I went to the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan this morning to check out the American Psychiatric Association’s Annual Meeting setup. The two paid courses that I’m taking today and tomorrow are in another venue, but I wanted to see the hub of the convention and check out other aspects of the meeting.
Like any psychiatrist worth his salt, I also wanted to go to the central facility for the convention to people watch. Yes, I was spying on my brethren. With tens of thousands of registrants for this meeting annually, seven thousand hotels rooms and fifty motor coaches in play to move these people around the city, this venue rivals any airport in the world for the available wealth of visual stimulation if you simply like to observe your fellow man.
I must admit, we psychiatrists are a fascinating breed.
I saw one tall man in a well-tailored light gray suit, a large floppy knit cap on his head, black semi-casual shoes on his feet, wearing no socks.
Behind him came a twenty something female in a tight black dress, carrying a large bag and wearing three inch dress heels.
Next followed a doctor (he did indeed have a badge with his name and MD after it on a lanyard around his neck) who would easily have passed for a homeless person on the streets of New York City. His long gray hair, bushy gray beard, both barely combed, his rumpled pants, t-shirt and flip flops all made for a strangely cohesive ensemble that somehow just did not lend themselves to the professional meeting atmosphere.
Rushing next across my visual field from left to right, walking in that determined way that I’ve learned you must walk in NYC, came a lady who had to be in her sixties. She was slightly overweight. She sported a bright orange form fitting t-shirt, a lime green knit sweater over that. A tight black skirt barely reached mid-thigh level, and from there a pair of bright purple hose made the journey from hemline to shoetops.
There were men and women in business suits, fancy bright bow ties and cravats, hats of several varieties, cases and purses and computer bags and laptop sleeves in every conceivable color and fabric. Women wore heels, flats, tennis shoes, Nikes and boots. Men looked polished, casual, professional and like they had just rolled out of bed.
I was talking with a good friend about all this, marveling at the amalgam of good taste, questionable style, weird color palettes and functionality, who said something that stopped me in my herringbone-jacketed, oxford cloth-draped, Bass-Weejuned tracks.
“So, who do you think is talking to someone on their phone about what you’re wearing?”
Say, isn’t that my bus over there?