Saw the same guys again (see my original post on Mexican Music on May 8th, 2009.) They were waiting for the train with me at the very end of the subway platform, talking amongst themselves – there were more of them this time – and checking their instruments.
Once again I was engrossed in what I was reading, but I was not in the dour mood I was last time. The train comes and I’m successful in finding a seat on the crowded subway car. Within seconds the guys start playing that same music, and again I find myself smiling. Just amazing: the transformational power of music. And these guys, just like the last time, are only going through the motions, expressionless, but playing well. Earning a living; I guess this is what that looks like for them.
And then a funny thing happened (at least to my Monty Python/Jon Stewart mind): a woman in tattered clothes begins calmly moving through the crowd, open palm extended, begging for money. “Spare a dollar?” (pause – next person), “Spare a dollar” (pause – next person) … right through our accordion playing, guitar strumming, Mexican performers who no doubt would soon be passing the hat to the same people now doing their best to ignore this apparently homeless woman.
I was smiling so broadly at this farcical scene being played out before my eyes that I became conscious of how I must be appearing to my fellow subway riders, and I looked around to see if anyone was observing me, or better yet, also finding this funny. Oh what a kindred soul that would be. No luck though. Not the first time, I’m the only one finding something that just happened hysterically funny.
One of the guys stops playing and begins walking the train collecting money in his hat. Not many people give though, but I do. After all, these guys are doing what they know how to do, and I feel good when I acknowledge things that make me feel good, especially since I was just royally entertained.