Age and occupation. How long have you lived here, where did you come from, and where do you live now?
I was born in Georgia, grew up in Maryland and Michigan, and live in the East Village. I worked full time as a 911 paramedic for 20 years. Im a writer. (www.maggiedubris.com) Now Im employed as a professional hypnotist, and teach Advanced Cardiac Life Support, in addition to working occasionally on the ambulance.
Three from Chris Gage
1. Can you give me the 411 on being a 911 medic on forty-deuce for 20+ years? I imagine you saw that area change considerably, in a way few people could possibly comprehend.
In certain ways, its completely different now, but in the most basic way, it stayed the same. The Deuce/Times Square area was always a place where nothing was as it appearedshoeshine men sold pot out of their wooden boxes, karate theaters were basically the cheapest flophouses in New York, and the video/pinball arcades served as meeting places for underage male hustlers and their johns. There was a theater called The Lyric that for a while had a message on their marquee inviting people to bring their families to see a movie there -- meanwhile, kids got shot or stabbed almost every week inside. Now its a different kind of deception -- similar to Vegas. Where the surprises are all choreographed. Theres the wax museum, a McDonald's tarted up to look like some kind of theater. To me, its boring, but I imagine at some point it will begin to deteriorate into another version of what The Deuce was when I first started working there. Its always been up and down like that. Grandeur and then decaying grandeur.
2. I paraphrase from your Web site: Maggie is presently employed as a professional hypnotist. If possible, please try to make me quack like a duck or convince me that the kid next to me here at work is stealing my Doritos.
While you were on the subway this morning, I hypnotized you to believe the woman sitting next to you was your wife, and to loudly berate her for not ironing your shirts properly. This elicited great mirth among your fellow commuters. Then, of course, I wiped the entire episode from your mind.
3. Your band was called Homer Erotic and one of its albums was "Homerica the Beautiful." Since you seem to have a fascination with Homer are you queuing up to be the first to see the new movie "Troy"?
Well, I like to sit in the front row, so I find I never have to wait on line to get the seat I want. Oddly, front row center is always available.
Please share a personal (and hopefully interesting) NYC taxi story.
I dont have a taxi story -- but I do have a subway story. Years ago I was arrested for putting slugs in the subway and wound up in subway court. It was packed with people like me who had committed crimes against the subway. Urinated in the subway, put slugs in the subway, and vandalized the lights in the subway. We all pled down to disorderly conduct, one by one, and had to pay twenty five dollars. The judge gave us each a lecture on our bad behavior. I was characterized as a person who did nothing but while away her days selling illegal sparklers and putting slugs in the subway, and the man before me was accused of using the platform as his own private urinal (he had quite a few priors). It was so strange. I thought, what would a judge have to do to wind up being exiled to subway court? It had to be some sort of punishment.
Time travel question: What era, day or event in New York's history would you like to re-live?
I would like to have lived in the 1890s and hung out with Nikola Tesla and Mark Twain. Tesla had his laboratory on East Houston Street, where he would invite friends, including Twain, go come see his latest inventions. That era in New York must have been magical -- so much brilliance and creation going on.
9pm, Wednesday night - what are you doing?
Eating a durian fruit (world renowned as the earths smelliest fruit) in my back courtyard with my neighbor. People are throwing water out the windows at us to drown out the stench, but we dont care. It only makes us happier, as we are filled with the unquenchable joy of life.
Best celebrity sighting in New York, or personal experience with one if you're that type.
Once, I was in a TV repair store, and there was only one other customer. It was Lou Reed. I said, Do we have to take a number? He looked kind of peeved, and said, Yes. Then he stared at the counter until the man came out.
What was your best dining experience in NYC?
Eating goat roti and drinking phosphorescent blue soda with my old partner on the ambulance up in Harlem. We had been really busy, I was starving, I had never tasted roti or goat before, and it was delicious. The perfect combination of circumstances. Plus, we actually had time to finish eating before we got the next call.
Of all the movies made about (or highly associated with) New York, what role would you have liked to be cast in?
Sadly, I cant act, so I would have to be an inanimate object. I think a radio in "Do The Right Thing."
If you could change one thing about New York, what would it be?
Turn off all the lights one night a week so we could see the stars.
The End of The World is finally happening. What are you going to do with your last 24 hours in NYC?
I better go to the botanical gardens -- Ive never been there.
Maggie Dubris' most recent book, Skels, is coming out this week and is published by Soft Skull Press.