Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Two t-shirts and a crutch in perfectly good working order

A stack of today’s Village Voice left on the steps. Why? By whom? There’s a review of the Tenant. Sigh. There they are again, those words, abandoned, derelict...I get tired of this...
Ted, John, Hope  and Mim have all gathered for an extended discussion of establishing rental fees which has to include clarifying our vision for the use of each space. What we need to reserve for the Church and the Center, what can be dedicated space for partners, what can be short term rentals, the nature of those rentals, residencies...all these need to be considered. As well as residencies. Danielle comes in and joins us, clarifying the administrative impact of what we’re talking about.
As we’re finishing, four fire fighters come in. They’re here at Hope’s invitation, to advise us about legal issues related to our sidewalk grate/door. But they’re going to take a look all around, which makes me anxious. I remember Amanda’s frantic call to me at the airport when they came unannounced while Woodshed was conducting auditions. 
It will eventually take four trips to complete their visit because every time they get started, an alarm goes off and they’re off to another fire. On one of the middle trips, the fire chief has come along. He’s carefully checking out the basement the doors. It’s a matter of egress, he says, but your first job is to get people in here, then we’ll worry about egress. We want to do our part, help out. . That’s what I needed to hear. 
 I join four fire fighters in the sanctuary. It’s really beautiful, a young, sandy haired guy says. I always wanted to come in here. But all I ever saw was the doors closed and homeless people on  the steps. I thought it was abandoned.  Shake my head, it’s going to take a long time to change this perception. So I tell him the story of our return, how our doors are open every day now. And he says he’s glad.  
Lieutenant Oakley joins us in the office. Look, there’s alot of work to be done. But we’re happy you guys are here. This should be  a church, he says, so we’ll help you. You’ve done a good job with what we talked about the last time. So we’ll keep checking in.
I really do appreciate their help, we’ll keep at it.
Other visitors weave in and out among the firefighters. There’s a location scout looking for  large, high ceilinged space for green screen shooting. Mc Alpin’s not quite large enough. Danielle gives him the name of someone at Union Seminary. Maybe their refectory. Is that with an or an he asks,I’m Polish. I learned that with an i is Christian and y Jewish. It’s interesting.
And then there’s John, a wiry homeless guy, dressed like an Emmett Kelly, only thin, and almost jaunty. Pastor, remember me? in an accent that could be Brookyn, I asked you one time and you gave me  a Bible. 
So, remind me of your name.
John, I’m John.
What can I do for you John?
Well, I need another Bible. I lost mine in the hurricane.
That I can easily do. So I go to the pews, take one of the Bibles. Hand it to him. Here you go.
Thank you, pastor, thank you. 
We shake hands and he’s out the door. I turn to Danielle, I could do that all day long. She smiles.
Teddy stops in to to negotiate out an extended run for Woodshed. There’s been such a demand they need more nights. We’re looking at until the beginning of September. 
Woodshed crew are carrying cases of Brooklyn Pilsner down to the basement. The Brooklyn people have been very generous. Teddy’s going over notes before tonight’s performance. I see a crutch leaning against the wall. Someone get hurt? I ask.
No, someone brought it in. Wanted to donate to the church. Two t-shirts and a crutch in perfectly good working order. How could I refuse?
Tiny Tim maybe?
No, he was taller. I especialy like the Bedazzled t-shirt, holding up a babyblue shirt with sequins.
I say very nice and take the shirts and the perfectly good crutch back to the office. 
                # # # #
Later, I notice two doors filled with sleepers. A bald man with glasses. Not Jobie. And someone else I don’t know. My friend Beppe is joining me for tonight’s performance. I'm out waiting for him, checking out the scene.
Down in the bar, I discover that the bartender, Lesley, is married to Larry Wood, a housing advocate and long time colleague in the Interfaith Assembly on Housing and Homelessness. We also shared a middle school. And Larry was an education advocate as well. Lesley’s familiar with the church because her kids went to what was called Rudy’s gym. She read about the play and when she heard it was sold out volunteered. So here she is behind the bar. 
Beppe arrives just in time for me to buy him a beer. He looks around, quite amazed by the scene. I give him a heads up as to how to experience the play. For myself, I’m going to follow Stella tonight, the love interest of the main character, Trelkovsky. This will be my last time to walk around for awhile. 
We go our separate paths, frequently intersecting. I see some significant scenes I’d missed and several insignificant ones. I’ve got 2-3 different paths I still want to take. After the finale, I take Beppe down the backsteps to the bar. He looks at me, This is great. It feels good, it smells good.  This must make you feel good, he says. This whole thing, it’s about transformation, it’s about life. 
He’s anxious to comeback and bring his wife, Lilijana. We head out to find a cab north. This is my last night out before surgery.

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