My friend Matt was visiting on a gorgeously hot day so we decided to ride our bikes down to Brighton Beach. It was a double bonus for Matt, who majored in Russian Literature, as Brighton Beach is one of New York’s largest enclaves of Russian immigrants. As we locked our bikes up in what has become known as “Little Odessa,” we noticed a large number of definitely Russian folk sunbathing in speedos and even the occasional thong. We had a superb picnic on the beach, fitting right in with our neighbors chowing down on pickled veg and pirogies.
I was scheduled to play an early gig at 7pm, so responsibly set an alarm to leave the beach at 3pm. At 3:20, we walked back to the bikes and were stonewalled by our jammed cable lock that simply would not open. After 10 minutes of fumbling, I dispatched Matt to find a Cop who would hopefully have bolt cutters.
From Matt: “I didn’t see any cops the whole time. There were all these Russian businessmen standing in their shops frowning at and culturally, I had to remember to quash my smile while approaching them. I ended up using some of my poor Russian to ask for a device like bolt cutters and spoke with a nice guy at a shoe repair place who had the right tool but was attached to his workbench. Soon people were telling me to go to a place that I assumed was a clothing shop but seemed to be the name of an apartment complex. When I returned a second time to a shop run by a South Asian man and told him I couldn’t find it he was shocked: ‘How can you NOT find it?’ Noticing that I had been running around and taking pity on me, he invited me to “come rest my friend, you must be quite tired.”
Matt ended up at a hardware store, where he was about to buy some bolt cutters when he received my call. During his 40 minute absence I had called a few locksmiths and one had arrived in his truck. It took about a second for him to cut through my cable lock with a portable saw. We hopped on our bikes at 415 and made it home in record time to shower and head to the gig, eliminating my thoughts of having to jump on the B train in my sweaty, sandy shorts and having to play a set without my guitar.