The 6 train, 1:30pm
Everybody eyes the 4-piece mariachi band warily when they board the train carrying their instruments at 14th Street. The riders are expecting to hear yet another doleful Mexican country ballad about a lovelorn farmer, one of those Mexican standards that manages to work in the five or six words that seem to comprise every Mexican pop song. Siempre. Corazón. Amor. Fuego.
The youngest band member, a handsome lad in his late teens, whips his cowboy hat off and begins to sing, as the three others accompany him on their guitars. I've got my iPod blasting so I can't hear anything except Giorgio Moroder's From Here To Eternity. But I do notice that some of the passengers are smiling and nodding. Odd. Usually the riders endure these unwanted performances with a sort of grim resignation, happy to leap to the doors and escape when they reach their stop.
I notice that the girl across from me has removed her earbuds and is also smiling and nodding. I'm hesitant to remove my own headphones but curiousity wins out and I pause my iPod so I can listen without looking like I am. And...it's hilarious. The band is playing Destiny's Child's Independent Woman.
The cute boy singer waves at a group of women at the end of the car.
"All you women who are independent, throw your hands up at me!"
And they do. The women wave their hands in the air, they wave them totally as if they do not care. The singer reverses his stance to sing to the women on the other side of the car.
"All you honeys who are makin' money, throw your hands up at me!"
And they do. They also wave without care!
He points at the two black girls standing in the door.
"All you mamas who profit dollas, throw your hands up at me!"
AND THEY DO. In fact, all the women are dancing in their seats or jiggling from their handrails. Girls, I didn't know you could get down like that. Totally worth the two bucks I toss in the kid's hat. New. York. City.