First, my accountant tells me I performed an illegal annuity rollover into an IRA CD. Instead of getting money back from the government, I have to pay the Feds thousands of dollars, which I don’t have.
I applied for a job to resolve this tax screw up, but I’m not even sure I can be a cashier at Pathmark – standing for long periods impedes my circulation. I applied to the arts and crafts store A.C. Moore. I have a degree and I’m barely qualified to put price stickers on foam board.
So I did what I usually do when I’m disconsolate. I walked around Manhattan. I started in the 160’s and worked my way down to 72nd Street where I rested. I exchanged menacing glances with pigeons. Then, I took the #1 to 42nd Street and my entire life flipped upside down.
I found myself coming out of the Bryant Park bathroom and spotting a group of photographers behind a tent. It was Fashion Week and I happened to have my camera with me.
Real-life actual fashion models began popping out of the tent to smoke, text, and well, vogue. Tall, flawless, gamine, sultry, Caucasian, black, Asian, Latino – one after the other emerged like exotic blossoms right into the viewfinders. Pouting, glaring, smiling, and puffing away, they all posed.
Several strangely dressed young men exited, talking on cellphones, with bleached chopped hair that you do not see in Kansas. One guy had dark eyeliner, tights and knee length boots.
A rush of photographers, popping out of nowhere, moved toward a phalanx of security surrounding a tall, impassive blonde with a pixie haircut. I was caught up in the surge, moving fast, carried along, my camera refusing to focus. I missed the shot, but my blood was steaming.
“Who was that?” I asked a scraggly guy checking his digital images.
“Heidi Klum,” he said, without looking up.
My heart pounded. The ICON of this decade. Other models came out; I shot three rolls. They smiled graciously, floated like Queen gazelles, easily navigating terrain wearing three inch heels. Men spoke into earpieces. Everyone who was important had a badge. And the sudden intake of breath whenever another unearthly being exited.
I have found my calling.
I didn’t have to shave or look spiffy. In fact, presenting a slobbish appearance actually helped me fit in. I didn’t have to converse with anyone, especially the models, who don’t seem to converse, period. I could camp out for hours, exist on granola bars, sell my photos of Heidi and Agnes and Tim Gunn and pay off my taxes.
I have embraced the dark side. Magenta, actually. – Joe Del Priore
Joe Del Priore is a Hudson County resident and frequent contributor.