Logs:A Matter of Taste
|A Matter of Taste|
"Are you dissing pigeons?"
<NYC> Washington Square Park - Greenwich Village
Behind a majestic white marble arch, a smaller cousin of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, this beautiful green space is a popular destination for the young, the hip, and the artistic. A huge circular wading fountain is the centerpiece, ringed by benches, playgrounds, dog runs, gaming tables, and lush green lawns. In fair weather, the park is almost always crowded with tourists, students, chess enthusiasts, and local families come to tire out their children and dogs.
It's a mild and grey Sunday, but despite the clouds the holiday weekend has brought people out in force. There's a boisterous contingent of children and their minders romping through the grassy areas for an egg hunt several local churches are putting on, a packed dog park filled with yaps, several groups of picnickers. Set up square in the middle of things, today, Gaétan has been here quite a long while, arrived early to secure himself a /prime/ busking spot near the central fountain. He has a pale grey blazer with plain tee shirt, jeans. At the moment, in front of him, he's drawn a small crowd -- though some of the smaller children (many holding plastic baskets) seem eager to get back to the egg hunt rather than wait while their guardians listen to the teenager in front of them play a bass guitar rendition of /How Great Thou Art/.
Holiday celebrations with lots of children mean, inevitably, lots of dropped food. Though Greenwich Square Park is not as wild as its much larger, more northern brother, plenty of creatures of all kinds have found their way to wait in the trees, in the bushes, eager to dart out of the brush and seize various prizes: a bit of dropped sandwich meat here, pieces of pretzel there, even the occasional lost Easter egg.
Occasionally, one of the more daring -- or stupider -- pigeons will try and occupy the tree not far from where Gaétan is busking; a tree occupied by an entire unkindness of adult ravens. This inevitably causes lots of wing-flapping, complaining rrk noises, occasional disagreeable screams, and a quickly departing pigeon.
The ravens, too, have been seen occasionally dropping down to snatch up some morsel of deliciousness off of the ground, but in the midst of Gaétan's playing, one of them sets its sight on a slightly more audacious goal. Right as one of the people listening to the music in front of him moves to flip a handful of coins over into the guitar case, it swoops down, snatching the coins out of the air and beating a hasty retreat with a loud flapping of wings that carries it right over the musician's head.
Desi looks right at home in this crowd, save that she is not, in fact, shepherding a young child. She's wearing a long, light green twill skirt and a lavender peasant blouse with many-layered bell sleeves, a sprig of lilac tucked artfully above one ear, secured by an impeccable Dutch braid that curves from her right temple around the back of her head to hang down her left shoulder, bound by a leaf green satin ribbon. Around her neck, on a silver cord, is a beautiful, clear tourmaline crystal, vibrant green at one end and fading through an iridescent white middle layer to a rosy pink at the other end.
Though sans child, she is /herself/ carrying a basket woven out of pastel reeds, decorated with ribbons and flowers, and a lovely green cloth that conceals its content. The purse slung over her shoulder is adorned with a leaping rabbit with stylized white spirals and dots all over its graceful form, and a sun blazing down upon it with a similar spiral pattern on its cheerful yellow disk. She shuffles in at the very edge of Gaétan's audience. When the raven swoops down, she covers her smile with a demure hand, though this does not really conceal her delight. She applauds vigorously when the song concludes, and works her way unobtrusively through the thinning crowd to deposit a five dollar bill in her brother's open case.
Gaétan's expression lights up at the thievery of his would-be donation. His smile brightening, he catches Desi's eyes, nodding toward the mischievous raven as it flies off. As one song ends his energy picks up, brighter and livelier. This time he actually joins in aloud, his voice high and clear as he starts the opening lines of SJ Tucker's "Rabbit's Song".
The ravens quiet as they listen to the new song, stepping sideways like crabs along some of the branches to reposition themselves for a better view. They chitter quietly, softly, among each other as if parishioners murmuring in the pews during a sermon. Midway through the song, one of the ravens -- the same one as before -- takes flight with an owl-like silence and glides its way down to the center fountain. It is quite cautious -- hesitantly hopping along the edge of the water sculpture away from those sitting on it, with occasional shrugs of its wings and ruffling of its feathers -- but eventually, it reaches down with a beak to pull a particularly shiny quarter from the pool. Shaking the water off with its beak, it hops along the ground, head tilting back and forth constantly as it suspiciously eyes passing adults and children, making its way to Gaétan's guitar case and dropping the quarter in with a challenging side-eye at the musician.
Desi answer's Gaétan smile in kind and looks back up to see if she can spot the same bird up in the branches. She sits down on the edge of the fountain, fishing a slender pink thermos from her purse and popping its cap to sip from it. She does not, initially at least, notice the raven fishing about in the fountain behind her. Once it has started making its way toward her brother again, though, it catches her interest and she watches with slowly raising eyebrows. Reaching beneath the cloth covering her basket, she breaks off a small crust of rich herby bread and tosses it lightly toward the bird.
Gaétan's smile remains as he gets through the rest of the story, his eyes tracking the bird's path nearer. He's laughing by the time he finishes, waving a hand toward the raven. "/Everybody's/ getting into it today! I don't know if you're here for the food or the music, friend, but we have plenty to share." He raises his eyebrows, looking hopefully at Desi. "We /do/ have enough to share, right?"
The raven starts when Desi tosses the piece of bread, turning quickly and spreading its wings to take flight. It tilts its head back and forth, studying Desi and the bread in turn, back and forth, back and forth, before it hops forward and seizes the bread in its beak, chomping it down with soft clacking sounds and tucking its wings back down with a couple of quivers and feathery gesticulation. When Gaétan speaks, the bird turns its attention sharply, making a soft musical trill that sounds rather like someone dropping a set of marbles on a xylophone, and then turning its eyes back to Desi, face much less hopeful but with beak partially open nonetheless.
