New York is fcuked up. I’m in Starbucks, recounting last night, and there’s a Latino, balding, pony-tailed man waiting for the traffic light to give him the go. It’s a busy corner, across from ABC. Usually, I spot Smelly Rippa or some other sitcom, soap opera, talk show person in sunglasses and running shorts. Nothing about this freak is “usually.” As he waits, he practices some embarrassingly bizarre body exercise, something with “Tai,” “Chi,” or “Kwan” in it. His feet are shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, as if he’s ready to lift something terribly heavy. Instead of bending, he slices the air in quick movements with his hands, stiff like cleavers. Strong, quick, rhythmic breaths wiggle loose from his diaphragm. His thighs resemble Pugs, round and compact. He’s wearing purple. Who the hell wears purple these days? Definitely not conformists. Though I do hear plum is in for fall.
My driver’s education teacher didn’t just wear purple; he decorated his world with it. His eyeglasses, seat covers, shoelaces, and even his gum, were purple. His name was Rich, but I called him “The peculiar purple pie man of porcupine peak” after a Strawberry Shortcake character from my youth. If you could hear the beat he stepped to you wouldn’t quite be able to dance to it, and you’d never know when to clap. Purple people pretend, dream, and fake seizures to make people leave them alone. I think we can all use a purple freak in our lives, you know, merely for entertainment. Alternatively, there’s always Starbucks on Columbus and W 67th Street.