Every day, I take the BART to the Powell station where street musicians are setting up shop. Usually it’s too early in the morning for them to play, because the Westfield mall isn’t open yet. However, when I finish work around 5:30, I walk in to be welcomed by musicians of all sorts. A guitarist. A man crooning, echoing in the halls of the BART. A Chinese pianist. Today, it was a Mexican samba. I never really do stop though. Yet every single time, I smile to myself. There are a few reasons why I have stopped listening to my ipod on my commute. I hate missing the sounds around me.
The beauty of music is found in the station of the Metro in DC. Do people stop to listen the great beauty or move on? The follow-up.
It is intriguing to me. Being human, one of the worst feelings to endure is to be ignored. To be forgotten. I often choose to continue in my journey, somewhat drenched in guilt, because I have been taught never to pull out cash for a casual purpose. And yet, I would gladly pay for a prime seat in a concert hall to listen to music and yet not for the musician standing only 10 feet from me. I don’t stop because by stopping, I feel obligated to flatter them with money. But that isn’t the purpose right? And I walk away, almost as if to escape the obligation, wrenched with guilt knowing that on my ipod too, it’s really not…bought music anyway…
So what is it? Recently, there have been many movies on the feeling of being ignored, being forgotten. That if you stand in the middle of a crowd unmoving, you might not be noticed. I always found that idea to be odd, because I believe I do notice. I like to stand in the BART station as people walk by me, eavesdropping on their threads of conversation. And as they leave, my imagination creates the stories of who they are and where they are going. It’s the couple going to their kids, unhappy with their state of marriage. It’s the two Chinese friends, exhausted from work, sharing their stories of raising kids. It’s the guy who found a great deal at the mall, telling someone on the phone about it—sounding like it was someone who wasn’t listening but he didn’t notice.
But to be forgotten or to be remembered as insignificant perhaps is the worst feeling of all.