2011-01-11: Reach Out And Touch Someone


Giea_icon.jpg Mason_icon.jpg

Summary: Mason meets Giea in Barnes and Noble, and learns about a new form of art. Giea learns Mason's phone number.

Date: Tuesday, January 11, 2011. 5:23pm

Log Title: Reach Out and Touch Someone

Rating: G

NYC - Barnes and Noble

Featuring 4 floors of books, music, movies, and other novelties, this Barnes and Nobles is quite large. On the first floor a bookshop by the windows offering WiFi and hook ups for customers with laptops. Books of all types and genres cover the first two floors, the third floor is dedicated to children's books and other novelties, and the fourth floor is where you can find many varieties of music. This Barnes and Nobles has most things covered.

After making her way through the door, Giea approaches the front counter, using her cane and hands to navigate by, gentle touching the counters with her fingertips. After being greeted, she replies, "Hello, I'm Giea Parkin. I have some books here on hold for me?" The cashier nods absently and goes to get them, plopping down and naming the price, and Giea pays with a smile and a thanks. She picks up her books and begins navigating over towards the Starbucks, seeming to have a pretty good idea of the layout of the store. She still slides her cane in front of her, though, just to be sure.

Mason's Julliard classes are done for the day, and before heading back to Westchester, the pop star needs some music to look over for class. Given that need, he has walked into the Barnes and Noble, wearing his sunglasses inside. Why? Because he doesn't want to get mobbed. His keyboard is over his shoulder, and he wears a pair of khaki's with a button down violet shirt. But the smell of Starbucks has him instantly distracted, and instead of heading for the music section, it's to the Starbucks he goes. He spots the blind girl ahead of him, and picks up his pace. "Do you need any help?" he asks, looking for a way to befriend a pretty girl, as usual.

"Well, thanks for offering," says Giea, smiling enthusiastically. "If you could carry my books, so I can have a hand free for my watch, that'd be great! I'm heading towards the Starbucks, I think I'm headed the right way." She swivels her head, as if looking around, and then adds, "What section of the store are you headed to? I hope I'm not dragging you too far out of the way."

"I gotta get some sheet music up on the fourth floor," Mason answers, "But I was going to the Bucks first, anyway. It's cold out there and I need a warmup. "I'm Mason," he introduces himself, not assuming that the girl would know him by voice. He reaches out to take the books from her, and he hops once to adjust the keyboard strapped to his back.

"Mason? My name is Giea. Giea Parkin. Pleased to make your acquaintance," says the girl, still smiling. She walks at a reasonable pace until she arrives at the Starbucks, where she taps the underside of one of the tables to place her claim on it. "I'm going to ask you keep an eye on the books while we're in line. I mean, it'd take a pretty sick thief to steal braille books, but… better safe than sorry, right?"

Mason nods, giving a toss of his head to adjust his hair. Force of habit, even though Giea can't see his hair. "Absolutely," he tells her. "This is New York, there's all sorts of mean thieves around here." He stands in line behind her, "So are you a native New Yorker?" he asks, just looking for something to discover more about the blind girl. "Or did you move here?"

"I was born here. It's a pretty decent city to live in, but sometimes I can get so terribly lost!" replies Giea, sighing at that. "And it's always so noisy, so my hearing aids pick up a lot of background noise. But I still love it here. How weird is that?" She grins and shrugs. "I really love the parks, though. Anywhere that things can grow. It's not a good time for that, but… still, there's some nature in this city."

"Well, I could guess why," Mason says, though makes no additional comment on why Giea would get lost. "But I can go with parks," Mason answers. "I grew up in LA, but I always loved going to Griffeth Park. I have to admit, I really like the smell of dirt. So if you're weird for liking noisy places, then I guess I'm weird for smelling dirt."

"I kind of appreciate smells and touch more than anything. I'm partially deaf, and hearing aids aren't the best, so… I like my books. And I agree that the smell of dirt is beautiful. So is the feel, but… Sniffing dirt, nobody thinks you're odd. Feeling the dirt, people start thinking you're a little off."

"Wow, that's gotta be rough," Mason says. "Not being able to hear or see? I can't even imagine that." He waits for Giea to order before him, adjusting the books under his arm. "I think I could handle being blind, but not being able to hear? I write music, I can't imagine not having that anymore."

"I listen to music sometimes, but I have to be careful not to damage what I have left, since I have to turn it up real loud to hear it well. It's not bad, though. People forget that they have other senses. My dread would be to lose my touch. Then I wouldn't even have any kind of language left…" says Giea, rubbing her fingers together lightly. "Taste and smell just don't cut it in discussions!" She places her order and pays by use of a credit card.

