I’ve been living in NYC and London, 2 of the world’s biggest tourist destinations, most of my life. As you can imagine I’ve seen some really weird things, and after you see so many weird things you kind of develop a weirdness baseline, or a sort of bell-curve where unless it’s out on the tails of the odd curve you don’t really pay that much attention to it. It’s not that your definition of weird changes, it’s that you learn how far weirdness can go and you become less interested in lower levels of weirdness. I still notice things that are weird but routine weird doesn’t really get on the radar. I know the living statue of a sphinx is there, and if someone asks later if I saw one I would say yes, but I’d never bring it up unless the subject of kicking living statues’ heads in came up as it’s something I’d like to try someday if I could do it without fear of prosecution. Somehow I don’t think that “I was just minding my own business when this nutcase in a tiger suit jumped at me claws-first! I felt my life was in mortal danger so naturally I had to feed him his own testicles before individually crushing each of his vertebra,” is going to work with the police.
Occasionally I see something that trips my weird threshold. Like the time I saw a Irish bagpiper and an African drummer try to jam together at the 42nd st. uptown 1 subway platform. I can only assume that both of them showed up to the same patch and rather than argue tried to get along. People stopped and watched out of sheer horror. More recently I saw an obviously disturbed man, about 6’5″ wearing pink tights, heavy make-up, and leather boots, which was weird but sad.
Today I saw something weird enough that I had to look. I was out for a walk to get some air and some lunch and I saw someone ahead wearing a cloak and deerstalker cap, ie dressed as Sherlock Holmes. Usually in Covent Garden when you see that it usually means that person is going to spin around and try to pawn a leaflet of some kind off on you, or try and hound you into donating to a charity. In other words it’s not weird, but annoying. The reality in this case was far different; as I walked by I realized to my astonishment that this was a Japanese woman wearing a traditional Kimono, toe socks and flip-flops, with the cloak and deerstalker cap over it all. To use the word mismatch barely even begins to convey the horribleness of this combo. It was impossible not to stare, and I was so surprised I even broke stride. What made her think this was an intelligent combination of clothing I cannot fathom. My only regret was I couldn’t get my camera phone to work in time.
I’m overjoyed to know that the world still has some amazing things in store. Can’t wait until tomorrow!