One cold winter’s day I walked along the street carrying a newly-purchased microwave from somebody off craigslist. It was a steal for $15 and it still works splendidly. As I awkwardly carried it with two hands alongside the wrought-iron fences of Tompkins Square Park I noticed a man of sleight proportions walking towards me, carrying some groceries and wearing unassuming clothing topped by a peculiar hat.
It was not red nor sequined nor rabbit-like; in fact it was foreign, likely not-so-peculiar-looking in whatever country it was made. It caught my eye because I’d seen it before and subconsciously my brain told me to “look at this man more closely.“
As I neared him my arms were already tired from carrying the metal box that would, for many more months to come, feed me previously-frozen foods in non-frozen form. I immediately noticed something: A cocked-eye.
This sent my brain reeling with sensations of something-very-familiar flooding my psyche, compelling me to say "I don’t usually do this, but thank you for your music, it has affected me very deeply; may I walk and talk with you a bit?”
The man quietly smirked in an Bjork-ish accent, “sure - but do you always carry a microwave around the east village?” My arms felt like feathers.
I spent an avenue walk’s worth of time (for the uninitiated, a few minutes) telling him, nay, gushing to him, how much I loved his band’s music. I was so nervous and excited I forgot the name of one my favorite songs of his band’s, Agaetis Byrjun. He very calmly and politely answered my questions: What are you working on? When are you touring? What are you doing now? Are you visiting? What did you buy?
He told me he was working on a couple projects, and that he would be touring soon, and that he was just hanging out in NY for a bit as he did some recording, and that he just had some groceries from the local market. I thanked him, and we parted ways.
Last night I watched him perform at the Hammerstein Ballroom. It was an amazing experience - he’s a musical genius. Emotions ranged from quiet and beautiful to powerful and menacing. It was beautiful witnessing such a quiet unassuming man blossom on stage into a free-spirited spectacle, hitting every falsetto note, making the entire crowd cheer and dance and chant with their fists.