Mason places his order after Giea, a chai latte, his favorite. "I gotta admit, I don't think of my sense of touch very much. I guess I just take it for granted." He pays cash, and once his change is given, the sound of the coins can be heard hitting the tip jar.

Giea gives a small smile and says in return, "Touch is my secret pleasure, not many people know how to feel things. They talk about sights, and the reds and orange in the sunset, the cold blues in a picture of the moonlit sea. They talk about music, and the contralto's voice as she sings the opera, how the strings of the violin resonate." Giea takes a step aside, drawing her hand across the counter. "I admit, I can envy these things kept secret. But with my fingers and hands, I can create a sculpture of feeling, of textures and heat, so vivid and beautiful, painted in colours unimaginable by one who has sight, resonating in a way impossible by sound… I can relish each sensation, no matter how small, even as simple as a soft blouse against my skin or the sensation of another's breath. That's my secret. One that most will never know for themselves." She taps her fingers against the counter and smiles wider at that.

"Wow," Mason says, his voice sounding rather astonished. "I never thought about that." He runs his own hand along the same counter, but truly doesn't appreciate it in the same way, though he tries to picture what she describes. "So that's like your own personal music, but even though everybody else can feel the same thing, they just don't get it like you do." He steps away from the counter, moving to the nearest table, and putting the books down upon it. The keyboard is unshouldered, and is placed on the ground. Perhaps a slight vibration can be felt from the weight. Though he doesn't place it down hard, Mason isn't as sensitive to such things.

Giea's foot shifts slightly when the keyboard is placed on the ground, and she orients in that direction. "What's that?" As her drink order is passed across, she notes, "I fancy myself something of a storyteller though… here, give me your hands when we sit down, and I'll tell you a short tale." She takes her cane and heads to the table to take her seat.

"That's my keyboard," Mason answers, going back to pick up his drink, and then returning to the seat. "My hands?" he asks, putting the warm drink to the side, and adjusting the place of the books so he can put his hands across the table. "Okay." He isn't sure what Giea means to do, but since touch is her big avenue, he ventures a guess. "Are you going to tell me a story through touch?" he asks.

Smiling, Giea takes Mason's hands and says, "I'll tell you the story through touch and through sound. You wouldn't understand the former alone, now would you? Now, shh! Relax." She seems to pause for a moment, as if contemplating what she's going to say now. And then she begins, manipulating the hands in hers to form signs and make gestures as she speaks.
"Grizzly bear met Coyote, and says, 'I am the greatest in magic. When I wish a thing, it must be. I am displeased with the small amount of darkness. It will be better if it is dark all the time. I will make it so.'" says Giea, changing her voice slightly to do Grizzly's voice, her touch changing in the same way.
"Coyote answered, 'No, it would inconvenience the people too much,'" Giea's touch relaxes for coyote, becomes more playful.
"And Grizzly said, "Well, I will have it my way." And Coyote protested, 'No, you can't.'"
"Grizzly danced and sang, singing, 'Darkness, darkness! Let it always be dark!' And coyote sang and danced, singing, 'Light, light, may it be light!" says Giea, trying to add some melody to the songs, but melody is not her strong suit.
"Grizzly and Coyote danced, and sometimes, Grizzly won, and others, Coyote won. But they struggled for a long time, and neither beat the other," continues Giea, moving Mason's hands in turn.
"At last, Grizzly got tired and said, 'Let there be half darkness and half light.' And Coyote agreed, and said, 'It shall be light from the time the sun prepares to rise until he sets. The rest of the time shall be night. So every day the sun shall travel, and when he leaves, the night will follow him until the next day.'" At this, Giea makes her finals signs, "And this is how day and night came to be," before pulling her hands out of Mason's and picking up her cup.

Mason closes his eyes as Giea tells the story, removing one sense from distraction so tha the can focus on the touch. His hands are mostly soft, but callous at the fingertips, sign that he plays guitar. A smile creeps across his face, and he resists the urge to giggle at the story's sillyness. "That was great," he says as Giea finishes the story. "So is that what you'd want to do for a living?" he asks. "Tell stories with your hands?"

"No, I think I would like to be a professor, but… I'm learning to do this. My tactile signing isn't perfect. I still have an accent, some might say," says Giea, smiling slightly at that, "I'm studying right now at NYU in religion studies." She takes a sip from her drink. "So, keyboardist and guitarist? You must be quite the musician!"

