Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Up one street, down another

Walking north along Hicks Street, a man asked me where “Pepperpot Street” was. I suggested that perhaps he meant Pierrepont. He said “I parked my car there and I can’t find it.” He started to run when I said it was that-a-way, opposite the direction he was initially heading.

I visited my friend the photographer S’s studio in Dumbo. I had some sunflower seeds for her summer place, harvested from my sunflowers, and an oak gall from my trip to Bear Mountain. This gall was round and light brown, speckled, the size of a large marble, broken open as I found it on the ground. Inside, some complicated architecture: radiating filaments from the center. One of the cynipidae wasps laid it’s eggs on an oak; the tree responded by creating a structure to protect and nurture the egg(s). There are 800 of these tiny wasp species in North America, most of them associated with oak trees. Each has its own unique type of gall. Isn’t nature utterly astounding?

Anyway, S exclaimed mightily, for she had a photo of a similar structure on her wall. In fact, I’d seen the photo, although I'd completely forgotten about it. I just figured she’d find the thing quite fascinating.

On the way back, I went down Henry Street while sucking on a peach ginger dolce de leche milkshake from Blue Pig. A guy passing me said: “You play guitar? I have a friend in the East Village who plays guitar. He dresses just like you.” Ergo, I must play guitar. He had a foot long flashlight and walkie-talkie and other things hanging off him, and his pants looked like fire department surplus, but something told me he was less than a professional....

Then, at Henry and Joralemon (another Heights street tongue-twister) I saw a budgie land on the sidewalk, following some house sparrows. Uh-oh. Dead bird flying: parakeet just can’t survive in these wilds; if it lucks out through the fall, it won’t make it through the winter. For one thing, it’s not all afraid of people (be afraid, be very afraid: the giant killer ape is loose!), and might have come up on my hand if a local dog wasn’t heading towards us. I can’t imagine why somebody would want to rip an exotic bird out of its environment to cage it in their own. I think it’s rather depraved, actually. These dime-a-dozen parakeets may be bred for the market, but I still think it’s a crime against the planet.

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