As an adult your opportunities to participate in sleepovers diminish slowly over time. I am not sure if it has something to do with an unwillingness to sleep anywhere other than your own bed or if other people just don’t want to wake and feel obligated to make you eggs. It certainly seems that you lose friendships as you get older. Maybe we just become less interested in other people and youthful antics as we march toward that lonesome grave. Be that as it may, I found myself having a sleep over at Thom and Kiri’s place in Brooklyn over the weekend and it was all very highbrow. The initial plan was to work on a podcast and get a little writing done but it quickly derailed into dinner and discourse. We had drinks, talked religion, examined the economy, and discussed whether my native soil (America) or theirs (Australia) had a more backward and mentally crippled population. I believe we settled on it being a draw before I settled into their brand new couch for the night, surprised that it smelled like fresh linen instead of a textile plant. The sounds of the bar downstairs served as a strange form of white noise and faded away as I did.
I awoke from a night of mild substance abuse to what I believed to be the sounds of an old person choking to death. Then, as full control over my mind returned, I realized that the light outside was just starting to change and I second guessed it as some nearby couple’s morning intercourse. But something about the noise still didn’t sound quite right. Before I could sort it out, the loudest, most obnoxious, stupid goddamn pigeon in the entire world blasted itself against the window nearest to my head. The culprit behind the mystery noise had made himself known and he was about to work himself up into a cooing frenzy. While it isn’t as if birds know about sleeping in on Sundays, you would still not expect them to beat the sunrise just to make a bunch of loud sounds on windowsills. It didn’t even seem to offer him any logistical advantage, because there were no other birds around for over an hour. Why would any other bird even care that you were the very first one singing? No woman bird is going to be impressed that you woke up extra early and made a bunch of noise. They want you to fluff your feathers up the most, stand up the tallest, and do the right sort of twirling moves so you can separate them from the rest of the males (I looked it up).
Anyway, I genuinely hated this bird but not enough to do anything about it. I even had a moment where I almost felt sorry for him because he was desperately looking for a mate and no one seemed to want him. Then, just as my pity began to crescendo, a bunch of other pigeons showed up and starting fighting before a girl bird finally gave it up to him. I’ve often wondered what a bird penis looked like but there were no answers to be found in their brief copulation. I had a front row seat and it basically looked like he sat on her back and stopped making noise for a few seconds. It was in that moment that I wished there was some nosy neighbor that could have gotten a photo of me looking out the window into the empty gray lust of two pigeons. I have said this repeatedly but I really should hire a photographer to just follow me around.
When my hosts awakened, the birds had parted ways and I was scribbling nonsense into a black notebook. They fed me for the second time and we chatted over coffee. Their plan was to go to a second hand store and bring back furniture for their new place. Curious about it, I invited myself along. When we arrived the place was so full of treasures and junk that it was almost impossible to navigate. Getting items out to examine or purchase often required multiple sets of hands and a bit of faith that the entire building wouldn’t collapse under the weight of its many wonders. It had everything from Nazi daggers and early radios to busted tables, old toys, and Cadillac hubcaps from 1975. I found a book of modeling proofs from 2001 sitting on a pile of broken VHS tapes and wondered if that girl ever achieved her dream as I squeezed through the aisles. Then Thom excitedly grabbed a grotesque plastic statue of James Brown that we believed would sing and dance if you put batteries into it. The Russian woman at the desk knew the price of every table and chair we dug out but not the value of this tribute to the Godfather of Soul. The following minutes were essentially people in different accents asking how much this thing was going to be sold for. The Russian went and got a not quite middle-aged Jewish man that confessed that he believed James Brown would never ever sell. Presumably the owner, he yelled around to get the lady who brought it in to make an appearance. This woman, an over-weight Jamaican, said she wouldn’t let it go for less than seventy-five dollars and followed up with a claim that she had purchased it for three-hundred herself.
The store’s owner rolled his eyes and spoke up, “They aren’t buying this for that price.”
“Then they aren’t buying it.” She responded.
They both turned out to be right.
A little bit of manual labor later, we had pulled several chairs, a desk, a table, and a mirror down from the top floor. Getting it all back into their apartment proved to be more difficult than originally anticipated, so I took the first load and headed for the train so that they might make extra room for the second. During my transit, I doodled some crude looking birds having sex and made notes. Then I took a moment to ponder the meaning of friendship. The people in our lives that mean the most to us rarely bother with the passing of judgements or advice giving. Instead, they stand with you through hardships and allow you to share a moment in their life from time to time. We don’t require more than that. And when you find yourself liking a person without needing anything from them, it can feel like you’ve known them forever.
If you know someone like this I strongly urge you to spend a Saturday night or Sunday morning with them.