I take the train into Wurzburg, Germany, today and
decide to push my introverted limits. When I take my digital memory
card to a photo shop to have them put photos on a cd, I have about
a half hour till they are finished. Well, I go out on the street,
a fussgangerzona or walking zone, and shyly pull out my harmonica,
put my hat on the street with coins in it to make it look like I
am already collecting both loot and fans, and begin wailing some
blues. To do this as a shy introvert I just have to block everything
else out, close my eyes, and blow. Truly, to put myself on stage
and start making noise which draws attention my way, and obviously
invite the public to drop their loot in my hat is pushing me way
over the edge, believe it or not! Well, it hurts, but i get over
it more and more as each coin drops in the hat! Amazing what a little
money will do! So I blow some blues for about 20 minutes and make
enough to buy my train ticket and lunch. But you know, i almost
gasp and stop playing when the first person drops money in my hat.
I just can't quite integrate anyone paying me money to play the
harmonica. This world is full of fools - and I won't tell you where
some of them live!
The most interesting part is the reactions of people
and what kind of people give money. The first is a little old lady
who has difficulty walking. A couple other people are either elderly
or have physical handicaps or difficulties. In contrast to this, one
man probably in his late 30's purposely steps on my hat and keeps
right on walking. Somehow I have the distinct impression he isn't
too pleased with my presence. Go figure! What he doesn't know is that
I am not too pleased with my presence here either. So we have something
in common and are in agreement. But just get off my leather hat! You
can knock me down and spit in my face but lay off my black leather
hat! Or was it blue suede shoes? In any case I got that thing in the
Grand Bazaar in Istanbul so have some respect!
This all gets put in perspective when a healthy
woman about my age drops in a coin and I suspect she figures if
this man at his age is on the street trying to hustle folks with
that wailing harmonica, he need both pity and help! I just smile.
Another older man who needs the assistance of his wife to walk,
struggles to get to the bottom of his pocket to find a coin, which
he eventually does, and hands it to me.
I come away from this with a quiet feeling of joy,
touched deeply by what each of these people has taught me about
giving and generosity, and my lack of both. They warm my heart
without saying a word. They quietly demonstrate what is often
only spoken about. Furthermore, these folks really have nothing
visible to gain from their giving. No recognition asked
One other thing. I watched a mime for awhile
who was surrounded, or should I say 'accosted' by about 20 school
kids who were pestering the heck out of him while he tried to maintain
his cool and not move. The kids were a pain in the ass but the mime
prevailed mostly with eyes closed, trying hard, I think, not to
bite their beady heads off. A couple times he opened his eyes and
gave a kid or two a really dirty look! When the kids left I gave
him some loot because he surely deserved it.
for or expected, no tax breaks, not even a receipt.