A merit badge in awesomeitude to whoever knows what the title references.
Last week I went to New York to visit my best gal pal
who currently resides with a bunch of other ridiculously fun people in the center of an enormous explosion of a city. I go to New York fairly frequently and every time I'm about to leave Richmond, someone, a friend or relative or once a complete stranger says something along the lines of "be careful of the freaks" or "people are craaaaaaaaazy in New York." I have news friends - people are craaaaaaaaazy in Virginia, it's just hidden in suburban neighborhoods and backwoods towns. Take, for example, this house:
That is a house that I pass on the drive to my grandmother's
. In that house you can both get your taxes done and purchase a gun AT THE SAME TIME. My favorite part of that house is that there's a giant sign out front that features an animal one might use a rifle to shoot, wielding a rifle of its own in a sort of balls to the wall come-purchase-a-firearm-and-just-try-and-shoot-me-motherfucker-while-
your-home-business-expenses-get-itemized stance. See:
* Note: It took A LOT of restraint to leave the 'right to bear arms' joke out of that last paragraph. Seriously, it was a lot.
That's scary. I'll take the subway seat next to the homeless guy drinking his own urine from a child's Strawberry Shortcake canteen over the den of taxes and artillery any day of the week.
For me, the great (and terrifying) thing about New York is that all of the city's freakiness is completely on display at all times. Only interested in music that incorporates 1980's game boys? There's an entire festival
for you. Want to eat some decent-ish Pan-Asian cuisine while being spanked with a riding crop by a drag queen dressed as Cher? That happened to my dinner date once when I was eating here
was only serenaded, not spanked). New York is like a great big version of the one kid from your high school who wasn't ashamed of his preoccupation with - choose the one applies to your experiences here - Dungeons and Dragons/Renaissance fairs/catsup/the swing dance club/anime/healing crystals - and everyone else just has to accept that and move on.
My love for the outward freak flag was put to the test last weekend when, while shaking the junx in my proverbial trunx in a New York night club, an older man - say early 40's - came up to me, started stroking the back of my head, and whispered in my ear "I'm David. I teach middle school in Queens. When you wear your hair in pig tails like that, it makes you look like a teenager. I like that."
The only thing creepier than what the guy actually said was the fact that he smiled what appeared to be a genuinely friendly smile afterwards and extended his hand as if to say hey, I'm just a regular old pedaphile that works in a school system. It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance.
3 days, 2 nightmares, and numerous flashbacks to David's oily whisper-monologue later, the creepiness factor had given way to a curiosity factor and I began to think about how it takes, what my father once described as "nuts the size of Rhode fucking Island," to freely admit that you're into one of the most socially unacceptable practices in the Western world. After recounting the whole episode to my mother - who, after two divorces is incredibly jaded of men - she simply gave me a defeated shrug and said in an alarmingly complacent voice "at least he knows who he is." And she's unsettlingly right. At the end of the day, there is something to be said for a person who knows who he is, what he wants, and is honest and confident enough to admit it even if those things are morally reprehensible and viscerally disgusting. On the flight home, an article in the newspaper reminded me that tax season, a dreaded time of year for freelancers, is quickly approaching and suddenly the thought of filing with a gun totin, vigilante bearccountant in backwoods Virginia didn't seem so crazy after all.