At a Starbucks, where the place feels like a positive commotion. Do not remember last time I was here but probably not as long ago as I so often retrospectively infer. It is Halloween. This was, as a child, the one holiday or event that my mother felt had not yet been excessively commercialized. How time have changed. You could say it always was commercialized. When I was a kid many of the costumes advertised Time-Warner and Looney Tunes characters and franchises. I went out as Casper the Ghost once, and Spiderman another time. But it’s become more of a sensation over the decades, as children ceded the holiday to yuppies, gen-xers, and even the millennials. Christmas, of course, is no different. A religious holiday turned into a retail opportunity for children, now a retail phenomenon.
Kids walking past me now are dressed as surgeons (with blood stains [fake, I hope] on their bibs); leprechauns; unicorns and rainbows; generically painted with blood dripping from eyes; grade school kids wearing private school uniforms… oh, wait. Can’t always tell the costumes from the everyday.
I look but not for long. Too long a glance at a child (or at any human unknown to you) could prompt the social media shame police to haul me, a single man, before the court of public opinion. Millions of the shame police’s worshipers could, without me possibly ever even knowing it is happening, evaluate and speculate on my motives for sitting in a public coffee shop, alone, watching the young people amble by. My face, put through open source face recognition software by the shame police who further treat as gospel the error-riddled public records of the City of New York, is wrongly identified as that of a married father of 3 living on the same street as me, 4 houses down. I go home later to find street debris and hand grenades lobbed at the house of the unwitting individual, who I must say bears no resemblance to me.
Sitting here with the sun blasting in my face so I can spy on the Smart City kiosk across the street. I am looking for reactions of passers-by to the loud rock and roll music I have blasting through the device’s loudspeaker.
It is too damn commotious in here. Going home, or elsewhere.