John and Katie are standing in a garden in Rome. They are standing in a part of the garden that, for some reason, has been covered with corrugated plastic. It has paths that would be fun to run along, but they can’t do that because they are pretending to be sophisticated. Shortly John will run briefly, ironically, along the path, looking square at Katie so she knows not to judge him.
But she will judge. Not him, he’s enjoying himself, maybe not enough, but there’s something there. He’s being free. What the hell is she doing? She can’t just run down the winding paths.
Some pigeons are walking on the top of the plastic corrugated roof. The racket is deafening. PECK PECK PECK.
SCRAPED FOOT, SCRAPED FOOT, PECK, SCR… PECK, PECK, PECK, SCRAPED FOOT.
“It sounds like it’s raining,” John says.
“Bloody pigeons,” Katie says, “must have followed us here all the way from London”.
“Must have taken the plane,” says John.
“Yeah,” Katie says, “do you think they flew business class?”
“Would they fly do you reckon?”
“What,” Katie asks, looking at him with a grin on her face, “rather than taking the boat?”
“Well,” says John, “I meant, regardless of what transport method they were ostensibly taking, I wondered if they would fly around on a plane? Or a boat?”
“If that floats your boat”.
“Indeed, but what would it be like for a pigeon flying around on a plane?”
“Yeah,” Katie says, “‘No I don’t want any bloody hot towels, I’m about to get the land speed record.'”
“Well it wouldn’t be the land speed record.”
“‘Well, no, the air speed record, that’s what I’m about to get’, he’d say, ‘and bloody get out of my way with the sky mall magazine, I don’t have time for that rubbish'”
“‘There is a very handy GPS device listed here’, ‘a GPS device? I’m a homing pigeon, what on earth would I do with a GPS? Use it as a paperweight?'”
“Yeah,” Katie says, “They wouldn’t be fans of distraction like that up there.”
The conversation drops and John does his run down the path. Katie thinks about sighing, but doesn’t want to discourage him. They are having a nice time. Imagine when we are grown up, Katie thinks, it will all be different, we’ll have kids and stuff, and we’ll do important grown up things. Important boring things.
John thinks about saying something, but doesn’t. It’s a nice day, he thinks, why ruin it by talking about stuff?
Katie suddenly says, “I’m not sure what the point of growing up is? I mean, yes, having kids, I suppose you need to raise them”.
“Well they need to learn to eat I suppose”.
“But what’s the point in growing up? What’s the point in choosing to be serious and not laughing each day?”
“Well I guess you have to eventually?”
“Do you?” Katie asks, she looks at him.
“Well maybe not, actually I think you’re right. Although, maybe real growing up is not being worried about being serious all the time?”
“So you think those codgers are doing it wrong?”
“Me too. Although there are some cool codgers you know?”
“Oh yeah, that’s us! The light and soul of the retirement home.”
“Yeah, I guess, but maybe we need to grow up a bit?”
“I guess, I guess, but we have time for that don’t we. Or is it annoying that we haven’t?” John asks.
“I don’t know, I feel like we might be missing something, but everyone who has grown up that I know hates themselves.”
“Well that sounds like a good reason to avoid it.”
“Yeah,” Katie looks at him, “but maybe we could be a bit more grown up sometimes, maybe a bit more… well…”
Katie wonders whether that’s an actual “Yeah”, or even if they are acknowledging the same thing? The conversation drops for a bit.
“Those pigeons,” John says, “they really are incredibly loud aren’t they?”