2008-01-29: A Talk in the Park

Starring:

Chase_icon.gif Randall_icon.gif

Summary: Chase and Randall talk about life and society.

Date It Happened: January 29, 2008

A Talk in the Park


Central Park, NYC

The sun is out today, if only in moderation. The citizens of New York, however, are out in full force. People meander about the park, enjoying themselves. Children can be heard laughing, birds chirping. Everyone seems to be having a good time. Chase Bixby sits silently on a bench with her legs crossed and a notebook in her lap, watching.

Randall is here as well, taking advantage of a nearby walking trail, but stopping off to patronize a hot dog cart. (He does not partake of the magazine rack bolted onto the side. Any crazy business idea under the sun has probably been tried two or three times over, around here.) Just as he turns to continue on his way, he starts at the sight of a spooked mastiff heading in the opposite direction; he barely manages to step out of its way as it charges past.

Chase eyes an extremely large dog as it thunders towards her. "Careful," she slips carefully from her bench to balance the beast's previous victim. She gives the man a small smile, "That was a very large dog. Which is a bit ironic… considering."

Good catch there; Randall was indeed about to lose his balance, not so much from the dog as from his harried owner, chasing after him from the other end of a short leash. At least he managed not to drop his lunch this time. "Thanks," he replies, turning to see who his impromptu benefactor is. "Considering what?"

"Considering that it's acting like a mouse. You would think a dog that big would be much harder to scare," Chase glances back over her shoulder as the pair disappears down the trail and then turns back to the man. She brushes a strand of hair from her eyes before offering him her hand, "Chase."

"Randall," the somewhat older man replies, shaking hands briefly. "And yeah, you have a point there— maybe someone managed to step on its foot or something? Or it could be army ants." With a shrug, he settles down on the near end of the next bench over, setting the hot dog down and stretching his legs.

Chase wrinkles her nose as she returns to her own seat. "I don't like ants," she states plainly and returns to her people gazing. "Nice to have the sun out for a change, though, don't you think?"

Randall nods. "I suppose it is." His heart isn't in it, but it's simpler if he just puts up a game face when out in public; most people are fooled by the slight effort. After starting in on the hot dog for a few seconds, he fishes out a camera phone with a hunk of translucent plastic taped to the lid, holding it up and squinting at the display.

Chase just bobs her head for a moment. And then she stops, sitting very still. "Don't like the sun?" It seems like a stupid question after she asks, but for some reason, she keeps talking. "Or are you just having a bad day?"

"…bad month," answers Randall, snapping off a quick shot but setting the phone aside without reviewing it. "Is it really that obvious? I keep wondering whether people aren't saying anything just because they're being polite." Which would imply that Chase is being— uh oh.

Chase whistles softly as he responds. "I had a bad month, once. Wish I could tell you it gets better, but…" she looks down at her hands. She's still waiting for things to change. "But," she shrugs, "I'm sure it was obvious people would say something. I mean, when you're not being run down but frightened dogs and their owners, I'm bet no one even notices."

Randall closes his eyes briefly. Oh, good, she's letting it go that he kind of stepped in it there, a second ago. "I guess you're right. And it might still clear up, whatever it is… at least hoping so is what's keeping me going."

"Yeah? Me, too," Chase squints at him and then rubs her eyes. "I hope he does. Get better." She stops talking and glances down to her notebook. "So what do you do for a living, Randall?" Of the wall? Sure. But sometimes the subject is just begging to be changed.

Hope he does. There's a story there, but Randall has the presence of mind not to pry further, and goes along with the change of subject. "Actually, that's kind of up in the air right now. Most recently I was doing street portraits, but I found out the hard way that the booth owner's policy on sick days is 'you don't get any'."

She laughs a little, "Kinda like being is school, huh?" Chase rolls her eyes at the thought of school and continues, "Even when you're sick, you've got to do the work. It's a drag. But," she nods absently as she talks, "I'm sure you remember what that's like. You any good? At the drawing, I mean?"

Randall shrugs. "Pretty good, I guess. The jury's still out whether I'd want to keep doing it all the time— and you can only get away with doing it on your own time if you're a lot better than just 'pretty good'… Anyway, something else ought to come along soon, it usually does. Lots of odd jobs."

Chase tilts her head thoughtfully, "It's nice to know that there are other people out there who have no idea what they're going to do with their lives." She glances down at the ground and pokes at the grass with the toe of her shoe. "Not that it makes a difference. Whether we know what we want to do with our lives or not, I suppose we all have to do something in the meantime."

"Exactly. What you're doing in school right now probably isn't what you'll be doing five years from now." The camera is out again, this time zooming in on the path he was following earlier. "Which school did you say you were going to?" Chase looks a little young for college yet, but it's not always easy to tell.

The look on her face certainly isn't a loving one. "Brighton Academy," Chase sighs. "It's certainly more of a challenge then public school, but it comes with all the same problems. Why do people treat each other like dirt in high school?"

Randall considers that question. "Because they can," he says, tracing an invisible contour in the air with one finger. "They've learned how, and they don't really depend on each other because they've still got their parents. Things mellow out in college, then you get out into the working world and they peak all over again because they're on their own at that point."

"That sucks," Chase remarks blatantly. It's more than a little disappointing, though she always suspected the same. "Society has serious social issues, do you know that? What am I saying, of course you do." She tilts her head back and closes her eyes, trying to let the sunshine lighten her mood.

"I have some serious issues myself." That's the trouble with two people griping at once, they tend to feed off each other's moods. Randall forces himself to stop there for a minute. "Anyway," he finally adds, "I should probably get going, see how many hot spots I can hit up before the day shift lets out. Good luck with the boyfriend, yeah?"

Chase's head jerks up at the mention of a boyfriend. "Um, yeah… and you, too. With the job. And… everything else." She offers him a smile as she pulls an iPod out of her pocket and sticks one of the earbuds in her ear, "You know what they say, this too will pass and all this jazz."

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