2007-04-14: Orchestras Of Sound And Knowledge


Victor_icon.gif Gene_icon.gif Alfons_icon.gif

Summary: A discussion of the differences and similarities between computers and music, between three people who are very different and very similar.

Date It Happened: April 14th, 2007

Orchestras of Sound and Knowledge


Being seated alone is far from a new thing for Gene Kensington. Working quietly on his laptop in one of the corners, he used to never be out of the lab for long. But being out, meeting some interesting people has held a bit of promise for him. The chance to do the meet the 'perfect girl', the young man not yet realizing that there isn't one or that the closest things to it have no desire for an unattractive and socially stunted teen. The chance to be a hero, not understanding that he could die in failure attempting it The wonders of youth.

Typing away as he sips his chai tea, the young man works on what appears to be programming code with one hand, having learned how to type with this handicap at a decent speed while doing other things, truly geek multitasking at its finest.

Victor strides into the Starbucks, tired after a day of school and music, violin case slung over one shoulder and laptop bag slung over the other, the two straps forming an X across his chest. He walks up to the counter, surveying the state of the chairs - oh, good, there're a couple comfy ones left in one of the corners.

The door rings open as it is gently pushed inwards, an elderly man advancing through the portal, cane in one hand. He removes his hat when he enters, as it is simply polite not to wear a hat indoors. Something that most people of the younger generations just don't seem to fully understand. Though he uses his cane occasionally, Alfons Krause doesn't seem to rely on it to get around. It's more of a minor aid than a crutch. When he approaches the counter, he is recognized swiftly, having been coming here for awhile now. However, Victor is in line first, so he simply waits. Noticing the violin case, he makes idle conversation while he waits. In a German accent, Alfons asks, "A musician, are you?" A glance is given around the room briefly, spotting Gene and a few others, but not seeing anything that immediately catches his interest. Computers are something he doesn't use unless necessary, though he is at least capable of doing so, so Gene isn't viewed with any special interest. At least not yet.
"I play the piano myself," he continues as he turns his attention back on Victor.

A pair of eyes goes up as the two musicians enter the room. His first thought is that they are mobsters and they are here to kill him, but he figures that these days people store their guns in a lot of other things than instrument cases. That in mind, he goes back to his work, merely eyeing the two from time to time. Everyone else are just average business workers, so they have become the Most Interesting Things in the Room.

Victor jumps a bit at the voice behind him, and then smiles. This is why he loves music. "I've tried my hand at the piano - I'm not great at it, but I can struggle along." Realizing that it's his turn to order and the barrista - a fairly cute guy, his face really only marred by an eyebrow piercing - is getting annoyed, he smiles and says "Venti caramel mocchiatto, with two pumps of caramel and extra caramel drizzle, please." Turning as the barrista registers that information, he smiles at the old German man. "The piano's /hard/."

Alfons nods and says, "It takes work, zhis much is true. But urf course, nothing in life worth having comes easily. Zhe easy road is often zhe one zhat leads to disappointment. It helps, as well, to haff had about sixty years of practice." He then looks behind the counter as a second barrista steps forward, who is more familiar with the customers. She asks, "Your regular, Mister Krause?" Alfons nods and smiles, "Yes, please, Mary." "I'll bring it to your table." Waving his thanks with one hand, he turns and begins heading towards a table next to Gene's, and near one of the comfy chairs. "Would you care to join me?

Gene glances toward the two as they prepare to seat themselves next to him. Don't they know that Americans like their space? Sighing, he continues to type and work, merely narrowing his eyes to focus on his stuff even more.

Victor smiles. "Sure, always interesting to talk to a fellow musician!" He says, cheerfully, as he sits down with his caffeine next to Gene, and pulls out his laptop. Reall,y he needs to work some more - he's got a psychology essay due that he still needs to proofread…

Alfons looks a bit surprised and… Not entirely happy, though not ANGRY or anything… No, nothing unpleasant like that. Just a vague disappointment. "Hmm. Computers are so common zhese days, and yet I still find myself surprised zhat everyone seems to haff one." He points between Gene and Victor. Then he removes his coat, hanging it on his chair, and sets his hat down, leaning his cane against the chair. "Typing is, in a way, similar to playing zhe piano. To be able to compose a letter without needing to concentrate on each key, is like being able to play a grand composition purely through skill alone." He points at Gene's typing, and says, "For instance, you see how he types with only one hand? To be able to do zhat is no easy task." He looks at Gene, and turns in his chair to face him, smiling.
"You, sir, must have practiced long and hard to acquire such mastery of typing, ya?"

"What?" is the first response as Gene notices that there are people talking to him. Where is this? France? America, people, America is for losers that like to sit in the corner! Still, Gene offers a weak smile as he's noticed. He minimizes his work, not wanting people to see whatever he is coding. "Practice mostly?" he offers with an unsure tone. He's got music people with him? Well, could be worse, could be post modern artists.

