Crossing Lafayette at Walker, an old man who didn't so much walk as trot. Tiny steady high steps like a dressage horse. He was in a hurry. Clothes a ragged bundle of brown and gray. Face streaked, and hair a mane. He looked apocalyptic. I felt I might have gone back in time. It was more like a dream of an encounter than the real thing. As we passed - and this was the gesture that made me doubt the year completely - he tipped his hat.