Monday, April 09, 2007

You Wouldn't Have Stopped Either OR
How Hective Living Chokes Your Spirit OR
Why We Oughta Stop a Sec for the Music

There was no ethnic or demographic pattern to distinguish the people who stayed to watch Bell, or the ones who gave money, from that vast majority who hurried on past, unheeding. Whites, blacks and Asians, young and old, men and women, were represented in all three groups. But the behavior of one demographic remained absolutely consistent. Every single time a child walked past, he or she tried to stop and watch. And every single time, a parent scooted the kid away.
A terrific article of an experiment. Read it.

Before I got to the part about Little Evvie, I was remembering the times on the subway rides to Manhattan, remembering street musicians, being a kid and wanting to listen.

Hubby and I almost always stop to listen to the musicians when it's our LEISURE time (we go out to eat, walk on the beach, etc). Well, unless they're dreadful. When time is not of the essence, we stop. My husband is a musician and I love music. (I have some Sibelius playing right now, violin by Joshua Bell, in fact.)

But I also remember the insane mornings when I was cutting it close (as I always did) to make it to work on time. (I'm not a punctual person. Getting anywhere on time requires huge amounts of concentration. I was born on "Cuban time".) Bach himself could have come back from the dead with a harpsichord, sitting and playing at the metrorail station, and I'd still have to think, "Dang, wish I could stop" as I raced to work.

I may love me my baroque music, but if my job depended on it, no, I ain't stopping.

On my day off, yeah. I'd stop. Chat up the musician as hubby and I sometimes do. And if hubby had his congas with him in the trunk, he'd go get them and join in. He's done that at times.

Last night, on the way home from the Easter gathering at my brother's house, as we approached I-95 to get back home, I said, "Can we take the scenic route, downtown. Maybe there's music."

Hubby said, "Sure," and we took the longer, gas-wasting, eastward route down Hollywood Boulevard, to Young Circle. Business was light, Sunday, Easter and all. But yeah, there was a guy with a guitar playing on the sidewalk to a decent attendance at the outdoor seating part of the restaurant. Brazilian lyrics.

O'Haras, the jazz eatery, was closed.

I find live music in small venues pleasant, sometimes restful, sometimes energizing. Depends. I love acoustic instruments in a cafe setting. Just sit and hear some nice folk or soft rock or pop or jazz. It's therapeutic. It's also just one of those beautiful things in life. A person, a guitar or violin or flute or whatever, and off they go, making the air so much nicer.

Back to that experiment and me as a kid: I remember being 9 or so, and stopping, in my pale-blue, crushed velvet coat to listen to a violinist once. And I remember my mom, my dear mom who so often was tired and overworked and hustling on those weekdays to get somewhere, pulling me onward cause she had to get to something, I forget what. Maybe a doctor's appointment.

So, go read about Joshua Bell and that experiment, whose outcome I pretty much guessed, given the paces and pressures of city life.

Excuse me, I need to go and put on Partita No 2 in D Minor now...

hat tip to Miss Snark.


Josh said...

I enjoy good subway music, and certainly turn my ear to listen (if it's good, and not just some guy shrieking while banging his head on a bongo drum...I have seen this). The omnipotent schedule and clock do make fools of us all at some point.

Selena said...

Cool article, but it makes me a bit homesick. I miss the Metro. Florida is growing on me, but Washington, DC will always be my hometown.