"Tell me what you pay attention to and I will tell you who you are."
—José Ortega y Gasset
Outside of a Washington, DC Metro Station, a man with a violin stopped, set his hat on the ground, and played some music for about an hour.
It was a chilly January morning and exactly 1,097 people passed by the man on their way to work.
After 3 minutes of playing:
A middle aged man noticed the musician and slowed his pace for a few seconds, then hurried along.
The violinist received his first dollar from a woman who dropped money in his hat without stopping.
A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him for three minutes, then looked at his watch and continued walking.
A 3-year old boy stopped to look at the violinist but his mother tugged him to continue walking. The kid stopped again, but the mother shuffled him along, turning his head all the time (this action was repeated by several other children and their parents).
After 45 minutes:
A total of seven people stopped to listened (the longest stopping for nine minutes) and twenty passerby gave money for a total of $32.
He finished playing and silence took over the station. Most people not seeming to notice. There was no applause for the man.
The violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. In the station that morning, he played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.
Three days before that, Mr. Bell sold out a Boston theater where each seat averaged $100.
If we don't have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made… then what's the point?
How many other beautiful moments are we missing daily where the only price we have to pay is pausing long enough to notice them?
Whatever it is, it could probably wait.
Peace in the process, joy in the journey... -GFDD
PS. Did you know there's a free sunset happening outside tonight?
PPS. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station is a true story, a social experiment organized by theWashington Post.