"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

New York Minute

A few years ago I had some words with an older gentleman on the subway. We beefed about space, seating, something trivial. I’d see him after that–never forgetting an enemy–and took a small degree of pleasure when I caught him arguing with other passengers. I hadn’t seen him in a few years but last night he got on the train at 168th street. He looked thinner and older and he smelled. I heard him say something but couldn’t make out the words. A few people stood up and let him sit. He was a sad sight and I felt that I’d been petty, not in having an exchange with him one time, but for holding a grudge.


1 Evil Empire   ~  Jan 20, 2011 10:28 am

Alex, I love it when you write about the subway; it always makes me think of Todd Drew.

2 Alex Belth   ~  Jan 20, 2011 10:45 am

Yes, it's important to be in touch with our inner-Todd, ain't it? Best holiday present that I got was a long, hand-written note from Marsha, letting me know how much the Yankee Stadium Memories book means to her and her family. That's a keeper.

3 thelarmis   ~  Jan 20, 2011 12:51 pm

[1/2] amen. about a month ago, i finished editing the percussion composition "Shadow Games" i composed, in part, for Todd. this coming summer, i'll be adding some vibraphone, so it's not fully 'finished' yet, but it pretty much is.

as much as i wanna get it completely done, it's kinda nice knowing i'll get to give more attention to the work named after him. add vibes, mix, master, release. the album with Shadow Games, should be out sometime the 1st half of 2011.

4 joejoejoe   ~  Jan 20, 2011 1:37 pm

"I felt that I’d been petty, not in having an exchange with him one time, but for holding a grudge."

I've had a lot of trouble in the past with holding on to anger, often anger that welled up out of depression. I didn't want to let go of conflict because I thought I'd be letting go of my memories and experiences, the stuff that was me. I eventually learned you can hold onto your experiences (the exchange) and lay down any bitterness that comes from them (the grudge). It's a very hard lesson to learn but one of the most valuable. Beautiful stuff Alex.

5 thelarmis   ~  Jan 20, 2011 1:44 pm

[4] yeah, i hear ya, man!

2 good quotes, albeit opposite...

the band TooL has a cool lyric: "wear the grudge like a crown."

somewhat recently, i heard a really good quote. hell, it coulda been here at the banter. went something like this...

"When you hold a grudge against somewhat from the past, it's like letting them live in your head, rent-free."

that really struck a chord with me.

6 Alex Belth   ~  Jan 20, 2011 2:05 pm

5) Thanks. I find that it is easy to be angry or resentful but that it is also exhausting.

7 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Jan 20, 2011 2:08 pm

There's a fabulous Oscar Wilde essay, "De Profundis," written while he was in jail, in which (among other things) he argues that Jesus preached forgiveness of enemies not for their sake, but for ours.

8 thelarmis   ~  Jan 20, 2011 2:51 pm

[6] yeah, i'm not really an angry person. and, in general, i'm a pretty happy guy. there are 2 main culprits for me: long-term ex-girlfriend and a bandleader i worked with for 7 years. they're the 2 people that have wronged me more than anybody and they were both so important to me. i harbor that hurt, even though i've gone to incredibly great lengths to diminish the pain.

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