Thursday, May 26, 2011

A piano. And pigeons

Piano Dan is there as I get to the church. Working on the Beckstein. Tuning. Teasing. I know him from nights at the P & G. Part of the circle that calls the place home. Monday night open mikes, special gigs. Thought they called him that because of his unique way of getting more piano notes into any particular place than you might have thought possible. He opened our December Balcony Music Festival. Provided the sound. And now I know that he’s called that as well  because he’s a piano tuner, a piano man with probing fingers, a soft touch, precise and intuitive as to a particular instrument’s unique personality.  With his retro look, recently cleaned up considerably, he’s a throwback to the Upper Westside that was, part of its uptown pre gentrification boho era. He’s gently coaxing the Beckstein back to itself. 
Danielle and i are talking. Deacon James comes in, just back from a round of oral surgery. Which for me always borders on cruel and inhumane. He’s stuffed with cotton. I offer to buy him ribs, but he’s not real up for that at the moment. 
There’s a smell coming from the south tower. Got to be a dead pigeon. Hate that I’ve got to go in there and remove it. And then go up and pull down the hatch. Danielle and i go up, open the door. Frightened idiot birds scatter around us. And we both jump startled. And I shout. We close the door. Retreat. the pigeons win this round. 
This has gone too far. Random birds come strolling into the narthex. One hung out for hours one day. Under the snow shovel. They waddle back and forth on the steps, too tired, or as I fear, too sick to fly. Basta. Enough. For most of my folks, it’s the boiler that’s most symbolic. For me it’s the pigeons. It’s annoying that we’ve ceded territory over to them. Something disturbing, Hitchcockian about it. If there were  still a real yellow pages, I’d be looking for pigeonbusters.
That’s the day. A piano. And pigeons.

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