Friday, October 19, 2007

Man, On the Street

Life has seemed to slip past me lately--not the nuts and bolts, doing-the-laundry-mopping-the-floor sort of life (although that too, regrettably) but the inner life, the reflecting, the observing self of which I have grown particularly fond. I'm not sure why, although I do know that I have difficulty with minutiae, those small but very important details that allow one to, oh, I dunno, survive, and my tendency in situations wherein I feel flooded with details is to split--to silence my introspection. I imagine my observing self and my physical body almost like a bitter couple on a doomed vacation. It's raining outside and while Body is busy unpacking the bags and ordering room service, Self is slumped in the corner, neglected and petulant, ready to hop the next flight to anywhere but here.

But anyway.

This morning I had an early session at the Uptown office, and on my way to Metairie afterwards I decided to stop at Audubon park for a walk. This is a rare treat these days--an impromptu, mid-morning walk, sans stroller--and I relished every second of it. It made me aware of how little I've relished lately, how acutely deprived my senses and sensations have become, how desperately I needed to see and hear the man I've come to think of as the 'violin guy.'

Do you know the one I'm talking about?

I first encountered the violin guy several years ago on an early evening jog, as I rounded a curve near the front of the park and, pausing for a moment to fiddle with my i-Pod, heard a few bars of 'Amazing Grace.' It didn't take me long to locate the source: a paunchy, bearded, middle-aged guy, in shorts and a t-shirt, standing at the edge of the pond with violin in hand, playing a technically imperfect but surprisingly beautiful rendition of a not-surprisingly beautiful hymn. Since that day I've come across the violin guy on several occasions. Sometimes the music is moving, startling in its simplicity; other times, like today, it's a more mundane, man-on-the-street-with-a-guitar sort of experience. But I always take notice, like I do so often in this city, whether it be an impromptu brass band on a corner of Frenchmen, or a wild-haired octagenarian riding sideways on a Vespa down the middle of Magazine. And it never fails to pull my observing Self out of that silent corner and out into the street where, rain or shine, she is called to action.

1 comment:

Cold Spaghetti said...

Fiddle guy! John. Pre-K, he used to play during Juggling Club (Saturdays 1-3 at the Fountain). I've only seen him a few times since the storm... we really miss those Saturdays with him playing, a ton of people passing in huge groups with slack rope walkers and contact jugglers, kids everywhere, and the street car rattling up and down...

You write about your walk so eloquently! Maybe if you wrote exercise campaigns, everyone would be itching to get out daily.