Absurdity happens often. This, we know.
What science has yet to uncover is why it happens so often around me.
I live in a largely Orthodox Jewish neighborhood, filled with synagogues, shuls, and kosher bakeries. Men walk our streets in calf-length coats and wide fur hats, or suits and fedoras. Most shops are closed on Saturdays. It can be quite convenient to live here, particularly when you have a hankering for kosher pizza or chinese food, or you’ve forgotten to purchase the wine glass for breaking at your own wedding, and your already-tuxedoed stepfather is able to dash out to get one from the kitsch shop three doors down. Not that this has ever happened to me or anything.
The other night, Husband and I were having coffee at a local shop before we went to a movie. We were surrounded by orthodox women wearing thick nylon stockings under their black ankle-length skirts. The highlight of the conversation came when one black-clad woman said to another, “Rachel – you know Rachel, right? Rachel who wears a lot of black?” It was like one centipede saying to another, “You know Jim, right? Jim with all the legs?”
So anyway, we were walking over to the movie theater when a car sped by, and the passenger of the car yelled out the window, “Heil Hitler!” I looked around – the street was nearly empty – and realized he was shouting at us. It was dark out, after all, and he must have just seen that I was wearing a long black coat and a hat, and that Husband was dressed in black as well. But still, I thought it was pretty impressive that he’d managed to hurl his epithet at the least Jewish woman in a one-mile radius and her goyishe husband.
It reminded me of the time that I was walking through the lesbian Mecca of Northampton, Massachussetts, when a pickup truck full of teenage boys drove by, and one shouted “Faggots!” at the crowded sidewalk. A tall, butch woman cupped her hand to her mouth and shouted back “Wrong town!”