One thing I’ll say for Hoboken, you never know what you’re going to run into on a stroll. Being a sunny Saturday, the parks and piers are wicked packed. Strollers are strolling, runners are running, sun bathers are bathing…all in all just a sunny shiny happy day.
It’s thick and warm out (and I may have been somewhat over aggressive with some lunges yesterday) so I took it a little easier today. I’m down with the the slight discomfort and the good muscle aches that come from pushing yourself a little. I am most certainly not down with inflicting bodily pain or your own self…that’s just masochistic and weird. No me gusta. That could have a little something to do with my never having competed in a triathlon, eh?
So by the time I worked my way past the sticky babies on the 14th St pier, the vast quantities of goose poo in Maxwell park, the clouds of smoke over the skate park, the tangle of fishing poles beneath Stevens, the errant soccer balls whizzing by my head at Sinatra park, and the rotting pumpkin smell of the construction site for Pier C, I started slowing down. It was just too pretty a day to whiz right by it all.
All the rain this week has even the city scape of Hoboken looking lush and green…at least down by Pier A. A ridiculously graceful rollerblader was weaving in and out of the joggers and strollers looking as fluid and flawless as the leaves on the trees. Each breath felt fresh and light and invigorating. So much better out and about, and away from the shadow of Mt. McCardboard. (I know, unpack already El. The jig is up.)
As I was walking out the length of the pier, I heard a horn that just wasn’t quite vibing with the P Funk in my headphones. (Seriously, “Doin’ it in your ear hole” may be the best lyric of all time.) I pushed pause and was aware someone was playing down at the end of the park. As I worked my way over, I realized it was a kid’s birthday party or something. There were a group of probably twenty or so adults and a gaggle of kids running about. About a third of the adults (mostly the women) were trying to hula hoop. The dads were all rocking their camcorders. The toddlers were playing with bubbles and I was unable to fully suppress a snort when one creature covered in blond ringlets tripped and fell face first into a large plate of the bubble solution. (Yes, I seriously need to launder my Karma.)
Perched on a blanket, facing away from the water and looking back at his motley troupe of bubble blowing hula hoopers, was the entertainment. He was a tall lanky bald black guy. He sort of had that Seal look, minus Heidi. Of course his attire was ridiculous. Eighty plus degrees and he’s wearing black velvet pants, a white button down, a long purple crushed velvet jacket, and a gigantic black sequined velour cap. He was sitting on a drum, playing another drum one-handed, and blowing into a trumpet with the other hand. Next to him were two of the tiniest drum kits I’d ever seen. One was being used by a little girl banging her heart out while they other sat empty. Fortunately the tiny kits seemed to emit a level of sound in direct relation to their size .
As I was already fairly worn out, I decided to plop down and enjoy the show for a bit. I found a spot between a gal in a ridiculously tiny bikini and a older disabled guy sunbathing in his wheel chair. After a while, NotSeal put down his trumpet and started just hammering away on his drum. He got distracted when another woman couldn’t figure out how to work her hula hoop. “PUSH your belly, PUSH your belly, PUSH your belly,” he chanted rhythmically. She did not successfully PUSH her belly. She successfully looked like a ridiculous person…but a ridiculous person having a wonderful time. Apparently that was good enough for NotSeal.
So he returned to his blanket and his drum. He sat down, smacked a few beats, then turned behind him to his bag of tricks. He rummaged a bit then seemed pleased with his decision. Back to the banging. After about thirty seconds he started singing along with the drumming. “WHO’s that baby’s Daddy? WHO’s that baby’s Daddy?” He chanted the same line over and over again pointing at various toddlers. The adult party goers all started to look mildly uncomfortable while me and my new wheel chair buddy where giggling rather madly. I think bikini girl was unconscious.
NotSeal continued on. “WHO’s that baby’s Daddy? WHO’s that baby’s Daddy?” He was getting louder and louder but maintaining a steady rhythm…as the faces of the party goers grew steadily redder. Suddenly a cacophonous drum flourish and NotSeal was ready for the next line. “HE’s that baby’s Daddy. HE’s that baby’s Daddy.” With each “HE” NotSeal would pick another random man to point at. To be fair, they occasionally were part of the official party group. My wheelchair buddy leaned over to smack me in camaraderie and help point out possible Baby Daddies.
Another drum solo and on to the next verse. “WHO’s that baby’s Mama? WHO’s that baby’s Mama?” Same steady rhythm but the Baby Mamas seemed to be mellowing out a little. NotSeal was getting so into his drumming and chanting he whipped off his bedazzled hat with wild abandon. Another explosion of intense drumming…and then a brief pause. NotSeal had whipped on a frightening long blond wig and started chanting, “I’M that baby’s Mama.” I thought my new buddy was going to fall right out of his chair. “I’M that baby’s Mama. I’M that baby’s Mama.”
After we’d clearly established NotSeal was every baby’s Mama, he started mixing things up. “HE’s that baby’s Daddy. I’M that baby’s Mama. HE’s that baby’s Daddy. I’M that baby’s Mama.” Apparently NotSeal had engaged in intimate relations with damn near every man on the pier AND carried a child for them. I was starting to ponder if my new friend had achieved such a shade of red from simply laughing this hard or if he might also be getting burned. Most of the men in the group had ceased recording the song for posterity and were shuffling somewhat awkwardly as they tried to appear exceptionally manly. NotSeal again threw himself into a lengthy and frenetic solo ending with him thrusting both hands above his head and hanging his head down as though waiting for thunderous applause.
So NotSeal jumped up and resumed the hula hoop instruction sessions. Wheel chair guy shrugged and leaned his head back for full sun exposure. I turned back on my ipod and hit the cobblestones. Funny though, turns out you can sing “WHO that baby’s daddy” over damn near any beat.