, on Lafayette Avenue.
MP: Joe’s Pub.
May: Yes, it was sometime around 9 o’clock at night.
MP: Has the subject tried contacting you?
May: Contacting me?
MP: Phone calls? Emails?
May: What? No.
MP: What does the subject look like?
May: Look like? Uh, slender, clear, about 7 inches long …
MP: Excuse me?
May: It has a fine point, and it writes blue –
MP: Blue? Wait …
May: Yes, blue ink. The brand is Pilot, it has a rubber grip –
MP: This is a missing persons report hotline. What the *&!$ are you talking about?
May: Oh, I’m so sorry, I should have told you at the beginning. I want to report a missing pen.
May: So, like I was saying, it also has a plastic cap with one of those tension clips for when you want to clip it on paper or maybe in a shirt pocket –
MP: A missing pen?
May: Well, it’s not necessarily missing, because I know who took it. Hey, are you the same department as kidnapping? Can you transfer me?
MP: You know who took your pen.
May: Yes, Greg Laswell.
MP: Greg Laswell.
May: Yes, do you guys always repeat stuff like that?
MP: So let me get this straight. You’re filing a missing – no, wait – a kidnapping report for a pen?
May: It’s an important pen. My favorite one, actually. I mean, it wasn’t expensive or anything, but I use it for jotting notes. And writing. And crossword puzzles! I loved doing crossword puzzles with that blue pen. Man, I miss it so much!
MP: I can’t believe I’m still on the phone right now …
May: I figured you could help me most out of anyone, because Greg Laswell, his voice, his look are so distinctive. His songs are so wonderful. (Ahem.) And my pen looks so common. I know you guys could track him down.
MP: Are you a big fan of this Greg Laswell?
May: I really love his music. And I did get to speak with him briefly. That was a lot of fun. He shook my hand. And he asked the names of me and my friend.
MP: Describe the circumstances of your meeting.
May: After his concert at Joe’s Pub, he was chatting with fans backstage. I saw his setlist on the stage and my friends gave me the task of having him autograph it. So I took it, and we headed backstage. We waited around and finally made our way to talk with Greg. I told him he gave a great show, then I said I swiped his setlist and asked if he could autograph it. He did, while jokingly calling me a stealer. My friend then chatted him up a bit … then he asked what our names were and we left.
MP: He asked for your names. Seems like a nice guy.
May: He was a really nice guy. You should see him next time he’s in town.
MP: He called, you know. Described a short Asian and a redhead who looked a bit too starstricken.
May: Huh?
MP: He wants his setlist back.
May: No, I don’t believe you …
MP: I needed to keep you on the phone long enough to trace the call. You’re right about the dreamy voice. Did he have a cold? It sounded like he was getting over a cold.
May: Why would he want a setlist with his own autograph on it?
MP: All I know is that he called demanding his setlist. He wants to arrange a trade.
May: A trade?
MP: Your pen, his setlist.
May: Are police coming?
MP: They should arrive shortly.
May: *$#! How is this even happening?
MP: You’re a stealer. You pretty much had this coming. Also, there will be restraining order in effect when he moves to Brooklyn.
May: Wait – what? Is this for real? But what if I don’t want my pen back?
MP: It’s too late. He said he read your tweet.
May: My tweet?
MP: You’re pretty shameless. He also mentioned you and your friend’s names, specifically. Are you May?
May: What?!
MP: The police have notified me they’re at your door.
May: But I’m not even his biggest fan! My redhead friend! I may be the stealer, but she’s the stalker!
MP: You’re throwing Alicia under the bus?
May: Well … maybe? You freaking know our names?! Hey, Greg knows our names. Cool.
MP: Don’t worry, they’re apprehending her, too.
May: Apprehending? I thought we were just arranging a trade?
MP: I’ve just received word this has escalated to a major security threat.
May: Resistance is futile, I suppose. I’ll answer the door. And I’ll get the setlist.
MP: Your cooperation is very much appreciated, ma’am.