Believe it or not, even living in the so-called "most exciting city in the world" most people lead fairly circumspect lives. It just happens - we can't all be Richard Johnson, hightailing it to Bungalow 8 to see whassup with La Lohan.
Yet, no matter how rote day-to-day life might be, in New York City you're bound to run into some nutty characters. It's a game of odds. Have to pick up milk? Run into Gladys, the neighborhood 75 year old who dresses like she's 16. Heading home on the N? Your seat mate Bob would like to introduce you to his imaginary friend Lester. Or less eccentric individuals, like Lily or Abraham, who are infinitely interesting without trying to be. Every town on the planet has their "characters," but what I want to know is specific to New York: do they come to New York because they're characters to begin with or are they characters because they live in New York? A quintessential chicken-or-egg question: is NY more likely to attract 'em or grow 'em?
Case in point: today I ventured to the always entertaining Diamond District in order to get some of my baubles fixed up nice. What should have been a 3 minute errand turned into a half hour comedy routine involving me, Joe, Joe's wife, some random with a coral necklace, and a picture of my breasts which will adorn Joe's repair shop for posterity.
In the deep recessess of the National Jeweler's Exchange, 4 people are jammed into the front of R's Jewelry Repair pouring over one woman's coral necklace, which Joe has restrung. The owners and the Random Woman are yim-yamming about the necklace, how hard it was to restring, what they did to it, what they used to restring it, how long it took, the age of the piece etc. etc. etc. It's gorgeous, yes. But as it's 12:30 and I get supernaturally hungry 1 minute past noon, I just want to get my earrings and get out of there to pick up my pizza lunch. Alas, unwittingly I got pulled into the fray.
Joe: This is beautiful, this. Oh, my god and you can't believe the time it took!
Joe's wife: Beautiful.
Joe: She did it, you know. My wife.
Woman: No. No! It's beautiful! Look at this! (shows me, I nod)
Joe: And the time it took!
Joe's wife: Joe. Joe! We've got a customer.
Woman: What did you use? Silk?
Joe: Silk! You want it to last another 100 years.
Woman: It's beautiful!
Joe's wife: Joe! Joe! Pay attention!
I could go on, but I'll abbreviate the conversation and cut to the chase. I finally managed to pay for and retrieve my earrings, but I was not sprung from the beehive just yet. Joe wanted a picture of the necklace before he released it to its owner. The owner, however, was wearing an outfit that would've greatly clashed with the beauty of the necklace. Joe wouldn't have it - he wanted the picture for his Rogue's Gallery of Fixed Jewelry, and he wanted the picture pristine. Random Woman was wearing a blue gingham blouse, but I, Random Customer was wearing a white boatneck shirt. Would I take the picture with the necklace?
By now, I'm amused enough to agree. Random Woman hung the necklace around my neck as if she were awarding me an Olympic gold medal. Joe's wife got the camera. Joe pointed the camera. I posed. "No," Joe commanded. "You don't need to pose," and then he zoomed in the camera to the necklace only. No face, just the necklace and my breasts. Cheese!
A high end digital Pentax, Joe then spent the next 5 minutes zooming in the zoom on the image viewer, ostensibly showing me how great 7 megapixels make a photo look. All I could see were my boobs taking on Pamela Anderson proportions. "Look!" he exclaimed. "We're so close up, you can see the weave on your shirt!" Among other things, I thought. I was mortified, but Joe's wife and Random Woman were beaming as if they were showing pictures of their newborn baby.
I finally extricated myself from the group and was free to pursue my pizza lunch. On my way up the stairs of the National Jeweler's Exchange, I had to laugh. Who would've thought that a boring errand would turn into jewelry porn?