Lovely readers, it’s been far too long since I’ve posted anything to this blog. Happily I’m getting a chance to share my musings with a wider audience at the Apttus blog, and I invite you to follow me there.
Recently I had the pleasure of spending a few days in Manhattan. There’s nothing like it—a place where the endless variety of human experience is on full display for you to pretend to ignore it.
You never know what you’re going to see.
A man is dancing and yelling along to the deep bass line of music coming from his stereo. “Yeah, yeah, OH YEAH,” he shouts, throwing his arms to the left and the right. Which would be unremarkable, except that the man is driving at the time, paying no obvious attention to the road as he blasts through a light at 26th and Lex. Perhaps he won the lottery.
On 9th Avenue, a man is eating at a sidewalk table of a bistro. With him are four poodles in a baby carriage, all dressed up in identical French sailor shirts with pink and white stripes. The man nuzzles the dogs and feeds them tidbits from his plate. An Asian tourist is trying to take photos discreetly, but it’s hard to hide a telephoto lens. This isn’t normal in his hometown?
Near Columbus Circle, a homeless man has dropped a lit cigarette into a shallow grate. He’s trying to fish it out with a stick of aluminum foil, and two young women are holding out fresh cigarettes to coax him up off his knees. “Take them, take them!” they insist. Walking by, I wonder if this street scene is a setup: Drop a lit loosey, accept charity of two more smokes from well-meaning pedestrians, walk a few blocks and repeat.
And on 5th Avenue, in front of Trump Tower, a man wearing a cartoon-poop hat is selling “Dump Trump” buttons. He tells me he’s sold thousands online, and while we’re speaking a tourist approaches to buy one. The button entrepreneur explains that he’s exempt from the usual vending laws because he is exercising free speech—I certainly see no evidence that a squad of New York’s finest, ten paces away, is paying him any mind. It’s capitalism and political commentary at their finest, but he’s not attracting nearly as much attention as the other protesters, who happen to be four dressed-up small dogs.
It’s just another day in New York.
All photos taken by the author.