Sunday, November 16, 2008

People Watching, New York Style

New York City is a great place for people watching. You can't venture outside without seeing something strange. And I've discovered that even though I own black boots and a black coat, I need to invest in fishnet stockings and eighties-style leggings if I truly want to fit in. And possibly a little dog. We saw a man pushing two little dogs in a stroller yesterday. Some people have way too much money and way too little sense.

I've been stopped by four people so far (and avoided making eye-contact with a few oddballs who looked like they were about to stop me). The first was a clean-cut guy shilling for the ACLU who tried to convince me that I should be worrying about the government listening to my private phone conversations. I told him he was overly paranoid, and that the government has better things to do than listen to my phone conversations about diaper changes and PMS (and if they are listening, they deserve what they get). He was bewildered at my indifference, I'm sure.

The second was an old black woman with one remaining tooth who stopped me to ask where she could find an ATM. I told her I didn't know, as I just moved here and was still exploring the area myself. This launched her into a whole discussion about her sister who used to live in Washington, D.C. and her nieces and nephew soon to be born. I nodded and smiled my way down the sidewalk as she chattered at me. We went a full block before I was able to extricate myself from the conversation.

The third stop (and the last one I'll mention, as the other isn't particularly noteworthy) came from a sixty-something professional-looking gentleman who parked himself in the middle of the sidewalk, held up his hand in a halt-now gesture, and asked David and me to stop so he could talk to us. As he was blocking our path completely, and was very insistant about us stopping, we did so. He then proceeded to bend down to Michael's level and ask Michael to give him five. Michael (surprisingly) obliged, and we were on our way. So strange.

Speaking of Michael, he is perfecting his charming ways, saying "hi" and "thank you" and "bye bye" to everyone he meets. He has enamored a large number of strangers, and I don't know if people are just more touchy here or what, but everyone seems to want to touch his hair or give him five or tickle his foot or something. Michael is not a fan of this development, and spends a lot of time trying to climb out of his stroller into the safety of my arms.

Of course I'd probably try to run away too if strange people kept trying to run their fingers through my hair or pinch my cheeks. There are advantages to being a grown-up.


foculbrown said...

We were "weirdo magnates" in Romania. It seems Bucuresti and NYC are the same in that regards: everywhere you look, something strange is happening. The funny thing is: over time you stop thinking some of the things are weird.

Oliver said...

I would argue that the three of you and FoculBrown are just weirdo magnets in general. Have you seen some of the people you hang out with?

Julia said...

In Romania, I met the self-proclaimed "King of the World." He was wearing a light yellow track suit, circa 1984 and was sans crown... or shower, for that matter. To my query, "Why do you live in Romania?" he had no answer, but then again he was graciously greeting subjects next to me.

San Francisco also has its own share of the strange. Did you know the city had its own Emperor? (Self-proclaimed, of course.)