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Monday, September 22, 2008

Being Trumps Doing


One of the best things about this city is the plethora of extraordinary and unusual people and things. I have spoken to a homeless person who graduated from Columbia University. Street musicians who go to Juilliard. Physics professors. The editor of the Paris review. And many who are not renowned in any way but who are absolutely brilliant in either a mainstream interest or some obscure niche.

Those of you who read this blog regularly know I am in the throws of a renovation in my NYC apartment. It is frustrating to spend beautiful days indoors hammering and painting, particularly on a Sunday with blue skies and warm air in late September. In sampling the air with my head out my window before leaving my home, I noticed two guitarists playing on the stoop of my building, not a typical occurrence at all. When I exited my home, already late afternoon, my intention was to go do my doings.

However, after a polite interchange of hellos, it occurred to me that I had no real doings to do apart from going out to enjoy the day - perhaps I should spend a moment and see what these two guitarists had to offer. As it turned out, they played some of the best original music I have heard. They were quite accommodating, with Eric improvising a tune for a 2 1/2 year old girl. I learned that they both play publicly. We exchanged emails and I learned that Ian Gittler and Eric Silverman will be playing back to back on October 4th at the Ace of Clubs on Great Jones Street.

In the act of going to do, one can easily overlook things much more interesting at hand. I frequently observe people in this city rushing by a major happening with great fervor and intention, perhaps part of an agenda.

It behooves anyone in this city, resident or not, to really slow down and observe, as difficult as that may be in a fast moving world and a faster city. Never make assumptions based on appearances or be afraid to engage in conversations. I have so frequently missed remarkable people and things, right under my nose, only to be told later by a friend. Don't miss the extraordinary, rushing to the ordinary, or let doing trump being ...

5 comments:

Wayne said...

First class post Brian. How much have we (I) already missed because we wouldn't slow down?

There'll be lots of gray rainy days when you'll be happy to be inside painting and hammering.

babooshka said...

It sorts of sums up blogging too. Lving on an island we have the lsower pace, but not the diverse grouping of peoplw. I envy you that.

Lin said...

Spot on. I don't know how many times i've stressed out on the weekend trying to make the most of my 2 days of freedom. I end up running around doing everything I "can't" do during the week and come Monday I'm exhausted again.

My neighbour doesn't have a job. I see him frequently potting around his garden. Sometimes I see him in the morning playing guitar. When he needs money he sells some of the stuff he's accumulated over the years in Sydney, that keeps him going for a while. Looking at him makes me want to slow down and your blog post confirms it. I just want to be.

Thanks for a great blog!

Ted and Lori said...

Nice perspective in a fast-paced world. I find it wonderful that you've captured this moment in a busy city.

Sally said...

Yep....enjoy the moment! BTW I like the look of your neighbourhood and building - the stoop, the garden, the iron work.