Thursday's Things New Yorkers Say: Parks and Lunch

It had been a busy day at Bloomies.

I sought relief in my lunchtime, spent outside at a "park" of sorts near Lafayette and Spring. Subway sandwich in hand, I left for my much needed hour in civilization, without the thousands of questions and constant queries about restrooms or sale prices.

Of course everyone in New York had a similar idea.

I was lucky to find a seat on a park bench facing the sun. As I munched on my meal, I casually read a magazine and observed the world around me.

What it world it was...

First, two girls appear lost. They are looking for a street nowhere near our location, but seem to be working through their directional problems via iPhone. Suddenly, an Asian man who had been sitting near me jumps up to assist them.

"What are you looking foooor?" he shouts like a deaf man learning English, with his head stretched forward and his arms moving the opposite way of his body. It almost looked as though his clenched fists were propelling the words from his mouth. The two girls couldn't even pretend not to hear him. The whole freaking park could have listened in on this conversation if they so desired.

" Christopher Street?" one of them says, trying not to laugh. The other woman has her face turned away from the little man, chuckling despite herself.

No. Not here," he says abruptly shaking his head once.

"Yeah, I know," she continues. "That's why we're looking for it." Somehow over a three-minute time period, they figure out where they're going. The Little Man is pleased with himself as he waves them onward. When the girls walk away, I hear one say, "What the heck was that?"

Then it was my turn for a little craziness...

A woman pulls up in a cab next to me, stopped at a red light.
"Excuse me!" she shouts out the window.
Surely she's not talking to me."Uh, um excuse me?"
I look up from my magazine, and catch her eye.
"The guy next to you..." she says twisting her head, trying to get the obviously foreign twenty-something's attention. He's laughing with his friend, speaking another language quickly, and oblivious to crazy taxi lady.

“Um… she wants you,” I say to the guy
“Where’d you get your hat!?” she says loudly.
“Wha?” the Foreigner says.
“Where’d you get your hat!?” Taxi Lady asks again.
Still no understanding registers on the man’s face.
Great. Now I'm involved.

“Where did you buy hat?” I ask him slowly, pronouncing each syl-lab-le.
“Um. Wha?” The Foreigner really doesn’t understand, and Taxi woman is beginning to look desperate because the red like is about to change.“Where – did – you – (insert me motioning “money” by rubbing my fingers and thumbs together) – buy – your – hat – (insert me pointing at his leopard baseball cap).

By the way, did I mention this was all over a leopard baseball cap?

Suddenly, out of nowhere Little Man jumps in the middle of our conversation, his head stretched out again, arms propelling him forward. “Where you get your hat frooooom?!” he yells.

This makes the Foreigner almost laugh, and I am beginning to giggle at the general situation. “Where you buy hat?” I say one last time.

“Oh,” he picks up the cap. “Japan.”
“Japan!” I shout to the Taxi Lady.
“JAPAN!!” Little Man shouts even louder.
“Oh. Thank you!” she says from the car. Little Man happily goes to talk with her for a moment. He then returns to me and ask, “You. Speak Japanese?”

Keep in mind; I’m just trying to eat my sandwich.

“No, haha not today,” I say. He smiles and walks away, ready to assist anyone on the street – and whether you want help or not, he will assist you.

I try to not laugh as I replay the scenario in my mind. The man on the bench next to me looks my direction, and out of the corner of his eye I see judgement! I know what he’s thinking. His stare is basically shouting, I thought you were normal. That’s why I sat next to you. Just wanted to read my paper… and then people started screaming about Japan. I can’t believe you got involved. You were supposed to be normal.”

Well, buddy. This is New York. That was pretty freaking “normal”… whatever normal even means. And maybe, I don’t want to be as normal as you today.

This was a week full of...

fashion shows...

taxi rides...

phone snatchers...

birthday parties...

fabulous food...

and friends.