Friday, October 06, 2006

San Francisco (II) -- Don't shoot the pianist

The hotel I am staying in is a posh hotel right off Chinatown, at the top of a steep hill.
There is a piano in the lobby and at certain times during the day, the piano is playing. By itself. The keys are going up and down as if an invisible player was sitting there. Nobody to shoot at.
This proves irresistible for a kid about 4 year old who has jumped on the seat in front of the piano and is trying to follow along the song and the keys going up and down. He is really "following along" although the sound produced does not improve the music that much. His mother is sitting nearby, letting him enjoy a big, new toy.
This is when a woman employed by the hotel comes to the kid. It is very clear that she would like nothing better than grab him and put him somewhere as far as possible from the piano, but she can't and she is trying to bring him to stop in a falsely smooth voice. The voice, most adults use when they speak to children, as if speaking to an inferior intellect. Slowly, smoothly and higher pitched voice that they would to adults.
"Do you want some milk?" I hear her say. "Maybe some cookies?" she adds as it is clear that the milk won't do the trick. The child is unflappable. He just loves that piano and no milk and cookies are going to make him leave it. The voice gets a bit higher in pitch. "Look! I have some toys over there!" The kid is still pounding on the keyboard. The woman turns to the mother and with a very low and severe voice tells her that kids are not allowed near the instrument. I'm not sure if the milk, cookies and toys are still part of the deal.


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