Can’t you almost smell that color?
When I first saw a Mountain Rose Apple, my breath caught. It reminded me of a professor who said that one of the Impressionist painters — I think it was Matisse — brought an apple as a gift when he visited friends. And that’s exactly what these apples are, tokens of affection. The best way to bring something simple and sweet to someone you love.
When I worked in publishing, I loved my commute. I enjoyed the solitude, the chance to listen to people and observe them without having to interact. In the evening, I switched off my brain so I could navigate the subway, being pressed by strangers on all sides. And when I stepped on the escalator, I played a personal lottery, hoping I might emerge from the heat and pressure of the subway and hear a violin in the station above.
Violins in the subway have always been a private pleasure. There’s something about the contrast of being so close to people you can smell the animal on them, and then the absolute civility of a string instrument. Those juxtapositions are the best thing about living in a city. They give you incentive to be grateful.
For years, I’ve wanted to give an extravagant tip to a violin-playing busker. I added it to my Life List and started plotting. I imagined standing out of view and handing small bills to other commuters, asking them to tip the busker on their way out of the station. I thought it would be fun to use two-dollar bills, so the busker would feel appreciated, but also know something was up. Of course, I wanted to film it for the site, so all of you could see it unfold, maybe take some photos of the violinist too.
I told Bryan about my plan a couple years ago, and he surprised me with a stack of crisp two-dollar bills from the bank. I started thinking more seriously about logistics. I’d need some friends — someone to film, someone to pass out bills while I took photos. We’d need to head out at rush hour so there were sufficient passersby to help us tip, and to provide cover. It might take a few days, because we’d have to ride the subway around in search of a violinist, and violinists are a little elusive in San Francisco. Maybe it would take a week.
You can see where I’m going. In my head I was taking a simple pleasure, a moment distinguished by its serendipity, and turning it into a three-person, week-long slog. The plan was pretty in theory, but it was built to surprise and delight everyone but me.
This past year I’ve had to put my Life List on hold, but a few weeks ago I happened to be on the subway by myself for the first time in a long while. I stepped onto the escalator, and listened with my heart in my mouth.
There he was.
So I wrote him a check.
And I dropped it in his violin case before I headed upstairs.
Give $100 to a violin playing busker? Check.
I’ve always wished I knew more about music, and this is part of my Life List project to listen to 1,000 new songs. Right now I’m up to 976, and on Fridays I share some of my new favorites. If you’d like to share some music with me, please link to your picks in comments, and I will listen to them.
Those to Come from The Shins
Two of Those Two by Maria Taylor
Doo Wah Doo from Kate Nash (Thanks, Molly.)
Firework from Katy Perry. I know you’ve heard this. I don’t care. Let’s do this.
Still looking for more music? Here you go: Mixtape 1, Mixtape 2, Mixtape 3, Mixtape 4, Mixtape 5, Mixtape 6, Mixtape 7, Mixtape 8, Mixtape 9, Mixtape 10, Mixtape 11, Mixtape 12, Mixtape 13, Mixtape 14, Mixtape 15 , Mixtape 16 , Mixtape 17 , Mixtape 18, Mixtape 19, Mixtape 20, Mixtape 21, Mixtape 22, Mixtape 23, Mixtape 24, Mixtape 25, Mixtape 26, Mixtape 27
I choose apples the same way I’d choose a puppy, by looking for the one with the prettiest spots. The Black Arkansas apple on the left is so gorgeous. So red, it truly is almost black, except for the mottling on the side. It’s tart and firm, seems like it would make a decent pie apple. The Davisson is flavorful, but a little sweeter.
With the addition of these two, we’re up to 96 fruits. Only 904 to go!
I’ve always wished I knew more about music, and this is part of my Life List project to listen to 1,000 new songs. Right now I’m up to 467, and on Fridays I share some of my new favorites. If you’d like to share some music with me, please send your picks to maggie at mighty girl dot com, and I will listen to them.
These first three songs and/or artists are suggestions from Amber Scott. Thanks, Amber!
“Bag of Hammers” by Thao with the Get Down Stay Down
“I know how you are going to die tonight.” by Chris Bathgate
Sample Lyric: “Lately it seems as though your attitude is an insult
Well I don’t take kindly to that
cuz you’re the dullest tongue yet to slice my back”
“So Sleepy” by Fiona Apple
This song was written by the kids at 826LA, and is part of a benefit album called Chickens in Love.
All songs were written by 826LA students and covered by bands including Fiona Apple, She & Him, The Submarines, Cold War Kids, and more. Buy it.
“God Loves You Micheal Chang” by Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele
(via Josh! A.! Cagan!)
He looks like Elton John, but sounds like Morrisey on Zoloft.
“Modern Man” by Arcade Fire
(via Jacqui Thoman)
A couple weeks ago, I accidentally attended the Arcade Fire after party for their show in Madison Square Garden. I was staying at the Ace Hotel, and I wanted food, and they were having the party in the hotel’s restaurant. So when the doorman turned away for a second, I just went in. Sorry about that, Arcade Fire. Good party.
Still looking for more music? Here you go: Mixtape 1, Mixtape 2, Mixtape 3, Mixtape 4, Mixtape 5, Mixtape 6, Mixtape 7, Mixtape 8, Mixtape 9, Mixtape 10, Mixtape 11, Mixtape 12, Mixtape 13, Mixtape 14, Mixtape 15 , Mixtape 16 , Mixtape 17
Here’s to ice cream cones and sundresses, freeing up space for new projects, and the smell of new shoes.
What are you toasting today?