The Pigeon Themes
The self-effacement of Jonathan Noel has been nurtured for thirty years by the compulsion to preserve anonymity and avoid the public eye lest he be thought ridiculous. These concerns are paramount in his mind each morning when he peers out surreptitiously from his room to see that the hall leading to the toilet shared with other tenants is free of anyone whom he would be forced to encounter and with whom he would have to exchange greetings and apologies. When in the park, he tears the cloth in his pants, and Jonathan almost dies of mortification, imagining that the tear is heard round the world. In conversation with the concierge, she addresses him by name and exposes him to the embarrassment of knowing that what he says is ridiculous.