“Shout outs to the drunk white girls,” exclaimed Awkwafina, gesturing toward a giggling gaggle gathered Thursday night at McNally Jackson Books in Soho. At this month’s installment of the Real Characters storytelling/reading series, the rapper turned New York City tour guide read a couple excerpts from her recently published Awkwafina’s NYC and shared some experiences from a hard-bitten life of riding the rails.
Causing the Queens native particular ire are the subway system’s penniless buskers, a breed arriving to this city “with nothing but a beat-up guitar and a dream, expecting to get famous off raw talent and perseverance.” Instead of headlining Carnegie Hall, though, the street musician will “lie to his mom and dad about finding a good and stable day job when in fact he’s playing whiny folk songs at the Lorimer L stop to the rhythm of his own teardrops,” Awkwafina read.
Afraid of potentially offending several heavily bearded gentlemen in the room, she quickly added: “I’m sorry if that’s you and you’re here right now. Just play, like, every day at the Bitter End.”
Though she didn’t address the hot-button topic of manspreading, Awkwafina had much to say about the see-saw sleeper: “There’s nothing like feeling victimized by someone who isn’t even awake while they’re torturing you,” she said, again reading from her book. “The see-saw sleeper is someone who falls asleep and slowly but hazardously drifts from side to side. The human body is quite fascinating however, as whenever the sleeper drifts too far he abruptly awakens…”
The gaggle was on board with this observation, knowingly nodding in recognition of this New York phenomenon.
“The worst is when they continue to fall asleep, entering into that miserable and endless cycle, which I find is best addressed by gently nudging the sleeper until they’re startled back into consciousness.”
A smile spread across Awkwafina’s face as she recalled a time on the subway that unequivocally cemented her authority as a veteran of the streets. “So these two guys came onto the subway, and they were holding up this woman – she looked like she was sleeping or on drugs. At the next stop the cops commandeered the train and long story short, the woman was dead,” she pronounced to gasps from the gaggle. “That was some real life Weekend at Bernie’s shit right there.”
Next month’s Real Characters is scheduled for a special ‘outdoors’ edition in Bryant Park, you can find out more by subscribing to their monthly newsletter here.