I've got something i can laugh about

posted 25 Sep 2003, 3PM | 16 Comments

One of the great things about my new job at USC Web Services is that I get to take public transportation to work. Granted, it takes about 75 minutes - a car ride to a train ride to a bus ride, with walking in between - but I can read, listen to headphones, and feel like I live in an actual proper urban city. The subway sort of reminds me of the T in Boston, although it's much cleaner and certainly more reliable. Still, the entire experience is decidedly more East Coast, and striding through the USC campus fondly reminds me of my B.U. days.

This morning at the Hollywood and Highland stop, a scruffy middle-aged gentleman wearing old glasses, a KROQ t-shirt, a black cap and a bushy gray beard bounded onto our train car with his old acoustic guitar and immediately begin to perform "Good Day Sunshine". He twisted and swayed, and leaned forward to let his hat fall to the floor as he sang verse and chorus with a warm, scratchy stoner voice.

The 8am commuter crowd wasn't having it, though. Only a few of us even bothered to look at him, more curious than entertained. Eventually he abandoned the Beatles for "Lola" by the Kinks, hoping it would better suit the crowd, but nobody much noticed. When he paused and joked, "Man, this is one tough room," I was the onle person who laughed out loud. Everyone else just sat, sighed, stared, or slept.

There are 16 Comments


25 Sep 03 at 10:46PM Lisser said:

On the green line the other day stood "Mr. T look alike man" with ridiculously large headphones, spinning his way from stop to stop. He was incredibly into his music, and would pull record after record out of a huge crate to study it. He was a cool dude. Elena and I both agreed. Others...not so much.


26 Sep 03 at 12:48AM Adam said:

Bummer! Maybe it would have been a different outcome had it been the evening commute?


26 Sep 03 at 05:31AM PeggyAnn said:

We love the DJ man. He lives a few apartment buildings away from Matt and I.


26 Sep 03 at 08:23AM Lisser said:

I think it was the evening commute...perhaps later.
PeggyAnn- That's crazy talk! You should have him over for dinner sometime. I bet he'd be a cool guest.


26 Sep 03 at 09:06AM Martha said:

Public transportation! I'm jealous.


26 Sep 03 at 09:46AM ryan said:

I think I remember that guy, or at least somebody I used to see on the train who fits that basic description. He''s second to my favorite Boston character of all time - the guy who rides his three-wheeled cycle down the sidewalk of Commonwealth Ave, slowly crying "WHOOOOOOP! WHOOOOOOP! like some kind of primitive siren. HE rocks. Actually, I misspoke - Mr. Butch, the six foot Rastafarian, is without question the coolest fellow in Kenmore Square and Allston. So he pushes the other two down a notch.

There aren't enough recurring characters in our continuing urban adventures...


26 Sep 03 at 03:21PM Manda said:

My sister and I recently spent an afternoon at the Lincoln Park Zoo, here in Chicago. It's free and they have polar bears, so already it's one of my favorite places. Unfortunately, some aging hippie had decided to sit her scraggly ass down right next to the polar bear cage and sing shitty songs on her acoustic guitar. And when I say shitty, I mean like "This Land is My Land..." shitty. Whenever a little kid walked by, she would smile and wave with one hand. I seriously wanted to punch her in the throat. There's a fine line between being endearingly eccentric and hideously annoying.

The least she could've done was move to the goat yard... nobody cares about goats.


28 Sep 03 at 05:57PM V said:

The dude with the three wheel cycle does rock. No matter how shitty your day was, no matter how much you would be stressing out about a midterm, Mr. "Whoooop! Whooop!" would always make you smile just a little.

I want to note that the "Elephant Man" character on the MTV commercials where the spin is that it's highschool or college or something, signs his student ID card "J. Merrick".

Merrick. kinda like Hillary or maybe Hollis.

Or maybe the elephant man.


28 Sep 03 at 11:56PM Mr. Butch said:

Do you really work for USC? Or do you, as an unemployed maniac, just show up everyday for work there until security throws you out? I don't see your picture on your link. What do you really do? WHOOOOOOOP!!!!!!


29 Sep 03 at 04:17PM Emily said:

a few times on the tram or train, sometimes something happens and i see something funnt that i want to point out to everyone on the train and often i wonder if they will laugh or even acknowledge me or just keep burying their noses in their issues of MX (a 15-minute reading gossip paper to be read on the train, they give it out at train stations in melbourne). I've never done it. Maybe I should next time, and to hell with what they think.


29 Sep 03 at 11:11PM lisaann said:

congrats on the new gig. however, having attended ucla, i'll withhold my comments about your employer. heh. xo


30 Sep 03 at 09:41AM ryan said:

Manda - In Cambridge there'sthis woman who sits on Mass Ave and begs for change. There is something kind of chubby and squeaky about her; she's like a forty-year old band geek, with just a touch of hippy, constantly belting out her refrain, "Spare shum change, guys? Thanks. Shpare shum change guys? Thanks." She sits atop a crate, staring at nothing, for hours and hours. She certainly puts her time in. During the holiday season she adds,"Merry Christmus" to the end, which somehow makes it worse. People want to kill her.

Emily: I've never been to Melbourne. Where can I get a copy of MX?

Virgil - I haven't spoken to Hollis in a year and a half, and I can't imagine what's happening with Hilary these days. Perhaps I'll try to chase Hollis down... maybe we can get him to join us in NH.

Mr. Butch (if that is your real name): Yes. I really do work here, on a trial basis. But I can't prove that. All I can say is that I can afford rent now.

lisaann: Why you gotta be a hatah? And when the hell do you get back from your permanent vacation?


30 Sep 03 at 03:57PM .sara said:

Have to side with lisaann on this one. (; (Congrats on the new gig, though. I wish the metro stop near me [Inglewood Blvd & the 405] connected with something near work in Santa Monica, but nooo.)


1 Oct 03 at 07:02PM V said:

hehehe....NewLine Cinema presents "Find Hollis"

that would be pissah. you get him here. I'd love to see him.


15 Oct 03 at 09:43PM Bobo said:

Evening Ryan,
its been quite a length of time since last correspondance. Anyway I would just like to state that the best Suggestive Public Musician would have to be the harmonica guy on the green line, i missed my train 3 eperate times listening to that dude. shoulda paid him.


23 Dec 03 at 10:46AM Hollis Merrick said:

Hi, I am Hollis Merrick but I don't know who you are talking about. I live in Ohio. Who is the other Hollis Merrick.

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