Today there was this guy playing his guitar on a bench in the middle of the CSULB campus. Sitting there, pretty as you please, his foot propped up on his guitar case, totally engrossed in the music he was playing. He strummed out Baroque tunes, a love song, American folk tunes—everything flew under his fingers like he wasn’t even thinking about it.

Purely out of my own cat-like curiosity, I asked him if he minded me sitting on the bench across from him and just listening. He said he didn’t mind.  I love listening to live music more than anything, and after a stressful week, this was precisely what I needed: fifteen minutes of music and the accompanying sound of summer’s last few crickets.

He played for a good twenty minutes. He smiled to himself, soon forgetting I was even there, not noticing the people passing him by. I asked him later why he wasn’t at Julliard or a similar music school. He said he would have qualified, but he liked the atmosphere at CSULB better. I told him he was making the atmosphere better by playing his guitar out in the open like that.

But people just walked by. They should have stopped to listen—such phenomenal playing should have drawn a crowd. But so many people just walked by as if beauty didn’t matter. As if he had just been another cricket chirping in the dusk. Somehow I found this outrageously offensive. People take the loveliest things, like random acts of music, and take them for granted.

And then I thought, there’s a blog post in there somewhere.

I admire gypsy souls like that. People who don’t mind sharing what they’ve got. It takes a lot of nerve to play out in the open where everyone can hear every little mistake. But it takes a generous soul to say “Here’s what I’ve got. I hope you enjoy it—for what it’s worth.”

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were random acts of music everywhere?