i was drying at a nail salon by union square when a crazy man came in off the street and started a scene. he was well dressed, well fed and did not appear to be a homeless person, but his eyes looked cagey.
the korean shop owner walked over to him and said, “sir can i help you?” and the man said, “yes, i would like to talk to her,” and he nodded in my direction. i turned around and looked behind me in classic “who, me?” form. the shop owner said “her?” pointing to one of the workers. and the crazy man said “no … her,” and pointed to me.
oh fuck, i thought. can i pretend i am not hearing any of this? i couldn’t though. because the shop owner and his wife both turned to me and said: “do you know him? do you want to talk to him?”
every eye in the nail salon was on me.
i said “no.”
the shop owner said, “she doesn’t want to talk to you.”
his wife said, “what do you want?”
and the crazy man answered, “i want to talk to her. i want to tell her she’s beautiful.”
sweet, i thought. a mani, a pedi, and a junkie to boot. i had come to believe that the only men in manhattan who are susceptible to my charms are construction workers and bums. but apparently, i get the crackhead vote too.
the crazy man said, (quite inexplicably, but then the whole incident was), “los angeles, california,” as he extended his hand to the shop owner’s wife. she didn’t shake it. she just frowned at him.
to which he retorted: “huh, can i get a massage or some shit like that?”
“no,” said the shop owner. “you’ve got to leave.”
the crazy’s ire had been stoked, and he began moving his hand around in his pocket.
i had a giant gulp in my throat. i wondered if this was it, the end. was he going to pop us?
“fuck this,” he said and stormed out.
we let out a collective sigh of relief as he left, and then everyone nervously smiled at me. the shop owner and his wife said they never saw the guy before.
i waited a while before running out of there. i ducked right into the subway headed back across town, making sure the guy wasn’t following me.
as i waited for the L train i came across a troupe of breakdancers. a real troupe with parachute pants and a giant beat box and head spins and all that. one guy even did a trick putting a lit cigarette in his mouth, puffing out smoke at pivotal moments. it was pretty awesome, rock steady crew style.
i love new york.