I stood at the corner by the diner lost in thought waiting for the stupid red hand to turn into the stupid little man.  I thought about something that seemed really important at the time, but that I’m having trouble recalling now.  It was work, or a girl, or something.  Normal stuff, really.  The kind of utterly regular garbage a person spends so much of their life obsessing over that is, in the end, completely unimportant.  It’s funny what your brain thinks is important in the moment.

Anyway, I was at this corner, waiting to cross so I could go down into the subway and then to work, which was really exciting.  The air was crisp with the onset of autumn and I was wearing a jacket.  Morning was bustling with people on their way to work.  Garbage trucks roared down the street collecting the diverse refuse of the neighborhood.  The day was starting like thousands of others had.

And then behind me I hear a man’s voice say, “Excuse me, sir?”  I turned around because I am, apparently, one of those people that always looks like he knows how to get everywhere and so am asked regularly for directions.  Prepared to tell this guy that Grand Street is four blocks down, he just has to keep going, I was shocked to see him standing there in what I thought at the moment was one of those Renaissance Faire costumes, but which I would later learn was formal wear of the late 18th Century.

“Uh…”  I couldn’t say anything I was so shocked by this guy’s appearance.  I lived in a particularly funky neighborhood in Brooklyn and I was used to seeing people dressed up in all sorts of crazy shit—dudes in dresses, chicks like they’re from the 1940s, people riding those weird tall old bicycles.  But this guy in his crazy history outfit had me dumbfounded.  I eked out, “Yeah?” after a moment. Read more