One of the weird things about living in
I know it’s mostly ‘cause we’re creatures of habit – if you ride the same subway line at the same time of day, every day, you eventually start recognizing the regulars who share your schedule – but then, Murphy’s Law plays a part too. Last year, for example, I was riding the 2 train uptown with some girlfriends when one of them whispered, “There’s a cute guy staring at you from across the car.” I looked up, and indeed, there was a cute guy staring at me. Not only that, he was actually moving toward us. He squeezed past the other vacant-looking passengers, came to stand in front of me, smiled, and said, “Hey, you never returned my calls!”
At which point I realized that this was not some cute stranger, but a guy who I had slept with several months ago and decided not to call again because – in spite of his undeniably nice face – he suffered from B.O. so extreme that one whiff would have felled an entire herd of buffalo.
But after living here for awhile, having a random run-in with a guy with whom you once had sex isn't even the worst of it. The real problem is that there are just too many fucking people here – you see so many faces on a daily basis that it irreparably screws up your ability to recognize anyone by sight. Add to that the fact that everybody you have ever known in your entire life has a doppleganger living in New York – I can’t count the number of times that I’ve whirled around to double-take at a girl who looks just like someone I knew in high school (only to realize that, if she looks identical to someone I knew in 9th grade, then she cannot possibly be old enough to have actually been that person) – and eventually, you start to feel like every person – on the street, in the subway, sitting next to you at restaurants – is someone that you’ve seen somewhere before.
So it was that I found myself staring intently at a man who I passed in the street yesterday. He was middle-aged, Asian, round-faced and a bit balding, and he had that unfortunate dental affliction wherein all the teeth are crowded at center as though they’d rushed up there in an attempt to leap out and escape. All in all, a pretty unforgettable face… and I was convinced that I knew him from somewhere. But where?
I racked my brain. I knew him, I was sure of it. If only I could remember!
And then I realized that I had, indeed, seen his face before.
He was a dead ringer for Mickey Rooney in his ridiculously un-PC role as the Japanese neighbor in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Missa Go-right-ry! MISSA GORIGHREEEEEE!
I’m not sure what's more bizarre – that my brain has become so addled that it no longer recognizes the difference between “people I’ve met” and “racist characters from mid-century cinema”... or that a person who looks just like Mickey Rooney in yellow-face actually exists.