A deliberately quiet day. My health is improving, and I’m padding myself out in beanies and thermals just in case. At lunchtime, Luciana came around with some hot chocolate. I helped her with a database search for her essay on Cuban cinema. In the afternoon I rugged up and headed north of the tracks to get some vegies from Georgie. Quite by chance, on the corner of Brighton and Palace, right outside the Palace Pantry, I bumped into her. She was walking her kids home from school. I tagged along, the smallest girl dawdling all the way. She seemed to find fascinating details in every crack of the sidewalk. “If I just keep on walking, she eventually catches up,” Georgie said.


On the way home with my box of vegies, I bumped into Rohan. He was just returning from work. I’ve known Rohan since the late nineties, when he ran a gallery in Chippendale. Last year he moved in around the corner. But we’ve never really hung out in the ‘sham. We just spot each other by accident every now and again, and chat on the street corner. Usually, we have those kind of encounters which start out as “just a quick hello”, without any intention of lasting more than twenty seconds, and then evolve into a twenty minute yarn. Because the conversation is always on the verge of ending, I stand there, uncomfortably, with my heavy box. To put it down would be to shift mode, to begin “serious” conversation. To stand like this, halted in our separate trajectories, is to steal time. This is not a meeting. That’s what I like about it. He tells me about exterminating pigeons. The finer details of this occupation of his are fascinating and disturbing. Gradually my shoulders droop, my wrists begin to go numb. Fatigue sets in. “You should come over some time!” Rohan says, and we say goodbye.

One thought on “pigeons

  1. Tully

    Something regarding writing about the people you meet. From an interview with Norah Vincent.

    As a writer friend of mine told me when I embarked on this project, “When you write this intimately about real people, you are an assassin.” And he’s right. Almost invariably people object to something you’ve written about them. Either they say you got them wrong, or it didn’t happen that way, or that’s not how they remember it. I expect some of the Rashomon effect: The story of the same event will be told ten different ways by ten different observers. All the versions will be true and none of them will. The people in the book will recognize themselves. They’ll agree with the compliments and they’ll object to the disparagements, and that is to be expected.


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