Stop to smell the roses
Coming from Lawrence, Kan., I have been around plenty of street musicians. Downtown Lawrence is a popular place for people of all ages to hang out, so musicians will often stand on street corners or in alleyways downtown to play their music. Sometimes the musicians are genuinely talented, causing passersby to linger while enjoying sweet melodies. Other times–let’s not sugar coat this–they’re just bad. But hey, you have to give them credit for trying. Regardless of talent, I always notice these musicians. But that does not necessarily mean that I take a moment to stop and enjoy their music.
Gene Weingarten’s “Pearls Before Breakfast” proves an interesting point about typical busy, rushed Americans: we don’t always take time to stop and smell the roses. Sometimes we miss out on incredible beauty when it is literally right in our faces–or ears. People (myself included) often get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of their tiring days that they don’t take a little time to listen to the talents of street musicians.
Weingarten’s article follows the story of Joshua Bell, a famous violinist, performing in a crowded area of Washington, D.C. during a busy time of day. A man who is used to performing in front of large audiences who paid large amounts of money to see him, Bell was shocked at the remarkably small number of people who put money in his case, or even stopped to listen to him play.
When I first started reading the article, I thought to myself that people must be crazy to not stop and listen to such a talented musician play for free. But as I read on, I realized that I am one of those people at times. Even if I enjoy what I’m hearing, sometimes I just feel to rushed to listen to a street performer.
People who walk by street performers without taking a second listen often miss out not only on hearing talented musicians, but also getting to know interesting people. So whether I’m walking around the Old Market on a Saturday night or wandering around downtown Lawrence on a lazy Sunday, I will be more conscious of the street musicians around me. This time I will stop to smell the roses.