Mason takes a sip of his chai, and grins, "Religion studies?" he repeats. "You must be really smart for all that stuff." A realm which Mason's never explored. Partly for laziness, and partly for fear that he might have to follow some sort of ruleset. "I do okay," he laughs, finding the statement amusing. "I do violin pretty well, too," he confesses. "Wait, how'd you know I play guitar?" Took him a moment to realize that he hadn't told her that.

"Your hands feels like a guitarist's hands," says Giea at that, "You can tell a lot about a person from their hands. There's so much there. You can tell who types all day, or who prefers a pen, or who is an artist, a carpenter, you can tell if they like to work with their hands or not." She shrugs and notes, "With men, it's easier. Women soften their hands, eliminate calluses, but that gives me a feel for their character too. Anyways, I'm not sure if I'm smart, but I really do enjoy it. It's all so beautiful."

"Huh," Mason answers, looking at his hands. "I never thought about that." The musician studies Giea's face carefully. "See, most people try to tell a lot by what they see. They'll look at your face and judge you. But it's not always very accurate. Some people are really attractive, but they are snots. But they get treated like they are fantastic because of their looks. I think in some ways you're kinda lucky to be blind. You can't see that I've got warts all over my face and my nose is the size of a watermelon." The tone is is playful, not attempting to be serious. He has no concerns about his looks.

"Well, now you're just putting me on!" says Giea, smirking at that. "And I know that people judge for looks. I don't wear sunglasses because I need extra shade. People find my eyes creepy. I could just as soon wear anything over them, or nothing and just keep them closed." She shakes her head and adds, "And you know I'm going to have to touch your face, now, to make sure you really are a liar!"

There is a soft click as Mason pulls his own sunglasses off, and he cautiously looks about the room to see if anyone is looking. "It's all right, I wear shades all the time too." No explanation for why is given. "Okay," the star agrees. He places the sunglasses on the tabletop, and reaches out to take Giea's hands, pulling them up to his face. Secretly, Mason finds this whole exchange rather exciting. Still, he's blushing, face a little warmer than normal. Self-consciously, he glances around the room, though he keeps his head still for her to feel his features.

Giea's touch is gentle, just soft finger strokes testing where everything is, her fingers seem to be carefully measuring yet feeling the various surfaces on Mason's face without displacing anything. "Are you embarrassed?" she asks, feeling the blush in his face and smiling at that. "People look over your face all the time, don't they? I didn't find any warts or anything. You must take good care of your skin."

Mason's lips curl into a smile, "Yeah, they do," he says as Giea's fingers pass his chin. "But usually they do it with their eyes. I have to admit, it's a little different with touch. I like it, though." He picks his sunglasses up off the table when she's done, and puts them back on his face. He pauses a few moments. "So, can I try?" he asks. "I've never tried to see someone with just my fingertips."

Giea pulls her hands away and shrugs, "I don't usually feel people's faces. I know it makes them uncomfortable, but it's nice once in awhile." She pulls off her glasses, showing her glassy, blankly staring blue eyes. They are only partially open, and neither focused on anything in particular. She smiles encouragingly, "Go ahead. Close your eyes, and try to make your mental sculpture."

Mason's touch isn't as gentle as Giea's, but it is nimble. He closes his eyes, warm fingers feeling the curves in Giea's face carefully. "I think it's probably a little different," he says, "Because even with my eyes closed, I am just feeling things I know are already there." He grins sheepishly. When he finally takes his hands back, he grabs the receipt from his drink. "Can you feel writing that people put down on paper?" he asks. He reaches behind himself to pull a pen from the keyboard's carrying bag, and clicks it open.

"It depends how hard they press. I know the letters, but I'm faster with braille. It's made for the touch. Each regular letter requires a lot of attention, but I can," replies Giea, taking a sip from her drink when Mason is done. "What do you have in mind?"

Mason's voice is confident, but soft. "I have to get going, but I'd like to give you my phone number," he says. "Or at least get yours." Mason's flirted with a lot of girls, but Giea is the type of flower you don't meet twice. "Would you be okay with that?" he asks. He starts to write against the table, but then pauses, recognizing that the hard surface won't create a deep impression. He takes one of the braille books instead, opening it the blank last page, and uses it as a writing surface, something a little softer so that the indention will be deeper.

"I'm flattered. I'd be happy to take your number," says Giea, smiling at that. She doesn't know who Mason is, but he at least seems interesting and open to experience, both traits that she values. She reaches her hand out to accept it, and smiles, "Well, I hope to meet again, Mason. You have a good evening."

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