San Francisco Moment 1

I slip into the busy bright BART train at the last second before the door closes.  No seats so I hold on and settle in for the ride when I am shocked into wakefulness but an unearthly amazing voice.  I know amazing can be taken lots of ways, so let me add that it was not a smooth and lyrical songbird or an exotic compelling foreign accent.  Think of the shock more like someone sneaking up behind you and splitting open the sidewalk with a jackhammer.  This guy’s voice made Louis Armstrong sound like Enya.  I look around wide eyed at the other passengers as if you say: “are you hearing this too?”   A few seats over, the source was a giant bald African American man.  A head that could have easily weighed 80 pounds swayed above a flaring parka that spanned two seats; think Michael Clarke Duncan but not as “dainty.”  There was an eager silence and he spoke again and I could swear that he was gargling rocks, not the tiny gravel of a fish tank but the small stones often used in a garden where a handful is no more than four. If only I had a recording device!  Then I remembered my blackberry; it would have to do.  I moved as close as I could and pretended to be really into reading something on my blackberry and hit the “send voice note” application.  Part of me wanted to have a microphone and just ask him: “What do you think about everything!” just to see how long I could withstand the assault on my ears that was both terrifying and sublime in its pure. . . I can’t even think of a word but the image of magma creatures howling deep in the belly of the earth comes to mind.  The recording doesn’t do him justice but he makes and appearance both in the middle and the end of the recording as he offers advice to a buddy who’s headed to the hospital. (see link below)

Gravel Man


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