I just woke up from a dream and I had to share it....
It was a typical sunny May afternoon in Times Square, New York City.
Impatient taxi cab drivers were shouting from their windows and honking their horns. Street vendors were selling their t-shirts and roasted nuts, and a long haired cowboy in underwear was strumming his guitar, without getting much attention from the crowd.
Tourists from all over the world were crowding the sidewalks along Broadway, gazing up at the latest risqué Calvin Klein billboard, moving like a giant machine with many opposing parts, yet in harmony - each part focused on its own specific task without taking notice of the others.
A classic New York City scene, and then, as if upon command, the crowd stopped and parted, and from within, a small but boisterous group emerged, unaware of their surroundings.
Each member was wielding at least one camera - some had two or three. Most were packing small handheld video cameras and they were snapping pictures and taking movies like Japanese tourists at the Grand Canyon.
Stunned by the small cluster’s complete and total oblivion, the crowd fell silent and watched in confusion as screams of joy and surprise bounced off the soaring structures and neon lit signs above.
There did not appear to be a connected conversion between anyone in the animated group, and the onlookers stood stupefied watching the sidewalk circus.
Sunglass hawkers and book vendors that line the edge of the side walk stood on tiptoes to get a glimpse and small children tugged at their parents' pant legs to get attention and were promptly placed on adult shoulders.
Among the bemused mass of observers was a man of considerable age - grayed, wrinkled and slightly stooped. Like the rest of the audience, he watched the unfolding walkway assemblage for what seemed liked minutes, but was more like seconds.
“Not your typical Midwest tourists visiting New York,” he thought, “are they street performance artists?”
He observed their brightly colored t-shirts – vivid shades of yellow and green, as well as some light blues, heather reds and grays. Several shirts were adorned with slogans - PEACE, LOVE, and RBloggers4Peace, and some were wearing unsightly, vibrant pink sandals on their feet.
If not street performers, he thought, perhaps anti-war demonstrators, but he wasn’t convinced because he had never heard of camera sporting demonstrators, and they most certainly were not hammy enough – they did not notice the crowd had frozen around them.
The shouting within the group continued out of control – getting louder and louder and there was some unintentional pushing and shoving as each member vied for the best shot.
It was virtually impossible to concentrate on what any one person was saying and much to the surprise of the elderly man; he noticed not a single camera was pointed up at the marquees and signs overhead. Every camera was aimed within the group.
Finally, feeling fearless, and curious to learn more about the disruptive troupe, the elderly gentleman took a step closer toward the chaos.
He found it nearly impossible to decode a single word there were saying with all the shouts and squeals, but he stayed focused. Concentrating all his energy, slowly, individual voices become more distinct and clear.
“Niecey, come do a vlog with me.” Sounding almost pornographic the aged eavesdropper nearly stepped back into the fold of the crowd, but curiosity got the better of him.
“Bobby, turn this way. Kelly, look into the camera.” The old man looked in their direction and thought maybe it was a group of Broadway actors – they surely had the looks.
“Michele, will you please get out of the way. I’m trying to shoot Liz. No, No Liz, look at me.” He peered at who he believed to be Liz and Michele. He could not take his eyes from Liz’s statuesque exquisiteness and Michele’s beautifully shy smile. Certainly they are stars, he thought to himself.
“Tammy, stop slobbering all over Gpawilli – you too Meli.” Feeling a little envious of the good-looking bald man, he briefly considered what it would be like to have those two lovely ladies ravishing him in the same manner.
“M, move your glass of Jack. I can’t see your face. Kim, will you please tell M to move that glass.” The observer was entranced. Who was this mysterious M and what powers did Kim have over her? Another fleeting thought was, is that Jack Daniels in that huge glass, and is it legal to drink on the corner of Broadway and 45th St? .
“Gia, come stand by me.” He noticed many people yelling for Gia and he could understand why, her entire body appeared to be silhouetted by a halo of yellow.
“Are you talking Kelly G or Kelly W?” He overheard someone ask. There seemed to be some confusion among the group - they acted like they know each other, but possibly did not. Someone quickly gestured for both Kellys to make their presence known and he noted their different, but shared beauty.
“Karen, move your head a bit this way?’ The interloper recognized Karen to be a striking woman who possessed both warmth and understanding – another crowd favorite.
“Gary, where is Patty?” Believing he had a fuller understanding of this roving band of misguided misfits, the man concluded that Gary must be some sort of organizer, and he also wondered about Patty, and what wonderful gifts she must bring to the group.
“Kari…Kat, grab your Flips and let’s go in there.” Bobby was pointing directly in front of him - to the one remaining adult oriented establishment in Times Square. The two ladies, deep in a frenetic conversation, stopped for a moment to see where he was pointing, and quickly returned to their voluble discussion. With a thunderous laugh Bobby continued, “but we can buy Jakie a gag gift or something he can hang in his new place, besides think of the Vlogging possibilities.” This was the second time the old guy had heard someone saying the word vlog. He didn’t know what it meant but it knew the word sounded vulgar to him.
