2007-10-02: It's Not The First Time

Starring:

Jane_icon.gif Adam_icon.gif

Summary: A discussion of whether or not humanity is stagnant.

Date It Happened: October 2nd, 2007

It's Not The First Time


Common Grounds, Midtown West, Manhattan, NYC


It's a pleasant enough Thursday morning in the city. The temperatures are on the cool side for now, but expected to reach the mid-70s later in the day, so the twenty-something brunette has clothed herself in a dark blue hooded sweatshirt bearing the logo of Yale University, jeans, and dark boots with a two inch heel. Hair is hanging loose down her back and spilled across shoulders, her ears adorned by medium sized hoops. There's a guitar case over one shoulder, a backpack across the other, and two copies of the New York Times in her left hand. One is today's edition, the other is from the day before. With coffee on her mind, and the earbuds from the iPhone at her left hip supplying music to her ears, she makes her way toward Common Grounds.

There's a very slight sigh from Adam as he looks through some paper work in his hands standing quietly to one side of the street, the pauses once finshing to place the papers back in the case at his side before picking up a paper wrapped package, it's a simple cylinder of around 80cm he tucks it under his left arm, and picks up his case with a slight smile as he makes his own way to the Common Grounds.

The door is reached and pulled open, she steps through it and heads for the counter entirely unaware of the man crossing the street toward that same location. Jane pulls out her debit card and steps up, telling the barrista she wants a vanilla mocha cappucino. He swipes the card, she enters her pin and puts that away, then waits while he fills the tall cup. Once she has it, the hot liquid is carried in her right hand. Then it's pick table, sit, and read today's paper while the beverage cools.

As he enters the grounds Adam notices Jane as she heads to the table, he steps towards her with a slight frown. "Excuse me, we met before I believe? I'm Stan Gifford." He continues to think, apparently trying to recall something.

Fortunately for him, she spots the approach while settling into her seat and pulls the buds from her ears, s she can hear. Jane flashes a smile, there's a flash of mild recognition in her eyes when he speaks the name, it does connect with the familiarity of his face. "Yes," she replies, "we did. Months ago, I think." Her head tilts to the side as she thinks back to when they met, it wasn't long after her experience with cold turkey as payback for having crossed the Company. "You're a professor at NYU, I was with one of your students. And there were books, something about a figure from feudal Japan…" She trails off, unable to completely recall the name he mentioned then. "I'm Jane Forrest, a professional musician with a law degree from Yale."

Nodding Adam smiles very slightly. "Yes that's right. I'm sorry to have disturbed you, but I recognised you, and I couldn't help but try to recall where. And it was Takezo Kensei. The figure I was studying that is." He bows his head very slightly.

"Takezo Kensei," Jane repeats, hoping to remember it this time. "Good to come across you again. Stan." Her right hand extends; the skin of it is warm, soft, and smooth but with calluses near the fingertips from the guitar in the case she has leaning against her table. The nails are kept short and unpainted, there's a touch of strength in her grip gained from her musical activities. Her intent is to shake once and release.

Placing the package down Adam smiles as he shakes the hand, his grip is firm without being overly so. He smiles very slightly. "Yes, it's not often I come across familiar faces in the city, I tend to keep a low profile." He sighs slightly. "If you'll excuse me just a moment. I haven't yet got my coffee."

"Of course," she replies, "far be it from me to stand between a person and his coffee. For some people that's a cause of very bearish responses." A light laugh escapes, then Jane's attention shifts to the newspaper in front of her as he goes to get that which people come here for.

Getting a regular black coffee Adam smiles slightly as he picks up a paper of his own. He reads a few pages shaking his head with a frustated tutting noise, he seems to be less amused by the news. "It's the stupidity over and over." This is said as Adam heads back over to pick up his package.

Her eyes glance across it briefly as she tests her cappucino and finds it still a bit too hot for drinking; Jane's not so interested in scalding her tongue, so she blows on it gently to hopefully help her cause. His comment about the newspaper's content is missed due to distance between her and him at the time it's made. Inwardly she wonders what the painting rolled up in that tube might be.

