A Slice of Life Story
True Dinks- this really happened...New York 2003
Bizarro World Visitor
At the risk of sounding like I am beginning to lose my tenuous hold on reality, the longer I live in New York, the more I believe in the existence of conspiracy theories. I am increasingly of the opinion that some perverse being from a parallel wacky world keeps sending individuals through a time portal to manifest themselves in my everyday life. These individuals, whilst generally harmless have a definite leaning towards the fruitcake category. These half -baked fruitcakes crop up regularly in the course of my travels around this place. I am yet to work out why.
Before you dismiss me, I invite you to recall Jerry Seinfeld’s ‘Bizarro world’ where everything was the opposite of what you knew. –And where was that centered? – New York of course!
To support my theory I cite W.E. #327 (That’s Wacky Experience number 327) I had on the No 38 bus whilst traveling down DeKalb Avenue in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene area one workday afternoon.
I climbed on board and nonchalantly sat down. When I looked up, there directly opposite me sat a small, elderly man. The first thing I noticed was his seemingly well-tended grey beard. He was seated right next to the front exit. He was almost gnome like in stature, but this was not what boggled my eyes. It was his traveling outfit. He wore a turquoise tracksuit of dazzling intensity. Over this he wore a pair of loose fitting lime green shorts. The legs of his tracksuit were tucked neatly into a pair of matching lime green socks pulled up to calf height. He wore a lime green woolen cap with a small, red flashing light in the center of it. He also wore a bright yellow mask that was pulled up onto his forehead. It reminded of the type of mask one associates with masquerade balls. On his knees he wore large, black kneepads, not unlike the kind worn by a small minority of skateboarders, or old floor tilers with arthritic knees. Around his shins he wore two larger flashing red lights. They were the kind one more frequently sees on the back of a bicycle. His feet were resplendent in neat black slippers with silver zippers. As he sat there flashing on and off, his little eyes darted left, then right. I began to speculate on what he may be contemplating. My first thought was that he might well have been an ultra safety conscious cyclist in search of a conveyance. But, …why the yellow mask?
A young woman securely wrapped in a winter coat and hat boarded the bus and squeezed into the last available seat on the bus. Ironically it happened to be right next to my little flashing man. Her immediate response was to stare straight ahead of her. She wore a hat that almost covered her eyes and as she reached up to push it further back on her head she began to grow increasingly aware of the little man beside her. She snuck a furtive look at his flashing shins and then discretely moved her eyes towards his flashing cap. She then turned her face away like a naughty child. The look on her bemused face said it all.
When the bus stopped outside Fort Greene Park, the focus of our attention was quite literally gone in a flash.-Down the steps and on his way. We who remained on board were left to wonder about the strangely attired visitor seemingly from another time and place.
Later that week I was talking to my friend Michael Collins about my latest sighting. I told him of the strange little man adorned in gaudy colors and flashing lights.
Michael immediately replied, “I know the guy you’re talking about! When we lived in St.Felix Street, he used to do laps of our block”
“On a bike?” I enquired, keen to confirm my theory
“No, he just used to walk or dance his way along the street.”
Then Michael described in perfect detail the outfit I had seen the man wearing on the bus.
Hmm, A visitor from Wacko World I thought to myself?
I wonder who will visit me next?
Half baked cookies on the sidewalk
Half baked people on my the bus
There’s a little bit of fruitcake
Left in every one of us.
Jimmy Buffett ‘Fruitcakes’