Of Travels, Stonings And Ideals


amy_icon.gif kailin_icon.gif

Scene Title Of Travels, Stonings and Ideals
Synopsis Visiting a cafe, Amy and Kailin meet each other, and have an interesting talk, despite differences.
Date May 25, 2009

Greenwich Village

In a time that seems long ago, Greenwich Village was known for its bohemian vibe and culture, the supposed origin of the Beat movement, filled with apartment buildings, corner stores, pathways and even trees. There was a mix of upper class and lower, commercialism meeting a rich culture, and practically speaking, it was largely residential.

Now, it's a pale imitation of what it used to be. There is a sense of territory and foreboding, as if the streets aren't entirely safe to walk. It isn't taken care of, trash from past times and present littering the streets, cars that had been caught in the explosion lie like broken shells on the streets nearest the ground zero. Similarly, the buildings that took the brunt of the explosion are left in varying degrees of disarray. Some are entirely unusable, some have missing walls and partial roofs, and all of the abandoned complexes have been looted, home to squatters and poorer refugees.

As one walks through the Village, the damage becomes less and less obvious. There are stores and bars in service, and apartment buildings legitimately owned and run by landlords. People walk the streets a little freer, but like many places in this scarred city… anything can happen. Some of the damage done to buildings aren't all caused by the explosion from the past - bullet holes and bomb debris can be seen in some surfaces, and there is the distinct impression that Greenwich Village runs itself… whether people like it that way or not.

Sitting outside a cafe, Kailin leans back in his chair under a large umbrella. It is not a particular busy day for this particular shop, but there are plenty of people passing back and forth along the street, scurrying off to their own destinations. There's a coffee cake and a lemonade on the table, both set on a separate napkin. In his ears are black earbuds that run down to an unseen device and Kailin seems to just be enjoying the day, watching people go by.

There is, however, a sudden influx of people all wandering into the cafe and forming up a queue. While most of the group seem to be in the same group, not all of them are. And even so, that group is way too large for just one table. Hell, it is almost as if one could see the dollar marks forming in the current shopkeeper's eyes. Forming up the rear of the entire group is a young woman, probably in her late teens or so. Amy sighs, obviously not all that satisfied with being the last in the queue. She also lets out a soft yawn. Damn jetlag. The queue does, however, slowly dwindle away as each customer is served, and soon Amy's turn is coming up.

Kailin turns briefly in his seat, his dark eyebrow rising up above the shades set over his eyes. He looks towards the big group wondering where they all came from and why they are there. Then he chuckles at the sight of the girl at the back of the line, knowing what that feels like. Kailin takes his drink and sips from his straw slowly, watching patiently. She stands out, possibly her height, possibly her tomboy look, probably a combination of that and her predicament. While he doesn't stare at her, he doesn't hide his curiosity either, shooting looks her way every now and then between bites of his sweets.

If there ever was some sort of representation of obliviousness, it would, at the moment, have to be the girl at the end of the queue. Of course, part of the reason that she does not notice Kailin's glances might just be because she finally gets to the counter. Once there, she gingerly orders a cup of hot cocoa and a chocolate chip cookie, before paying. Then, she makes her way from the counter, and looks about. Most seats seem to have filled up rather quickly now, with the massive group that had gotten in before her. While she probably could find an empty table if she looked about, the yawning girl only notices the empty seats by Kailin's table, and makes her way over there. "Uhm… can I sit here?" she asks, politely. She won't get a seat by being rude, after all, now will she?

"Of course, of course." Kailin brushes off his hands and pushes out the chair with an extension of his foot. "I saw you at the back of the line… I'm surprised they still had something left for you to get." He motions to the chair, standing up politely for her to have a seat. "I'm Kevin." He smiles towards the girl and looks to her cookie. "Good choice. I admit to having a sweet tooth, but it is the worst thing for me." He shrugs and motions to his coffee cake. "I get weak every now and then, though. I can't help it."

Amy offers the man a smile as thanks, taking a seat and setting down her chocolate-y snacks on the table; the hot cocoa and the cookie. She laughs, too. "I think I'm worse," she admits. "Mostly because I can't stand either coffee nor tea. Both taste kinda bitter to me." She begins sipping at her hot cocoa instead. "A'course, it's the same thing with…" she coughs a little. "…alcohol. Can't stand most of the stuff unless it's really sweet." She grins at that. "Plus, I need sugar to get over this jetlag - it's been bothering me for days now."

Kailin laughs lightly, his smile perking up a bit and says, "I'm with you on the drinks. I never touch either one. I'm a juice person." He shrugs and motions to his lemonade. "Or somethin similar." He brushes a few extra crumbs off his shirt, ensuring that he is presentable now that he has company. "Jet lag for days you say? You must be coming from someplace pretty far? Where've you been? I recently came in from overseas myself, though I've never had any problem with jetlag. But that's mostly because I've never really kept a set schedule before. I just kind of get up and do things when I need to and sleep it off when I don't."

