Dear Musician Playing the Instrument I Know Not The Name of in the Adelaide Railway Station on Thursday 4th Feb,
I saw you there on Monday, and again on Wednesday too. I heard your music, competing for attention with incoming and departing trains, with passengers darting down the platforms hoping not to miss their ride and have to endure a 30 minute wait, with the sound of turnstiles accepting validated tickets. Your music beat all of this, drawing my attention away from the bustle of the everyday. I was enthralled by the instrument you played, an instrument which looked like two long, skinny guitars joined together at the base before separating out at the top. It is an instrument I have seen before, but I am not sufficiently knowledgeable in music to know of the name.
On Thursday, I slowed my pace as I walked past, admiring the way you lost yourself in your sound, not caring that even those occupying the bench directly in front of you were ignoring you, eyes on screens or deliberately turned to look the other way. You must have felt my eyes on you, because you looked up at me, and straight into my eyes. We exchanged a smile. I couldn’t stop then, for I was already late, but I promised myself I would stop on my way back.
It was a promise I almost didn’t keep, until I had twelve minutes to spare before my train would depart and your music commanded my attention and compelled me to keep my promise. I extracted an embarrassingly inept amount of silver coins from my wallet (plastic is my thing; I even unashamedly paid for my $1.30 train ticket with plastic) and placed them along with other, more generous donations in the instrument case at your feet. You looked at me and thanked me. Thank you, I told you. The music is beautiful. You smiled, and I added, sorry I don’t have more. You kept smiling, and shook your head slightly, it didn’t matter.
I’m sorry if my conversation threw you off your playing; removed you from your world of bliss and brought you crashing back to the reality of the hustle and bustle of occupied minds with too little time. But this is not a letter of apology; this is a letter of thanks. So again, thank you, for making this week’s commute that much more meaningful and thoughtful.