“Tammy, I told you and Meli to leave poor Gpawilli alone.” Oh, to be that lucky Gpawilli fellow, the man thought.
Leaning too far in, the man lost his balance and fell into the theatrical throng of tourists, breaking the invisible wall between the watchers and the watched, and he was instantly overtaken by the masses.
“Mister, will you please take a picture of me and my friends," yelled Liz?
Before the brave stranger could utter a response, M gently, but firmly grabbed him by the hand, without spilling a drop of Jack, led him to the side, and directed him. The crowd parted and each member assembled, reconfigured, reassembled and posed for the photo.
The hi-jacked makeshift photographer took one picture and was descended upon like a lame wildebeest in the company of hungry lions. Hands, arms and cameras were flying everywhere. Ten, twenty, thirty camera wielding hands were wildly thrust in the daring outsider’s direction.
“Mine too please.”
“Over here Mister.”
“Will you please take one with my camera too, sir?”
Shouts, requests and orders were thrown at the commandeered man like he was a short order cook.
The group came together again and more photos were taken. They grouped and regrouped, arranged and rearranged and the photographer patiently snapped pictures until every individual had all the shots they wanted.
Another sidewalk spectator was recruited for the final shot which included the old man surrounded by all the beautiful ladies, with the men standing in the rear.
After numerous enthusiastic kisses on the cheek, firm handshakes and hugs, air kisses and shouts of thank you and goodbye, the group started moving north on Broadway.
The enraptured crowd stood around nervously, unsure if they should applaud, eventually disengaged from the action and enveloped the loud group who disappeared as fast as they appeared.
In their dust stood the benevolent widower, with a knowing smile on his face, pondering what he had just experienced, until, like a sledgehammer to the head it hit him that he had failed to ask who they were, where they came from or what they were doing in the city.
It didn’t matter.
Wrapped in the warmth of their joyfulness and noticeable appreciation, he too stepped into the crowd and made his journey home.
Several hours later, as he was sitting in his favorite chair, absentmindedly watching as Larry King butchered another interview on CNN, and assessing his day, he realized that he had not stopped smiling since his encounter with the crazy group of strangers. It had filled him with more pleasure than he would ever be able to convey to his friends when he later retold the story, but deep down he was still disappointed that he failed to inquire about their mission in the city.
Just then his companion Sam, a 13 year old beagle, walked over to his chair with his leash in his mouth. It was time for their late night walk.
It was well past midnight and the crowds on the street had thinned considerably as the tourists and Broadway audiences moved on to their homes, hotels, or other parts of the city.
Rounding the corner by the New York City Center he was astounded to see a large crowd was still gathered. Had a tour bus forgotten to pick up its passengers, he thought.
The closer he approached he started to hear loud enthusiastic voices and with each step the voices became familiar, as did the faces.
He instantly recognized Gary, and Bobby, as well as Michele, Liz, Karen, Niecey, Gia, Kat and Kari, and the Kellys. M and Kim were there and M had replaced her glass of Jack with Kim’s hand, and there was Tammy and Meli, with Gpawilli stuck in between.
There was one other face in the crowd that looked very familiar, but he could not get a good look because she was being swarmed by the masses so he continued to walk closer.
When he was within a few feet of the group, they turned in unison and he was met with shouts and screams of recognition. Each of the girls kissed him on the cheek again, and the men hugged him like he was family.
Liz and one of the Kellys excitedly yelled, “We were just telling…”but they were cut off. From within the group stepped the unfamiliar, yet very familiar face.
Extending her hand, she said, “You must be the wonderful man that I was just hearing about. You helped make the Rblogger’s day one they will never forget. You are very kind. Thank you, sir. What is your name?”
“No need to thank me Rosie,” he said, “My name is Edward and I must thank them. They made an old man very happy today.”
“Well Edward, these are the RBloggers. They are a ragtag group of strangers-friends from around the country who came together over the past year and annoy their families and friends by spending far too much time visiting my website and talking to each other online. They carry Flip video recorders everywhere they go and spontaneously record themselves doing almost anything, and they all traveled here tonight to see me in No No Nanette, and you helped make their visit very memorable.”
With a full heart, he nodded his head and said, “Rosie, congratulation on the show, and you and your adoring RBloggers are very welcome.”
Edward then turned and slowly walked into the night with his old friend Sam, leaving the enthusiastic crowd behind.
He continued to hear their enthusiastic sounds of happiness, appreciation, adoration and joy - not just while he walked away – they rang in his heart the rest of his life.
The above was unknowingly inspired by Meli... Thank you