Amy nods, sipping some more of that hot cocoa without really touching the cookie yet. "Yeah, I was in Japan. Was there since a…" she pauses, as if trying to find a fitting word. "Since a friend of mine was going for a business trip, and I could come along." She seems satisfied with that way of putting it, and takes the cookie now, nibbling on it. "Oh, where are my manners? I'm Amy. Amy Lindgren," she says, giving Kailin a rather goofy smile at that. She totally forgot about introducing herself, after all! "It's nice to meet you, Kevin."

"Nice to meet you too, Amy." Kailin smiles back at the girl who sits across from him, his head running through a number of different thoughts. "Japan. That would probably explain the jet lag then. That really is a half a world away. Six thousand, seven thousand miles?" He sits up a bit in his chair, forgetting his food and concentrates on just his drink now, picking up the wet plastic cup in one hand. "That's a huge deal though. Tagging along to Japan on a business trip? I think the farthest I've ever went with someone on a trip I hadn't planned on joining like that was Atlantic city. How'd it go though? Is Japan nice? I've never been further east than India - or west depending on which way you go."

"It's nice, although sometimes very cramped and crowded," Amy says, tilting her head a little as if to think her trip to Japan over a little. "There's a lot of culture to take in, and some cool sights to see. Just like most countries I'd guess," she shrugs a little at that. "I'm not really a fan of language barriers, though," she admits. "Makes it hard to move about freely." Finally, she smirks. "And I'd never imagined a place could be as crowded as Tokyo was… I mean, I'd heard of it, but actually seeing it is another thing entirely."

Kailin nods and says, "I can only imagine. I mean, people think US cities are crowded, but until you go to a country that small with so many people, the realization of proportion just doesn't actualize." He takes a sip of his drink and shakes his head, continuing, "The whole culture thing is the biggest shock though - at least it has been for me. Every time I go to another country, I always worry about some new cultural misstep that might get me stoned or somesuch." He shrugs lightly. "But once you learn the language, people are much more forgiving. They find it funny and comical - usually. before that you're just a rude, selfish, ungrateful American. And stonings are a hair's breath away…" He laughs lightly and finishes, "I'm glad to be back in the U.S."

Amy raises an eyebrow, clearly not entirely sure what to think of Kailin's comments. "Stoning seems a little far-fetched," she remarks, tilting her head. "I definitely never got that kind of impression while in Japan, even if some people did seem rather discontent with me being there, I guess. Although, I had a guide helping me, too." She shrugs a little. "I was thinking of possibly maybe learning the language. I suppose I will if there's a chance that I'll be going there again. Might be a fun thing to do on the side." She grins. "Besides, being trilingual would be awesome."

Kailin sits up a little more with a chuckle, setting down his drink. He waves a hand and says, "Oh, I'm sorry, no, I didn't mean in Japan. I was speaking more of my time in Pakistan." He laughs a little and shakes his head, pulling off his shades. Soft brown eyes are downplayed under dark eyebrows. "No, I don't think they stone people in Japan. I've never been. But I could relate to the experience that you shared from my time in the middle east. But there was almost a stoning and I never quite knew if that was something I did or whether they just didn't like me. But once I learned Arabic, things smoothed out greatly." He gives another smile in Amy's direction and shrugs, "So what is it that your friend does that takes them - and you - all the way to Japan for business? Must be pretty exciting if you're considering learning a third language." He pauses a beat. "What's the second?"

Ach! The dreaded question! She actually blushes some when she finally understands what Kailin was talking about when it came to stonings. "Oh." She mulls this over a bit, thinking while taking a few more nibbles of her cookie; she had almost forgotten about it after all. Then, she suddenly takes a larger bite at it instead. Amy scratches the back of her head a little at that, obviously a little taken aback by the question of her 'friend's' business. She smiles, nervously, and then, "Well, he's… just a secretary to someone else in the finance area. I don't really understand all the work and technicalities of financing…" She shrugs a little. "Anyway, my friend asked me to come along since he knew I was interested in Japan. Or well, in manga and stuff anyway." Another laugh.

Kailin leans forward as she explains and one eyebrow arches, giving Amy a discerning look as though trying to figure her out. "Are you even old enough to be leaving the country? I mean, you're definitely intelligent and articulate… but you just look… young." He shakes his hand aplogetically. "And I don't mean that in any negative sense so don't take offense to it in any way. If anything it compliments you and when you're getting to your thirties you're gonna love hearing it…" He draws back from his apologies, certain that if she was still going to take offense, nothing he could say would stop that. "But um, anyway… Your friend sounds interesting - and priveleged to be able to be a secretary who can bring friends across the world, underaged as you may be. You sure he's not planning on selling you off to some perverted Asian businessman?" He leans back again with a sarcastic smile and waves a hand dismissively. "Nevermind that. Sorry, bad joke. But do be careful. Oh. What was the other language you know? Any story behind that?"

