Tuesday, September 19, 2006

103rd Precinct

I wouldn't know if the 103rd Precinct in Jamaica, Queens, is a particularly busy one. If it's violent, quiet or maybe odd. My guess would be that it is not. I guess this because for two days in a row I've been trying to secure a sound permit for the Amok show in Rufus King Park on Thursday--also my birthday.

As I sat there, glancing at each policeman walking past--oh, yes, some of them are dreamboats--a woman came into the lobby. "I've been kidnapped," she said. Strangely, or perhaps not strangely, none of the officers did much of anything. One of them, a woman, came around the front of the desk and began talking with her. The woman--the potential kidnapee--hadn't actually been kidnapped. This, I gathered from the reactions of people around her. No urgency. No paperwork. Probably she was homeless--they acted as if they knew her. She was one of those egregious displays of irony that NYC offers: an unwashed, maybe crazy, maybe unmedicated, disheveled old lady carrying her belongings in none other than a Takashimaya shopping bag.

Night Court, I kept thinking, even though this was the police station--that ridiculous sitcom from the late 80s, which I always watched after school. With Marsha Warfield as the bailiff. I always liked tough women on television. We watched it at my grandparents sometimes, and Empty Nest, which I think came on Saturday nights at 9:30, and after it was over we had to go to bed. That or the Golden Girls, which was when I really started to figure out what exactly a gay sensibility was. This is what happens when you sit for long periods of time watching all this--your brain drifts and doesn't stop. Memories are like that--you can connect one to the next forever if you want to. You don't even have to want to.

Someone came to lead me upstairs, and so I didn't get to see the end of the possible kidnap situation. Then, sitting at the second desk in the community affairs office, Officer Lowe was finally writing up my permit--a truly nice guy who seemed like he'd do anything for us, despite his inability to help me out the day before, because, simply, there was no hard copy of the park permit form him to Xerox. "Daddy's Girl" written on a mini NYS license plate, thumb-tacked to the corkboard behind him.

"What happened to the bearded lady?" he asked. "She's still around," I answered. "She's off in Battery Park today trying to get that site settled." "Okay," he said, "well, tell her I said hello. Maybe I'll see her next year."

Where I was sitting--someone else's desk, someone who was, as he said "in the field"--there was a Post-It note stuck to the monitor which read: "Mary needs wigs for prostitution."

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