Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Subways Are for Weeping

Photo taken early on.

Having finished my literary moment uptop in Bryant Park, I descended into the sweaty bowels of the subway station to take the F or the V back to 14th Street. It was a quick hop that someone without a laptop and a with a tank top could have hoofed. But I have a monthly subway pass so, dammit, I have to amortize!

There was a man sitting on a bench with a boom box of some sort playing the violin to some recorded orchestral back up. I thought "Cheesy" as if he should have divided his tips with a full orchestra or scratched the idea entirely.

The train was not coming. It kept not coming. It was getting hotter and hotter. I was with computer. I had a dog to walk. But this man kept playing and when I finally listened it was the most beautiful music I had ever truly heard. He was an excellent violinist and was so soulful as if he had had a hard life. That level of soulful. I was mesmerized. And I was not alone. Here was a platform full of pissed off, sweaty commuters melted only by music. He played a Pachelbel's Canon that sounded fresh and Beethoven and Bach. He just played his heart out. He played them all.

The train was still not coming. It was about 20 minutes at this point. I dug into my wallet and put some money in his canister. This started a trend it seemed. Other's followed. And I noticed the people who gave - they were everyone. You could not cast a "type." Music is truly universal and fills you up.

People began to gather like we were in Whoville. That was all I could take. I had to turn to the tracks, not to leap, but to cry. I could not hold it in. Tears just came down. A mouse ran along the tracks doing its thing, and the heat engulfed us as more people piled on and all just stayed put and did not complain, but instead listened to this remarkable man.

A woman in a sundress and crutches finally clapped and we all let loose with her as if in a shared catharsis.

After over half an hour the train came and we piled on, but we all turned to this man and thanked him. We thanked this man for giving such joy.

It was amazing.

1 comment:

easca said...

Pat, When you were home in SF, I gave you the business card of a film maker whom I had met at Summer Home Park. I told him all about you and your time at Sundance. When I read your violin train blog, I felt fate nudging me to nudge you. Check out his latest film!!!
Oscar Bucher, "Waiting for a Train". It's a film about an Asian musician in love with American blue grass music!

Enjoy and don't lose his card. Write him and email and invite him to join your blog! Love, E.