We got the posters for my new play, Sporknotes, and I’ve been hanging them up everywhere I go. Unfortunately I don’t go many places except from my apartment to work to rehearsal and then back again, but it does mean I spend much time on the subway…as do many other New Yorkers. The F and the A are both good places to poster. Both because of the way the displays are made making it easy to slip signs in and it also makes people curious about what you’re doing giving you an opportunity to hand out postcards. Unfortunately not everyone that you talk to is interested in seeing your shows; some of them are “Crazy Homeless People”.
I’m slipping a poster over the existing ad and I hear “hey”. I realize that it’s a CHP.
“You can’t do that; it’s illegal.”
“Yeah…you got to be careful. If there was anyone watchin’ they could take you downtown.”
“Oh, thanks…I’ll be careful.”
“No, man…you never know who’s down here. There’s undercover cops all over the place.”
“Great, thanks.” (I’m trying to show that I don’t really care, but the CHP just doesn’t get it.)
“You don’t understand.” He gets uncannily serious, “If I was an undercover cop…I could take you downtown.”
“You don’t understand. Listen to what I’m saying. If I was an undercover cop and I wasn’t already on a bigger case, I could take you in.”
He looks me right in the eye and says, “…I would take you downtown.”
I wasn’t sure if he was serious or not, but I was telling this story to a friend of mine and she said that she had a similar experience with a Crazy Homeless Person. In this case it was a CHP that was yelling at her to get her feet off the seat. When she refused, he pulled out a ticket book and fined her fifty bucks. It just goes to show: if a homeless person asks you to do something on the subway, you’d better just do it. If you’re considering going on doing what you’re doing, smell them first to make sure that they are an actual homeless. I haven’t tested my theory out yet, but I’m willing to bet that undercover cops don’t smell as bad as homeless people.