People-watching in NYC

When I’m on my own I like to stand still and watch people; so many of them…us…look so quirky and interesting when we are still enough to notice.

Times Square, Sunday evening

A street entertainer on stilts disguised/dressed as the Statue of Liberty is talking to a policeman whose head is at an appreciably lower altitude. I couldn’t say for sure whether the policeman was asking who moved him from Ellis Island because the chat seemed oddly casual. I know if I was listening to a 350 year old inanimate object gifted from the French I’d

Too much liberty can be a bad thing [stock photo]

show a little more interest.

I walked further on to a road block with crowd-line fencing a couple of blocks down. Not having yet found a place I wanted to eat and with my legs achy, I lolled against the fencing and looked at the policemen in the middle of the newly-pedestrianised junction. They joked together after one of them loftily denied a woman’s request to cross the road.

A stranger came up to me and asked, “What are people waiting for?”

“I dunno, I’m English so when I saw a queue I joined it.”

That was enough for them to stand with me for about a minute before they gave up and left.

Two guys approached: one a German tourist, the other his American host…

German guy: “What’s happening?”

Me: “Maybe the apocalypse”

American (to his German friend): “Ugh…he’s European as well [as you]…British…”.

Turns out this wasn’t about to happen after all. Could have been, though.

He smiled at me politely and walked off, while his German friend stayed to talk some more before scuttling off after him.

Asian lady: “What’s going on?”

Darn it…her English doesn’t sound too goo I’d better give her an actual answer…trouble is that makes me sound like an idiot rather than a twit. Oh well.

“I don’t know” (sub-text: “i.e. I felt this indescribably compulsion to stand here for no reason whatsoever”).

I hoped maybe the broad smile that accompanied my reply conveyed that whilst I knew I was a twit, I was OK with it and therefore it was OK. She seemed satisfied.

Nothing seemed to be happening so I walked across to the next avenue to find that was also being blocked off.

Me: “What’s going on?”

Random guy: “Obama’s about to come through”

And he did.

Newark Airport, Tuesday morning

A couple in their 20’s. She’s into her Kindle, he’s obviously not blind but is wearing shades. Maybe they’re expensive and he doesn’t want to risk breaking them in his hand luggage. Maybe he just stabbed himself in the eye with the sharp corner of a shopping bag yesterday while getting into a taxi like Rachael did, and he’s photo-sensitive for a while. No, he’s taken them off and stuffed them in his bag. I think that means he’s just a putz – I’ll look it up. He heads towards the concession stands.

Now here’s a woman who either has or wants us all to think she has immensely expensive luggage. She likewise has shades on but because she’s a woman I mustn’t call her a putz. She’s also far more likely to have stabbed herself in the eye with a shopping bag yesterday than the clumsily attired guy I just mentioned.

A girl of about 7 is deep in conversation with her doll, which shares her owner’s taste in high boots. She then educates Grandad on a few things before moving on to regale her mother with somethingorother. Grandad switches to picking things out of the doll’s hair.

6a00d8341ca1fd53ef013489021f9a970c-800wiTracksuit-shades guy is back after a Diet Dr Pepper errand for his girlfriend. Now that he no longer needs to see where he’s going the shades are back down and he makes like a real man by going into a vegetative state while his other half – the one with the functioning brain – continues to read. He gives her the change from the drink (as well as the drink) so he really is just a mule.

She will probably marry him.



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