File under “New York Stories.”
Late one Sunday morning I was on my way in to work—it happens—and I was walking down a largely deserted Sixth Avenue. Tourists were over on Fifth for the shopping, or over on Seventh because of Times Square, etc., but Sixth was quiet and all locked up.
And I could hear bagpipes. Bagpipes? The sound got louder as I walked, until there, in front of a building set back from the street and up a few steps, stood a young guy with his pipes. He was probably around 20, totally cute, and all kitted out from the silly hat and the kilt, right down to the socks and the wonky shoes.
The Scottish boy wasn’t playing at that moment because he was busy posing. A tourist couple (judging from the bows, they were Japanese) were taking his picture, and the kid really threw himself into it. He puffed his chest out and tossed back his head with these red curls, and the couple took several pictures.
And then, amid more bows, they gave the young bagpiper his phone back and went on their way.
In this era of selfies, I probably shouldn’t have been that surprised—but it still made me laugh.