This evening, coming home, it was raining lightly in the plaza outside the Centrum metro station. A rock band with amplification–teenage girl singer, teenage girl rhythm guitarist, and older male rhythm section–was playing a song with some Polish words and some English words mixed together. The chorus was just a repeated “Hallelujah.” They had lighting and a tent, and some kind of creepy manager figure who kept walking in front of the band and mouthing the words of the song.
About 10 yards away, there was another musical act–one guy with a bunch of plastic tubs. He had been playing them a few hours earlier, when I’d come out of the station. He seemed resigned that he wasn’t going to be able to compete, but he didn’t pack up, either. He didn’t have a tent. A woman came up and spoke to him as if they knew each other. He had a big suitcase, like Harold Hill’s, for people to drop coins into. The tricked-up band had no suitcase. But they had a tent.
An enormous head of Rowan Atkinson on a movie poster, brightly lit and a thousand times larger than life, was above the bands. In the bad light and with my bad eyes, I thought it was George Clooney for awhile.
The singer sang better with her eyes closed.
(Watch this now! An image is going to turn into a STATEMENT!) The circumstances in which we perform are different. I’m sure the plastic tubs guy would have liked a tent, and the girl with the tent would have liked more confidence in her voice, or for her head to be as large as Atkinson’s, and Atkinson would probably like to be Clooney. But no one can make you get out of the plaza if you don’t want to. Just because someone else seems to have more of something doesn’t mean that you don’t still have something.