Despite big economic events like the Brexit, we can't forget about those fighting for just a buck or two, one day at a time
In the rumble and roar of global financial trends, big events like the Brexit and nations rising and falling with the waves of trade deals and currency schemes, we can sometimes lose sight of the “little guy” and his economic issues. Here is one such glimpse aboard the #6 Train from the Bronx to Manhattan.
77th Street on my way downtown. I’m sitting on the bench seats. Next to me, on my left, a skinny, nervous, jumpy black kid of maybe 18. Opposite him, a taller, slightly older black kid, lots of braids and a lot less jumpy. They’re rehearsing a rap number, and discussing how they’re going to be successful:
Hey, niggah, this is some shit we gonna even make us a video niggah yeah I can get us some place twenty-five dollars niggah yeah niggah so we split that it’s thirteen-fifty a piece no it’s twelve fifty OK you gimme twelve fifty so this is so stupid and we gotta get that beat right, in there is the part I only use one thing, ass in my rhymes only ass yeah niggah.”
Door opens, a tall older black guy gets on. Towel around his neck, t-shirt. Bag of something. He takes up his station at a pole to my right. Takes out a handful of Daily News, the papers are pristine and fresh from somewhere up above. “Good morning, I am out of work and hungry, and that’s not a good combination, so I’m offering this paper for only the amount of two dollars.” he said, but the rest of the ride is stereo:
“Yeah niggah I goin’ there Friday, Friday I got some and I give you back your twelve-fifty I ain’t got it right now.”
“Let me say that I am hungry and out of a job and that’s not a good thing.”
“This shit is so stupid and we gotta get a video yeah a video cause once we got us a single then you know that other shit be comin’ yeah niggah.”
“Morning newspaper, only two dollars or a dollar or a quarter or some amount I gotta get off at the next stop this is your last chance.”
“Yo, so where you gettin off at? I gotta go to Time Warner then I be checking on this shit and you got the twelve-fifty I ain’t got anything now but we gotta get us a video.”
23rd Street. They all get off the train.
Who’s up, who’s down? What was his job before this? Do they have jobs or just their wild-ass rap fantasies? Does he have fantasies? The system’s set up to maybe get him busted. Such things have happened. They might just get somebody to record their rap tracks, and somebody might put it into a club mix, and maybe somebody hears them and likes a piece of the lyric or maybe they have a friend who gets them that twenty-five dollar deal. Crazier things have happened.
In the mighty heaving to and fro about big national programs, it’s important to remember the #6 train guys and all the scratchers and scrappers and diggers and clawers who are fighting for a buck or two one day at a time. And for that blinged-out platinum card front-row fantasy that shimmers out there as long as you got that rhyme right. Microeconomics, down to the buyer and seller, who wants my beats, who wants this tabloid, who wants what I got.