While waiting to cross Hudson Street in the West Village, I heard someone behind me and turned to see a woman adorned in head-to-toe purple and hot pink spandex, with her hair sloppily pulled into pigtails. I smiled. She smiled back. “It’s good that you’re self aware enough to know that someone was behind you.” I simply nodded and she enthusiastically continued. “Yesterday, I walked up behind a girl wearing earphones and was able to stand right behind her, really close — literally inches! She didn’t even notice. She jumped when she turned and saw me.”
Again, I just nodded and offered a smile. I looked at the crosswalk signal, then at a man walking out of a bodega, then at a passing bicyclist and then back at the crosswalk again. My phone, already in my hand, chimed with a new text message. I looked down at the screen of my phone and the pigtailed woman snidely said, “I guess whatever’s on your phone is soooo much more important than having a conversation with the real live person in front of you.” Before I could respond the signal changed and she bolted into the crosswalk.
Listen, I’m not in a good mood today. I didn’t get enough sleep last night, I don’t feel well, and thanks to the pollen, the only thing drier than my aching sinuses is Miley Cyrus’s career. In short, I am one Cranky Daddy. This complete stranger’s flippant insult slash criticism of me for looking at my phone came out of no where and I was taken aback. The gall! The audacity! I’m typically a non-confrontational peace keeper but I looked at the back of her big stupid head as she quickly power walked away, her big stupid pig tails perkily swaying and bopping from side to side and I was instantly filled with an anger that I think only a fellow New Yorker would truly understand. I suddenly turned into a Real Housewife of I’m Gonna Read That Ass for Filth County and took off after Miss Spandex.
“You think you can just pop off and be rude to a complete stranger like that?” I yelled as I caught up to her. “You wanna get mouthy and crazy?” I positioned myself in front of her, widened my eyes, and said in my Lil’ Jon whisper voice: “I got your crazy right here!”
She flinched and zigzagged around me and yelped, “Leave me alone!”
“Oh, no,” I said, once again tailing her. “You wanna have a conversation, let’s have a conversation! Come on! Let’s converse about how rude you are! You don’t know me! You don’t know my life!” As we neared Seventh Avenue the sidewalk became more populated with other pedestrians but I didn’t relent. I skipped along to keep up with Miss Spandex’s power walk pace and started to point out other people as they walked passed her. “Hey, what that guy? Why aren’t you trying to talk him? Or what about that girl? Hey, why don’t talk to all these people, huh? Why don’t you insult that guy over there because he’s looking at his phone? You want to have a conversation so badly why aren’t you stopping to be Chatty Cathy with any of these people, huh? I guess now you realize it’s not a good idea to talk to strangers and insult them, huh?”
Miss Spandex suddenly spun around and stomped her foot like a toddler having a tantrum. For a split second she looked like she might cry but she mostly just looked mad and batshit crazy. She screamed so loud that her shrill voice cracked, “Leave me alone! What kind of crazy person are you?!”
Without missing a beat I screamed back, “I’m just as crazy as you, lady, only without the pigtails!”
And just like that, Miss Spandex took off down the Avenue — not with a power walk but a full-on sprint. “Don’t talk to me,” she shouted to no one in particular as she darted in and out of the throngs of busy people on their lunch breaks. Her purple arms and hot pink legs sloppily flailed about as she spastically ran. With a smirk on my face, I felt victorious as I watched Miss Spandex disappear — that is, until I heard a passerby say, “What the hell is his problem?” It was then that I realized we had gained an audience. I quickly scanned the crowd around me and saw wide-eyed people whispering and pointing in my direction. One guy fumbled with his phone, and I thought he might be trying to capture my outburst on video. Freaked out, I took off down the street and power walked to the subway.
And then I went to Macy’s and bought myself some hot pink spandex pants.