Saturday, June 6, 2009

Running into a cabbie on the subway

I ran into Ryan Weideman, a photographer cabbie I profiled in my book, on the subway platform. He’s insane. Dead space hangs between every word he says, and he sounds like a Beat Poet with an anger problem. Yes, he will turn his wrath on you. He's famous for snapping pictures of people in the back of his cab in the 80s, and you can buy his work from NYC’s Bruce Silverstein gallery, including the photo above, Self-Portrait with Allen Ginsburg.

He didn’t recognize me at first – I’d cut my hair and reverted back to my natural hair color since I last saw him. “Baby, your hair, it’s mousy brown,” he said, looking down at me. “Bleach it out, baby, get all the boys!” I told him I did fine with the boys, thank you. I failed to add that I'm planning on bleaching my hair.

I asked how his hustle dance lessons were going, and he took that opportunity to demonstrate his moves, spinning around on the platform. Bystanders scattered, dodging his long limbs.

The rest of the subway ride we talked about his photos, his hate of the bourgeois how he escapes to the middle-of-nowhere-out-west every summer. Then he told me he was a savage, growling as he pawed the arm of my leather jacket. I ducked away.

He was on his way to a college reunion. They were in for a treat.

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