Times Square is a neighborhood that I generally avoid to go to–more than depths of ghettos. Whenever one goes there, it’s full of people, most of them tourists, wandering around aimlessly dazed with huge screens above their heads on the buildings, neon signs, caricaturists and fake brand purse sellers. They are from all around the world with different backgrounds, different understanding of walking, pedestrians, curbs and bumping into people. Therefore, one needs to acknowledge the fact that if he goes to Times Square, he will be bumped into, step on his foot and pushed at zebra crossing. That’s the demographical attitude on this very land.
The other thing, if you go to Times Square, you are quite likely to watch whatever they are screening on those screens, either out of curiosity or of languor. That’s what I did, I looked at them out of boredom, out of inability to rid away from the aimless wandering pack of tourists. You know, tourists are a kind of their own, they are mostly the same in their behavior patterns: camera in hand, no recognition of movement except for his flock, and their backgrounds that would fit to a nice photograph. Stand there, a little right. Two steps back; oh sorry… excuse me… okay, smile. Sorry, sorry! Oh, look there is…
Well, among all these things going around him–a civis peregrinus–through a whining breath one raises his head to see what’s going on in the screens so that would be a getaway from aforementioned species. There you see, the screen that broadcasts the greetings from troops in Iraq, who are wishing a merry christmas, happy hannukah and a great new year; Joe-the plumber from Queens, Jack Jones from Bronx, Gregory McGlynn from Harlem and many others. I am not writing this to point that Gregory’s name was misspelled at the subtitles that wrote what one assumes to recite the things that his mouth is supposedly saying. As you can imagine we only see the screens, not hear them; even if they had sound, one could not hear it, only the loud Times Square atmosphere.
This screen was giving good news about their sons, brothers, friends or fellow allies, who are fighting there in the middle of desert in order for these tourists to be able to roam at this paradise of the free world, pose for cameras and consume happily ever after.
It was so sarcastic to look at those soldiers thousands of miles from where we stood waving their hands idiotically, moving their mouths saying something that doesn’t really overlap with what the subtitles say and people walking on the curbs not paying attention to them, but to the McDonald’s a few paces away or posing with the cool looking cop at the street junction. It was also funny that Gregory’s name was misspelled as Gregroy in the subtitles. Finally, it was ironic that I was the only one who saw this christmas scene as something not peaceful and merry, but literally disturbing. And mister, don’t step on my foot please!