Amy does not seem angry, no. If anything, she actually giggles a little, seeming more amused than anything. She does not appear to be that easily offended, at least. "I'm nineteen," she observes, actually grinning a little at Kailin's attempt at diverting her non-existant anger. "Well, I helped with paying for the trip, too, so…" she shrugs and trails off, leaving all the details of how she could afford a trip to Japan out of it. Indeed, she seems quite eager to move onto another subject when Kailin asks, addressing her second language. "I know Swedish, since my father is from there and he wanted me to know at least a little about his homeland. Plus, I've been there a few times. Really not an interesting reason for a second language, but that's how it is!" She raises an eyebrow curiously. "What languages do you know? Besides… uh, whatever language they speak in Pakistan, that is."

"Urdu," Kailin replies with a quick, firm reply. "That's the official language of the Pakistani people, but that area has all kinds of different languages. I mean, it would really bore you to list them all, but the general list is somewhere around Arabic, Farsi, and Hindi." He pauses a moment and says, "You know, the list really isn't as impressive when I say it like that. I think next time I'll go with the longer list - but then I sound pretty pretentious. I don't know, its a crap shoot." He shrugs and looks across at Amy sitting there at the table. "You know, Amy Lindren, and this is totally off topic, but I don't think I ever would have expected to have such an enjoyable conversation with you. On paper, I don't think we could be more different. But you're probably the most enjoyable conversation partner that I've had since I got to New York." He pauses a moment and then adds, "Well, top three definitely. Is that awkward? I hope not. I don't tend to filter head to mouth."

Amy blinks at that, seeming, if anything, to be a little surprised by Kailin's claim. She brings the cup of hot cocoa up, and drinks quite a bit of it without seeming to burn at all. It must've cooled down a little by now, most likely. "Well," she says, while putting the cup, now half full, down again, her eyes traveling over the now emptying cafe; that large group seems to be heading out now, at least. "I guess there's something to be said for having casual conversations with strangers, eh?" She pauses as well, as if thinking something over before adding that, "Also, I think difference can be good sometimes. There's the chance that the difference may be interesting."

"I think it speaks more for having -intelligent- conversation with strangers." Kailin gives a casual shrug at that. "There's been plenty of people in this city so wrapped up in their own shit that I can't even get the time of day." He rests an elbow on the table and looks towards the street. "I'm sure that people have their own important business to attend to, but sometimes it seems like people want to be cut off. It just doesn't register sometimes." He looks back towards Amy and purses his lips a moment, giving her a more carnal look before picking up his drink, sipping from the straw. "Its a shame though. With so many differences, interesting as they may be, it might be pretty… difficult for us to be actualy friends. The questions would never end… But since I know almost no one in this city, I'd like that actually. Especially with all the crap going on here."

Amy nods a little, sighing. "It's understandable, though," she says, scratching the back of her head a little. "I mean, with all that's been happening in the world lately, and all that -is- happening even now, I can understand if people cut themselves off from one another, you know?" She ponders on this for a while, then, "Even for New York City, I doubt there is a single person around here that isn't more guarded and cautious now than they were before the explosion and all, you know? Events like that, and the aftermath, do that to people." She lifts her cup of hot chocolate and finishes it off with a few gulps, sighing contently once it's down. "Even if it's been a while…"

"But see, that's just the thing…" Kailin leans forward and speaks a little quieter as though he doesn't want anyone to hear him. "When things like that happen, people are supposed to come together and support each other. But instead people have cut themselves off from everyone else. Turtled in their own shells of fear and doubt. They've isolated themselves and as a result this city isn't anywhere close to being back to the way it used to be before the bomb. It is still a mess, still in confusion. Staten Island isn't even part of New York anymore. Its been written off by its own government…" He shakes his head, leaning back. "I think this whole place could do with more reaching out and less cutting off. Caution?" He scoffs a little bit and adds, "The horse has already left the barn. What's the point of putting a lock on the door now - especiallyy if it means the horse won't ever be able to get back in?"

Amy stops at that, blinking a little as she listens to Kailin's words. She chuckles softly. "You know… you've got a point, Kevin," she finally admits, offering him a smile. "If people were better at coming together to support one another and help each other, then yes, things probably would be way different than they are." She frowns a little. "Alas, that's not the case, it seems." Not to mention, the lot Amy's thrown herself in with isn't exactly the most peaceful group, nor one that strives, at least not initially, for the ideals Amy and Kailin are discussing. "It's all very complicated, isn't it? Depressing topics like this don't really do much for my jetlag, either," she yawns a little. "I enjoyed the conversation, though! I always appreciate discussion of things like this… of ideals and and all that." She grins. "I'm thinking that maybe I should take your advice and try to see about sleeping my jetlag off once and for all…"

Kailin sits back again with a shrug. "Well, ideals are the heart of a society. I'm not sure what happened to ours…" He makes a clicking sound with his tongue against his teeth. "Well, yeah, you should go sleep that off. It was great talking to you though. You're an interesting girl." He motions around and says, "Its a big city, but I hope I run into you again. I'll definitely keep an eye out and maybe we can have a more upbeat conversation." He laughs lightly, mostly at himself and gives Amy a polite nod. "And the next meal is on me."

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