Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Listen to the music around you

Much of the time, I listen to music while I walk about town.

It creates a world of my own where no one else matters. My mood is reflected by the music, and my surroundings become a blur. As I walk, I get lost in my own thoughts.

I know I’m not the only one who takes part in this phenomenon of mp3 players. It seems a great deal of people go through their day with headphones in. If that’s not the case, they’re talking on their cell phones. My guess is that people are less likely to acknowledge each other now because they’re wrapped up in their own worlds, fabricated by technology.

That’s not a bad thing. I think the advent of technology is great, and I think I’m like most people in welcoming new inventions. However, when I’m going through the day naturally, I begin to think. What if people didn’t have these instruments? Would we act differently?

Today, I walked to and from class without my iPod. I began to notice things. One thing in particular struck me as memorable.

I heard music coming from around the corner. It was a bluesy sounding electric guitar, accompanied by some rough toned singing. I was interested in the sound. Turning the corner, I noticed the man creating the noise. He was in his mid 60s, dressed in a tattered jacket, jeans, and sandals. He wore large framed glasses, and a weathered beard.

I sat down for a listen. A couple other people had already done the same, so I didn’t feel like weirdo watching this homeless guy with a guitar. The truth was, though, he could play. He was busting out some edgy riffs that made your foot stomp to the beat. The nodding heads of the others supported my thoughts of his playing.

After a couple songs, I was thinking it was time to head back home. Just then, a girl yelled out to the old man.

“How ‘bout another,” she said. “You got a girl? Play one ‘bout your girl.”

Reluctant, the old man said, “No…I used to have a girl.”

“What happened?” she yelled back.

“I was married,” he said. “I warned her not to go somewhere, but she didn’t listen. I loved her. I let her go.”

“What do you mean?” she said confusedly. “Then what?”

The old man paused.

“She was murdered,” he said. “If it wasn’t for that, I’d probably be living happily ever after."

“Oh,” she said, embarrassed now. “I’m sorry to hear that.”

The old man answered by starting to play what he called one of his favorites. I left at the end of that song, but I walked slow as I listened to his music echoing through the ped mall.

When I got home, I couldn’t help but think, “would I have heard that story if I’d brought my music with me?”

-Eric Hawkinson

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