(From The Washington Post)
One morning during rush hour, one of the best classical musicians in the world stood in a D.C. Metro arcade and played some of the most beautiful classical music ever composed on a Stradivari violin almost 300 years old worth 3.5 million dollars. Over one thousand people passed him that morning, but under 10 stopped to listen. The violin case lay open on the street like any other street musician. Twenty seven people tossed in some change, most on the go, and he garnered a total of $32.17. One listener who recognized the quality of the performance but not the artist tossed in a ten, the remaining twenty six people gave an average of 85 cents. Some people tossed pennies.
I told this to Christina, who played the violin in high school, and she can’t believe he risked a Stradivarius on the streets like that. She tells me there are only 100 left in the world.
What bothers me so strongly is that I can’t say whether I would have stopped either. In the morning, on my way to work, well, I’m looking I’m not hit by cars on my walk. I’m in my own little world, thinking about the day’s experiments and all the other triffling thing to get done, with my iPod’s volume cranked to overpower the traffic, I very well could have never noticed.
It just makes me feel a triffle ashamed.