Victor laughs, then boots up his laptop - and then realizes he's sitting with two strangers. Might as well introduce himeslf, right? "Oh, uh, I'm Victor." He says, smiling mostly at Gene.

Alfons notices that Gene seems to be trying to avoid showing whatever he's doing on his computer, and that his responses are uncertain, and not exactly enthusiastic. He says, "I am Alfons Krause. And I apologize sincerely if I have interrupted your work." He bows his head slightly, then turns away. "I will try to keep my voice down, if I am bothering you at all." Then he returns to Victor, "A pleasure to meet you, Victor." Soon the drinks for the two of them are delivered. Something smelling of cinnamon for Alfons, and what Victor ordered for him.

Giving a slight blush to realize that his unbridled passive aggressive is really not passive enough, Gene coughs. "It's nothing work related, just goofing around. You know how it is." Glancing toward the two, he decides to try and be friendly now that he's been called out (albiet in a very kind way). "Gene… Good to meet you both."

Victor smiles at both of them, then, as his laptop boots on, he notices the time in the bottom right-hand corner - and literally jumps, nearly knocking down his coffee. Mocchiatto. Drink. "Oh, shit - I'm sorry, guys, but I'm going to be late for a class I've gotta actually go to if I don't leave about five minutes ago!" He slams the lid to his laptop down, grabs his coffee, slings his violin adn his laptop over his shoulders - then pauses, and scribbles 283-3245 on a piece of paper, signs it - a very obvious "VictorCho!" - and pushes it at Gene, saying something about nerding it up some time in the near future, but too fast for the human ear to distinguish between words. With a dash to the door and a quick prayer offered to whatever God invented coffee cup lids, he's off to Columbia!

Alfons blinks in a rather subdued fashion as Victor speaks so fast, and departs so very quickly. He offers a nod and a wave when the other musician departs, and then smiles towards Gene. "A pleasure to meet you, Gene. A pity zhat we are one less someone to speak with, but I have learned zhat here in America, everyone is always rushing from one zhing to another." Lifting his cup he says, "It is best to take it in stride." Then he sips quietly.
"Haff you ever considered taking piano lessons? I haff twelve students already, but one will be moving soon, which will leave me time for anozher student."

"Piano?" Gene offers with an arched brow. He looks down to the clean table for a second before he glances back toward Alfons. "I'm not sure that's such a great idea, sir… I mean, I kinda don't have much in the way of music. Or can keep a beat. I've made music using my computer sometimes, but it does all the work for me."

Alfons nods thoughtfully, then sighs, "Well, if life has not seen fit to grant you music, then it has surely granted you other gifts. To make various code come together into a working program is like managing an orchestra. It requires a knowledge of all the individual components, what makes them work, and what they are capable of. I lack the gift of technology, unfortunately, which limits what occupations I can pursue at my age." He lowers his cup and lifts a napkin to his lips. "For me… All I have is music. But it is enough." He smiles again, and takes a breath as he says, "I am rambling. My apologies."

Kensington might have wished to be left alone, but he seems alright now. After all, people keep telling him to try and talk more.

Sipping his drink as Alfons speaks, Gene takes a moment to think and consider, giving a brief nod in agreement before he speaks. "I guess… But you do artsy stuff. There will always be a person that can do what I can do. It's just about youth, willingness to learn, and a bit of talent. To be a good musician takes a lot more and you generally get more respect. A person that's a legend with computers is popular with their friends and maybe the government. A person that is great with music gets just about everything they want."

Alfons nods and says, "Well, zhat is zhe case with some. At one point, in my youth, I believed I was destined for greatness. Now I am simply satisfied to haff a home, food, clothing, and zhe luxury urf only working for four hours each day and still making enough to get by. Zhere may be disparities between computers and music, but I do not foresee eizher one vanishing into obscurity in zhe future, as some professions and pursuits haff."

Gene hrms and nods toward the much older man. "I guess so… Taking life at your own pace something most people in New York don't get to do," the young genius offers with a weak smile. "Well, I think art and technology will always have a place in life. Computers might have different ways of working, different music styles will always be around, but the soul of each will always be there… Improvement and expression."

Alfons says, "Zhis is very true." This quieter as he picks up his cup of cinnamon-drink, "Very true…" Sip. Finally he looks at a clock on the wall, and says, "It has been a pleasure speaking with you, but I haff to give lessons in fourteen minutes. I wish you good luck in life." He smiles and gets up from his chair, donning coat, picking up cane, and hat, and holding his cup in his free hand.

The young man nods, starting to open his laptop once more. The machine flares to life, starting to bring up the many programs the powerful device had on at once. "Same to you, Mr. Krause. Perhaps we'll see each other again. I come to this place often. Have a few fri-people I've met here." Friends? Not really many of those Gene has in the Big Apple.

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