Blowing lightly on his coffee Adam sighs slightly. "You know I've seen several centuries of history, and you know nothing changes. I sometimes wonder if humanity hasn't become stagnant." He bends over to pick up his package once again, apparently taking a quick second to check the wrapping.

Her eyes settle on his face when the man returns and speaks again. Jane's head tilts to one side, her attention definitely captured now. His words are mulled over a few times in silence. He's seen several centuries of history. Could he mean that literally, or figuratively through his studies? She's heard of one person who's been around that long, but hasn't seen anything to connect that man with this one here and now. "I wouldn't say that, Stan," Jane offers. "Medicine has advanced dramatically, along with science and technology, in the past century alone."

Nodding Adam sighs slightly. "Of course it has, but along with it we've advanced our ways of killing, we may technologically be advancing, but emotionally, ethically…. well I think we've changed little. We're animals that hide our nature behind a thin layer of civilization. And we've grown too large as a species to keep the secret." He laughs very slightly. "We need someone to show humanity its failings, and something to make them take note. I have studied many wars and see no change in the greed and hate that starts them."

Her features don't suggest she agrees with him, but they also don't suggest boredom from the topics. Jane did say she's a professional musician with a law degree; maybe that Yale hoodie was bought while studying there instead of something she picked up because it looked cute or any other reason. "We'll always have greed and murder, nothing's ever perfect, of course. But we also have free will, and the growing understanding fighting doesn't always solve the problems. The nations enjoying the most prosperity are those that realized the good life comes from setting the sword aside. Britain and France no longer fight each other every generation, and Germany's turned away from militarism." That it was cured by force of arms she doesn't mention.

Nodding Adam considers. "You make a good point, we're trying peace, and we're finding it lacking." He sighs. "It's not the first time, the Entente Powers powers and the Central Powers were originally intended to keep peace." He smiles very slightly. "It doesn't take much to realise that too great alliances sitting across from each other flexing their muscles will lead to war, but the intent was there I suppose." He shifts slightly. "But after the war, well the League of nations was well meaning in its way, but much like the UN today, it lacked any true willingness to enact its power." He shakes his head very slightly. "That led to the Second World War, which could have been avoided if we'd only acted quicker to slow down the conflicts and military esculation of both Germany and Japan." He shrugs. "Of course the Gulf War is a similar problem." He takes long sip of his coffee. "Now we let our wars become religious and financial once again. We haven't turned away from the sword, we've just turned towards the checkbook."

"And yet," Jane counters, "the goals of the second World War forced the victors into a corner. The major empires could no longer justify certain things within their own borders, or in their dealings beyond them. Within the United States the struggle to make the lofty words in our Declaration of Independence true intensified and found success. Elsewhere, colonialism ended. The British Empire was faced down by an intelligent man in a loincloth without resorting to violence. And for more than forty years the United States faced down the USSR without the cauldron boiling over. Meanwhile, I was able to attend an Ivy League university, where maybe two generations ago they'd not have let me in simply because I'm not a man. And within my grandmother's lifetime women were second class citizens, having no voting rights."

She blows on her cappucino a bit more and tests it before continuing. "Problems still exist, because passion still exists, of course. Passion isn't entirely a bad thing, by itself. As an artist, I depend on it."

Smiling slightly Adam bows his head. "Perhaps we may discuss this more extensively in the future, but unfortunately right now I am on my way to an appointment. I would suggest you study the past, and then give serious thought to the future, this is I believe the balanced point of the see-saw, soon things will tip, giving us another chance to save ourselves, or destroy ourselves."

The thing is, despite everything in the world which isn't so good, Jane still has hope. Even through her belief that if certain things became public it would lead to witch hunts and being used as lab rats. She just can't, won't, let go of that. At his statement of needing to make an appointment, she replies "That would be an intriguing conversation, I'm sure. See you, Stan."

She goes back to reading the newspaper before her and samples the cappucino again, this time finding it tolerable.

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