New York: Where Your Twin Has Been Living Since 1985.

Woman on subway, NYC 1973. Photo: Erik Calonius, US National Archives.
Woman on subway, NYC 1973. Photo: Erik Calonius, US National Archives.

My Big Apple bedazzlement continues.

In 2013, the Census Bureau reported 8,405,837 million people living in New York City. If nothing about that number has changed except that me and Yuri moved here, it’s now 8,405,839. If you count my sock monkey in the number, which you should, we can get to a nicer, roundish number of 8,405,840. I’m confident Yuri, Pendennis, and moi are not the only changes to the New York City population since last year, but this is why its funny.

All of these people. There’s one of everything.

I play a little game when I’m out and about. When I see someone totally one-of-a-kind, or outlandish, or remarkable in any way (and everyone is remarkable in some way) I note their characteristics and then try to imagine imagining them. Like:

“Could there be on this earth, at this moment, a person who is a nun, around fifty years old with pink socks, a guitar, and a suitcase with a Grateful Dead sticker on it? Could that person possibly exist in this wide, wide world?”

Then I answer myself that yes, there could plausibly be such a person because in that moment when I’m asking myself, that means I am looking at a person who matches that exact description. The nun was standing in front of Penn Station the other day, waiting for a bus, I assume. Then I play some more.

“Does a person exist who has a spiderweb tattooed on his face and wears corrective shoes?”

Yes, this person lives on my block. Yuri and I call him “Spiderman” and he is frightening to behold. He is acutely homeless.

“Could there be a 4’5 Asian-American girl with a panda backpack and a tattoo of a Pac Man ghost that covers her entire leg, who is screaming at her boyfriend that she wanted peanut butter froyo, not caramel froyo, dammit Reggie????”

Yes, that argument happened about an hour ago out on St. Mark’s Place.

“Is there a male model whose girlfriend is also a model, and are they both wearing large hats and are they both wearing all denim, and are they both Serbian?”

Yep, and yep. Just another piece of the crowd on any given day.

And consider what you’re wearing. Right now, look at your outfit. Someone in New York has that exact thing on, I’m telling you. I can’t say I’ve seen them in it because of course, I can’t see you in it. But someone has it on. They might even share your name.

There’s only one you, but New York gives that concept a run for its money.

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