A couple of weeks ago, I went to a thrift store in search of a kitty purse, and not just any kitty purse. This one was quite small, more of an evening bag in size, and the front was covered with a screen printed photo of a kitten. I tore the place apart looking for it. It had been there just a week before when I had been in this thrift store with friends. I even asked at the front counter if there was somewhere else in the store where these kind of things might be kept. No luck.
David Niven is not the kind of guy that you would expect would have an inordinate fascination with kitty purses, but he was among the group I brought to this particular store, and he was the one who labored over whether or not to buy this little purse. In the end, he left it there and voiced his regret later. I determined then that I would return as soon as I could and buy it for him.
To be honest, though, David is not the kind of guy you expect anything from…meaning, that he appears to be, and is, capable of doing all sorts of things. He is in his 20s, but his wardrobe is intentionally 80s…with neon and baggy pants ruling the day. He wears his blond hair long and is quick with a smile. It has been weeks since he left our home, after a short few days stay…and I miss him.
David travels around with Gary Lachance and his Decentralized Dance Party. He helps Gary get all the boom boxes set up and scout the route the moving party will take. Then, on the night of the DDP, David dresses in one of the banana suits and works the crowd while Gary runs the show with his broadcast. I used to be in event planning and I have seen many people in the type of role David plays in the festivities., if not exactly in a banana costume. I have never seen anyone work a crowd like David does.
When a circle forms, it’s David who gently and playfully urges just the right people to jump in and dance for the crowd. When part of the group needs to break off from the other for dramatic effect, David effortlessly leads them. When Gary plays a slow song and the crowd begins to sway, David somehow manages to pull the entire group together for a giant bear hug of a slow dance. And, he does all of this without anyone even really noticing he has done it. And this is the beauty of David. He is in it for the crowd, for the party, for the group…he clearly does not need any recognition at all that I am still a little stunned when I look back on the evening. I knew his role, and even I didn’t notice everything he had done until after it was over.
He wanted to cook us dinner before he left…and I wish we had figured out a way to let him. He kept wanting to do something for us, when all we did was offer him a bed to sleep in while he was here with us. We returned home from our trip to New York to find that he had hung our tire swing in the tree in our backyard. We have lived here almost two years and have not managed to get that hung. The fact that he even noticed it was out there is remarkable enough. Hanging it meant that he had to ride his bike to the nearest place that sold rope and then figure out how to get it slung high enough onto a solid branch. It had to have taken him hours. He said nothing about it until long after he had left.
When we drove the boom boxes up to New York, David was in the hallway of the Brooklyn artist loft space where they were crashing for the New York DDP. He had a yellow shirt laid out and was spray painting a design on it from a stencil. Mushrooms and sunshine…which is an obscure combination, to be sure. But I find myself thinking of it now and wishing I had one like it, if for no other reason, than to remind me that there are people out there who just naturally love to make things into a party…who just naturally want to get everyone involved.
If you happen to see a small kitty purse for sale…one with a screen printed kitty on it, please give me a heads up. I have no idea what on earth he wants to do with such a thing, but I have a feeling it would feel like a party to whomever he gave it to, which is reason enough for him to have it.