Sunday, November 27, 2005

Electric Eden

Two lifeguards blow their whistles for beach infractions. I walked on to the rocks, I sat in the ‘clear area’. I look like the hick I truly am.

Three women, lying on beach towels, trying to light their smokes on a windy day. One woman has the bright idea to stick her head in a big bag – flicking the lighter in her plastic tent.

An old couple wading into the water. He’s very skinny & wears a bright yellow bathing cap not pulled down over his scalp. Bunched loosely on top of his head, it looks like a cock’s comb.

People come in all shapes and sizes but Speedo’s, apparently, come in only one.

To ride the Cyclone you must ‘secure all hats, wigs and jewelry’. An old man, hunched into the booth, takes our tickets. We suspect he’s like a goldfish – or square watermelon - and has grown to fit his environment, shaped by his very small space.

I only hold the safety bar half of the time. I scream for most of the ride.

I am brave enough to pee in the washroom (not as dirty as you might think/ not as clean as you’d like) of a Coney Island freak show.

We are old time gullible enough to pay an extra dollar (U.S. funds) to view the ‘Freak Show Hall of Fame.’ It’s a video montage – mostly images pulled from episodes of ‘Biography’ & the Tod Browning film.

A Carny calls us ‘Baby Mommy’ & ‘Baby Daddy’. He pulls us in by yelling, ‘Only other thing you get for $2 is stamps & cigarettes!’ We wonder if his booth is also a time machine.

On a rooftop patio in Brighton Beach, a Russian man uses a Snapple bottle to open our beer. His entire table cheers as foam spills on the concrete floor. Our beer, and their vodka, is technically illegal. No one seems to mind.


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