Stop and listen

Acest articol a fost scris anul trecut pentru a fi publicat pe un alt blog, insa lucrurile au evoluat in alta directie. Asa ca-l pun aici. Tare mult imi place (feeling dreamy).


“In Central Park lives a musician and writer named Kenny. We met him and his friend, Paulie, during our two weeks New York visit. We had just entered the park and were planning to take a short walk as it was close to evening, when we saw a man playing an acoustic guitar on a bench.

This entire picture had an unsophisticated beauty, almost like a wise old scenographer had put everything together. A vigorous oak was a substitute for ceiling for Kenny and Paulie, the scenery being complete with a ravishing meadow in the back and a tireless promenade in the front. We got carried away by all of these. The beautiful song he was learning is “I want to know what love is”. Kenny continued to consult Paulie about the sound of what he was playing, but after a few seconds he naturally turned to us and started a conversation on the same topic, saying that “It’s one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard…and I’ve heard many”.

He spoke tirelessly for almost two hours, with all of us staying on the bench and me trying to catch all his words while getting my ears a bit closer. We were listening to him and were fascinated of the way he was pouring out of himself and how inexhaustibly he was speaking about his life. We found out that he would go and sing in other areas of the city, including Macy’s eighth floor during holidays, and then buy food for both him and Paulie. “He is a good friend. I know him for three years, since I first came into this park”. A delicate feeling of fondness embraced me and I was filled with inspiration. I wish we could have stayed longer, but it was already late, cold and we were tired, but we agreed to meet again three days later, in the same place, at the same hour, so we can share the experience of a concert we were going.

Three days later, with two large slices of pizza and two cans of Coca-Cola, we approached the park. They were there, of course, but Kenny was in a bad mood. A small gift bag was placed in front of him, on the path. We were confused of the whole situation and slowly got closer. He was elusive and avoided to tell us what happened. To change the subject, we began sharing our concert adventure. He was sitting on the edge of the seat and listening every word of my story. It is really a blessing to have your ideas followed so attentively. Our conversation was dynamic and full of life.

Eventually, he and Paulie told us that few people do get closer, stop and listen, but then they leave and do not tip. So Kenny was puzzled and a bit frustrated because of these happenings, but even so, he was grateful for what he had as he knew that he could have died many times. You could notice that gratitude and grace in his eyes.

“There are two types of people: those who stop, listen and then just leave, and those who also leave a tip”. That’s what Kenny said during our gathering and we amusingly added that there is a third category who, in addition, stays for stories. Adding the forth category who returns at some other time was even more hilarious.

I was feeling that I would like to help him and somehow this desire attracted a very peculiar opportunity. He had a friend who had a carriage and was offering Central Park guided tours for a (part of his) living. He stopped in front of Kenny and asked him to play some songs for the ladies he was carrying. So he sang “I can’t help falling in love with you” and the chorus of ”I want to know what love is”, while I was recording him on my phone. He offered to sing one of his own songs, but the ladies declined as they probably wanted to see Central Park before the darkness took over the alleys, so they left.

He asked us how his performance was and said that if he could record himself, then he would know how to improve his live acts. That night he also showed us and read his own song lyrics. They were written cleanly with a gorgeous handwriting. He had copies of them so that he could give them away when the self-promoting opportunities knocked at his…bench. Most of the time we were listening to him; we didn’t speak so much, but after we tried to we realized that he knew what he had to do with his life and musical aspirations.

Beauty is everywhere and we should stop and listen, even for 15 seconds in a rush morning, and if we like it, it would be a nice idea to give a small tip. Without defining what small means, a few or 10 dollars will not make a difference for us, they really won’t, but for a street artist they will and could mean a part of the money needed to register his intellectual property.

P.S.: If you want to get in touch with Kenny, please contact the author.

P.P.S: The above mentioned video is available here.”

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