Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Beauty in Unexpected Places

Perhaps some of you have already read about the social experiment organized by the Washington Post on perception, taste, and priorities of people. If you haven't, it went something like this:

A man stood at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin.

It was a cold January morning in 2009. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the case and without stopping, continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried, but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for awhile. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

Now here is the real shocker. No one knew, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston with the average seat cost being $100.

This experiment leaves us with several questions. In a commonplace environment, at an inappropriate hour do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing? Today, take the time and truly look for the beauty fully expecting to see it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Aftermath

I feel like I'm taking a real hiatus from my blog this month. Life is a chaotic frenzy and I'm convinced that they no longer make days with the same number of hours as they once did. Like everything else, they're cheaping out in that department. I did take time on Saturday, however, to throw on my Fluevogs and a feather boa. Hey, if a girl can't wear a boa on Valentine's day, when can she? And then I went to check out Hugfest. It was definitely a feel good, pay it forward sort of event. I'm not bragging or anything, but I certainly got my share. Perhaps it's not "the magic bullet" that will solve all the world's problems, but there certainly weren't any grumpy people lurking about and smiles and laughter seemed to abound. So go ahead, find someone and give him or her a hug. Bonus points if you don't know the person. You might just make somebody's day.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Hug Fest

I feel so neglectful lately. I've hardly had a chance to drop in and say hi, let alone post anything. But today, I wanted to send hugs out there to all of you. Scientists have proven that hugging slows aging, improves sleep and increases intelligence. Pretty cool, isn't it? And if that's not enough, just think of that fantastic warm and fuzzy feeling it gives you. For any of you who feel you could use some more hugs or just simply want to come and test the theory, feel free to drop by Baker street between Stanley and Ward from 11 am to 1 pm on February 14th for the annual Inspire Nelson Valentine's Hugfest. I can't think of a better way to beat those winter blues and banish the grey away. Guaranteed to make you smile.