On the subway, a young man, maybe 16, in a pressed, multicoloured plaid shirt, takes out his violin and stands in the middle of a mostly empty car to play. I take off my ipod, even though I’m exhausted and want to disengage right now. I’ve spent most of the day with a family member in the hospital, and though they are fine, I am mentally exhausted and on my way to a dinner about building local neighbourhoods through culture. So, I stop the ipod, take off my earphones, in the hopes that this may be a meaningful cultural moment, an unexpected gift. He is new to this, squeaking his way through one song with the timing and skill of a well practiced beginner.
He plays one song, accepts donations (I give him $2 for bravery) puts the violin away and leaves the train.
I think about a book I read lately, Random Acts of Culture, and remember that it is all a part of the cultural fabric of this city and that magic develops in unexpected places and that we’ll never find it if we don’t take off our headsets.