September 25th, 2006 10:13 PM / Location: 40.723193,-73.98223
After some fun-but-hectic signin (134 people signing things and grabbing for ribbons!), I rushed off to checkpoint 3 - The Battery Park Labyrinth. Alex and I had found an honest, hard-working oil lamp at a hardware store earlier that day, so that was my prop. I sat down, took off my name tag, and set up and lit the lamp.
The unfortunate people who passed through first were at a disadvantage in that were looking for "three girls" rather than "a man with a lamp" - but I didn't know this at the time. (the missing three were the original agents slotted for the checkpoint) Being an agent is always a mixed bag - it's great talking to everyone as they pass through, but the down time can get to you. Particularly as it gets later and colder, and the need of a bathroom becomes more immediate...
Anyway, no one decided to fuck with the guy with a lamp that night, but I did have one strange encounter. Just as the last of the players were passing through, a man started playing guitar in the reedy flowers that led in to the labyrinth. Pointing generally out to sea toward the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, he played pleasant strummy cords that got faded into the wind. I couldn't tell if he was singing - I couldn't hear him singing, but I thought he was, for whatever reason.
A couple players passed by him. Neither said anything to the other. After ten minutes, he and I were alone as he continued strumming, and I paced while waiting for updates from Sam and Ian, and counting the minutes until I'd feel like I could leave (without leaving an empty checkpoint for someone).
Twenty minutes passed. He stopped playing, checked a piece of paper on a bench, and then came back and continued. I paced. I fixed the part of the fence some chaseees had knocked down. He kept strumming. I paced, carrying the lamp, sometimes deliberately skirting as close as I dared to the man - I wasn't sure he had even looked at me, yet. I was paranoid enough by that point that I decided to dump the parfin from the lamp - what if the MTA had randomly searched my bag? I packed up and walked down the path toward him. By this point I had almost convinced myself that it must be Lou Reed or someone. I passed by, said "Have a good evening", and got only a cautious, upward half-nod in response.