Fashion & Style has been a cornerstone of the New York Times’ coverage for years, but only recently has it devolved from a legitimate section of the newspaper into a murky bath filled with yoga babies and men who wear dress shoes without socks.
Sure, the Styles section was a tar pit filled with fire ants well before yesterday. But even its most memorable claptrap now looks like hard-nosed journalism compared to this piece, in which a reporter interviewed eight victims on their grocery shopping attire.
I like your outfit. Thanks, it was my mom’s.
Did you make it yourself? Well, the EMTs had to cut it off in the ambulance, so I had to resew it. I decided to get a little funky with it and use red yarn. I think it brings out the bloodstains.
How long have you had that neck tattoo? It’s a birthmark. I used to get picked on a lot because it’s shaped like an Iron Cross, but now I kind of embrace it.
What color would you call that? I usually go with “puce.”
It matches your nail polish. Was that on purpose? Yes.
Occupation: Retired teacher
You’re super old. Who let you in here? I’ve lived here for fifty years. I actually grew up in the Home for Abandoned Youths on Berry Street. It’s where the Equinox is now. I figured it out — my old room is now a storage closet filled with Kiehl’s shaving lotion. It smells way better.
Do you miss anything about those days? Oh, sure. We had so much freedom back then, and Williamsburg was a great place to grow up. Remember the movie Stand by Me? That was loosely based after my life.
What size are your pants? When you get old, they only make them in two styles: khaki and vinyl. And they’re all extremely large. That’s why I’m wearing this lamp cord as a belt.
What’s the one accessory you miss from back in the day? Brass knuckles. I still keep ’em on my bedside table, just in case.
Are you a ghost? No, this is called a peignoir. I got it from the Goodwill on Bedford.
How do I know you’re not a ghost? I mean, I’m holding a box of Triscuits. Could a ghost do that?
Maybe. How old were you when you died? I told you, I’m not a ghost. Is someone seriously paying you for this?
Yeah, a shit-ton. Do you sleep in a coffin or a regular bed? Seriously if you don’t stop poking me I’ll call security.
What kind of animal is that? It’s a Western Lowland Gorilla. I bring it with me everywhere, even though it weighs around four hundred pounds.
What’s it wearing on its arm? A tennis bracelet. I actually bought it as a necklace for my toddler, Miafarrow Abernathy, but she told me it was tacky. I hated to just put it in the trash.
What’s in your basket? Crispix, some kale, a shitload of tampons. I don’t need them anymore, but I want the kids here to think I’m younger than I am. How old do you think I look?
You already told me your age. Yeah but how old do you THINK I am?
I guess you look 43? Fuck you, you know? Just fuck. You.
I really didn’t — LEAVE ME ALONE.
Occupation: Rag picker
Tell me about your neck piercing. It’s actually a nail.
A lot of people would go to the hospital. I will, but I need to pick up some Perrier first. I won’t drink the swill they serve there.
What’s your favorite type of water? Usually I try to make it myself, but it’s a complicated process and I’ve been really busy with writing my new play, Rag Time. It’s semiautobiographical, but instead of human actors, I’m using taxidermied field mice.
I think that title has already been used. What do you mean?
Never mind. Do you always wear that pince-nez? Yeah, it was made locally, a brand called Butler and Slough. They typically only make monocles, but a buddy of mine owns the place and did it special.
Occupation: Actor, singer-songwriter, uplifting blog founder
I really don’t think you’re telling me the truth about your name, or anything else. Yeah I am! I have a website. It’s called Tellow Miggles.
That’s weird. You’re weird. I’m not the one in a grocery store asking people about their clothes.
What’s with your shoes? They’re actually children’s slippers, but they were the only ones I could find covered in both glitter AND bows. The tassels are made of guitar strings.
You’re wearing a vest with a bunch of fly lures on it. Did you just go fishing? No comment.
What are you buying? I’m not buying anything, I like to lick things and then put them back on the shelf.
Why? It’s a rush — check this out.
Oh my god. If you’re not gonna lick anything I have to ask you to leave.
Occupation: None of your business.
I like your bonnet. I like it when people are quiet.
You’re in the granola section — do you have a favorite? No.
Oh. I put the nice granola in the bag and then I label it as the cheap granola so the people at the checkout counter ring it up as the cheap granola and then I save $2.
That’s stealing. No it’s not.