Oldest Hipster on the Block
Dum-Dum Dumby Dooby Daaahhhh…
Muddling down Bedford with my dull headache and bag of groceries, past the ‘Endless Summer’ burrito wagon and the pop-up flower shop, I suddenly see him: the oldest hipster on the block, dancing to his Doo-Wop.
He must be seventy if a he’s a day. He’s parked his car on the corner of Metropolitan, under the tree by the zebra crossing, its door wide open to the pavement. It’s not a Chrysler, or a Cadillac, just a small, nondescript run-a-round; but the balmy-breezy melodies pulsing from its belly are flooding the crossroads with an old-time magic.
I might not have even noticed him amongst the weird and wonderful of Williamsburg – he’s just an ordinary old man in a grey wool jumper and slacks; but he’s right there, in the middle of the pavement, doing a shuffle-dance, putting the po-faced youngsters to shame.
What? Why? you think as you reach the crossing, resisting the urge to bop.
Next to the car is a chair – the kind you’d find round a swimming pool, where you could sit and drink a pina colada or two. It’s a bit worse for wear – too many days in the sun, perhaps. But for now it’s not needed; the man smiles as he dances away, pack of cigarettes in palm, while the people and cars roll by.
A yellow traffic light sways gently in the blue. You wait for it to turn.
Wahh-wah-wah oh ah…
You walk past another old gent, crossing the other way. His hair is balding on top but thick at the back, oiled into crisp, silver waves. He wah-wahs along to the doo-wop and for a second you are transfixed by the dark, gummy hole of his mouth. You could swear that its pair of remaining eye-teeth just winked right at you. He must have been a ladykiller in his day. Could be still. Reaching the other side of the road you glance back and see the two men have stopped to talk. About what, you can’t tell.
I walk home with a spring in my step, swinging my groceries as I go.