By Kate Conger
By Brian Rinker
By Rachel Swan
By Anna Pulley
By Erin Sherbert
By Chris Roberts
By Erin Sherbert
By Rachel Swan
Adding chutzpah, I hoof it, sideways, up and down a flight of stairs in front of a crowded office building, concluding with an arm-swing around a lamppost, and ending up on one knee next to a guy with a sign that says "Why Lie, I Just Want Beer."
Yes, that's one thing you'll always hear about Infiltrator: "Always the showman!" A regular, modern-day, blond-dreadlocked Mr. Bojangles.
To my frowning bemusement, this heralded song-and-dance number receives nothing more than momentary, stone-faced glances. Where's the applause? Where are the shouts of "Encore!"? Once again, I only get that "what a peculiar man" gaze. Pedestrians look over, then straight ahead. My performance, despite jazz hands to level 11, goes virtually unnoticed. Unlike in real staged musicals, I simply feel like an ass! But again, along this same city block, there's a man in a red cape and a Viking helmet, street crazies pretending to be human statues, and a mime. That's a hell of a lot of competition for a man doing an outdoor musical of his own life.
On the next street corner, there's a nutter with a blue dolphin hand-puppet, asking people for spare change. He's singing the Supremes song "Baby Love." Perhaps he, too, is in his very own musical! That's why I give him a dollar.
"Thank you," he says, waving his dolphin hand puppet.
Maybe a few words of encouragement are needed. Perhaps a song from the musical Annie could sum it up best.
The sun will come out tomorrow
Bet your bottom dollar
That tomorrow there will be sun ...
"Oh good, a song!" he remarks while shaking his dolphin hand puppet. I go into the second verse.
I love ya, dolphin hand-puppet, tomorrow ....
The guy with the dolphin hand puppet wishes he could go back to what he was doing. He wishes I would stop singing. He gives me a look like, "I know I'm crazy, but what's this guy going on about?!" Yes, I'm getting crazy looks from the crazy guy. I carry on.
I think of the day, so gray and lonely
I pick up my dolphin hand puppet and grin and say ...
"You all listen to this young man," he informs an elderly couple. "He's got a good voice!"
I grab his arm, the arm that doesn't have the puppet, and swing him once around, and end my musical number with some relevant spirit for the city of song, on one knee, arm thrust in the air.
Tomorrow! Tomorrow! I love ya, tomorrow. Go Niners! Go Niners!
With that, I continue down the musical road.
Feeling in need of a jolt of energy, I pop into Starbucks. A cute girl behind the counter hands me a white mocha coffee. What a nice, sweet gesture. A gesture that can only be summed up by the words of Billy Joel and his Broadway musical Movin' Out.
Don't go changing
To try and please me
Don't change the caramel in your Frappuccinos
I'm a hit. The girl behind the counter smiles and blushes, while an old Asian woman applauds!
"Very good! Very good!" she says.
I bow, grab my coffee, and get the hell out of there.
Back on the streets, a man in a bright red shirt with a vacant look in his eye approaches me. He hands me a pamphlet.
"What's this?" I ask.
"A Scientology personality test."
Scientology's extremely dodgy. Maybe I could express my feelings toward it better in ... a song! I look directly into his eyes and start belting out the words of R.E.M.
That's me in the corner
That's me in the spotlight
Losin' my religion
Hooked up to an E-meter ...
He thrusts the pamphlet into my hand.
"You really need this!" he says.
My sojourn is nearly over. Reflecting bittersweetly on my afternoon, I slowly turn to an old man working at a flower stand.
I left my heart, in San Francisco ...
"Ha ha ha," he bellows.
I don't really know the rest of the words, so I improvise.
San Francisco was where my heart was left
Do-do-do, a Golden Gate Bridge,
And some nice buildings, in San Francisco ...
The flower-stand man really enjoys this musical interlude within his daily routine. He also enjoys my interpretive tap-dance moves from Cats. And through my scientific findings, yes, life would be more interesting if it were like a musical. Apparently, some people, such as coffee shop workers and crazy men with dolphin hand puppets, would enjoy a show tune a little more than others. So next time you're in public, spontaneously break into a song. Singing is not a crime!