Desi's huff of laughter is only slightly indignant as she claps again. "O, ye of little faith!" She uncovers her pastel basket in lieu of givng an actual answer. Tucked into the folds of the green cloth is half a round loaf of herb bread, a tub of fresh strawberries, a couple of tartlets with mushrooms and greens, a bag of golden macaroons, a mason jar of mint lemonade, and a handful of tea eggs scattered throughout as if for decoration. "Why did you doubt?" She pulls off another chunk of bread and tosses it to the raven, then rises--slowly, carefully--to walk to her brother, giving the bird and its meal a wide berth. "I expected Spence might show up at some point, but couldn't find /much/ at the shop he could eat." She kneels down beside him, offering up the basket. Then adds, quite off-handedly, "That was lovely singing."
"Alright folks, five minutes breaks before I pass out here. Good luck with your --" Gaétan plucks an egg out of the basket, holding it up with a small waggle. A hint of color flushes his cheeks as Desi settles beside him. His head bows while he carefully peels the tea egg. "I'm sure Spence --" His voice creaks, cracks; he clears his throat hard before continuing, "-- sure Spence is toting around /plenty/ of food of his own. There was a ridiculous pile of leftovers Friday night even /after/ they gave away as much as people would take." He curls a leg up under him, watching the raven with a soft chuff of a laugh. "Looks like you're making a new friend."
Though the bird's black eyes watch Desi carefully as she circles around it, it doesn't hesitate nearly as long to tear into the bread this time, one claw holding the chunk down to the ground to ease tearing it into small bite-size pieces. It still looks about twitchily, occasionally seizing the entire hunk of bread and hopping this way or that to avoid passers by, wings twitching irritably. After a couple of dodges, the raven lets out a croaking trill and hops directly onto the edge of the guitar case, perching on the edge and tilting its head this way and that. "Rrrrk," it says, fixing Desi and Gaétan with one unblinking black eye and finishing off the chunk of bread with a large bite.
Desi picks up one of the tartlets and breaks off a piece of the crust to throw to the raven before she starts in on it herself. She offers up her thermos of milky, fragrant Earl Grey tea without comment when Gae's voice breaks. "I doubt if the Hollands know how to /not/ cook for a whole army, but better that than not enough." She watches the raven, smiling. "Well, it was your fan, first. I appreciate a bird with good taste."
Gaétan accepts the tea and takes a long gulp before he speaks again. "S'a bird. I thought good taste was like. Instinct with them." He leans back against the lip of the fountain, nibbling on his egg. "This is a rough holiday, though. Pickings are /slim/ for Easter music. I have to branch out. Go -- rabbit themed. Egg themed. /Spring/ themed."
The toss of the tartlet gets a little side-to-side waddle-dance from the raven, along with a pleased sounding chirrup/xylophone noise. It snatches the tart-piece up off of the ground eagerly, teetering for a moment on the edge of the guitar case before it re-balances itself with a quick unfolding of one wing. The raven gives the two a side-long look, eyeing the tartlet in Desi's hand, the egg in Gaétan's, before it hops off of the guitar case and takes another little jump closer to the two of them, beak clacking once. Then another one, until it's nearing arms-reach, wings refolding themselves on its back nervously, head tilting this way and back again.
Desi arches one slender eyebrow fractionally at her brother. "Have you /met/ the pigeons?" She covers her delighted laugh at the raven's little dance with the back of one hand. "See, it's a natural performer, too. If you don't mind going /generically/ Christian, just about anything Jesus-themed would probably also work. You've got that Glee Club look going on." Both of her eyebrows go up when the raven grows bolder. "Ah! Does Master Corvus finds the tart to his liking?" She breaks off another piece of the tartlet and drops it carefully within the bird's reach.
"Are you dissing pigeons? Pigeons have /style/. All black plays it on the safe side. Pigeons aren't afraid to be a bit flashy." Gaétan's gaze has drifted, watching an iridescent-necked pigeon strutting along the stones nearby. He wolfs down the rest of his egg, licking his fingertips clean. "I don't think /Superstar/ is like -- the right /kind/ of Jesusy probably, huh?" He reaches for a tart of his own, lifting his eyebrows as well as he starts in on it. "Not wrong about it having good taste though, these are great too."
The raven fixes Gaétan with a /look/ and gives a loud chastising caw directly towards him after he praises pigeons, fluttering its wings in a dissatisfied manner. It turns to Desi and shakes his head at her, then leans forward and eagerly snaps up another piece of the tart.
"I'm not /dissing/ them, but I do question their taste." Desi tilts her head thoughtfully, working on a bite of tart. "Consider Matthieu, whom I love and respect, but would never accuse of having good taste--/or/ style." She snickers at the raven and tosses it another piece of her tart before finishing off the rest, washing it down with some lemonade. "Mmm." Her eyes scan the milling crowds of adults shepherding small egg-hunters. "There's enough people of the right age range that some numbers might work, especially if you omit the words. 'Hosanna' is the only one I would risk /actually/ singing."
"Sure, but basically /every/ pigeon does actually have better style than Matt." Gaétan gestures demonstratively toward the nearby pigeon with his tart before munching it down in a few quick bites, too. He brushes his hands together, dusting his fingertips against his jeans afterward. "I'm try it." /Decisive/. Louder, more exuberant: "Everybody enjoying your Easter? Finding lots of eggs? Enjoying the flowers? For any of you theater lovers out there --" He allows only the /smallest/ pause for the desultory cheer that comes from somewhere across the plaza, "-- this is a little piece about the man of the hour himself." He takes another swig of the hot tea, before launching into the opening of "Hosanna".