The human fan operates atop its bulky red deck. “To the right you’ll see The New School” says a man that I can’t help but think is in his thirties with a beer belly plunging over his jeans as he shouts into his microphone.
Everytime I find myself walking home from class I can’t help but notice those big red tourist busses where people’s stares can be felt a mile away. I will be at the crosswalk, and the bus will be halted at a light. This is the moment it happens: What are they looking at, I always wonder. And then I snap into a defense mechanism — I imagine that it is fascination instead of judgement coming down from the big red bus above. I project my old self onto them—wishing and wanting to be ‘a real New Yorker.’ We play a game of pretend. I imagine that my life is better than theirs, that they probably are wishing they could be me. Sometimes I’ll get really cocky. This is when I’m wearing my black and white reflective Illesteva shades or some ripped up denim.. They can’t touch this, I sneer. Then, when the light changes and I must cross, I give them the coolest walk I can muster up and then all at once I even convince myself that I am a badass.
When I step onto the next sidewalk, my fantasy dissolves. I am not a real New Yorker, but a girl from a small town. I think ripped denim is overrated, and the cool glasses I wear I could never afford myself. There’s nothing better down here than there is up there in that big tacky bus. We’re both a spectacle, looking back at one another. I was once a tourist, too.