Music To My Ears Of Corn

 buddy and I used to joke that we’d get a lot more work done if we set up IV drips beside our desks. If we didn’t have to stop to do things like eat.

Work is what I love. And I love doing what I love. Daily chores, not so much.

I found myself in the big city today. When you live in the woods, the suburbs are the big city. Daily chores. Grocery shopping at one of these giant hangars they stock with irradiated food and call a supermarket. Not my usual joint.

When you walk into a supermarket you’re always greeted with the fresh produce section. This is designed to excite your senses. Make you hungry before you’re funneled toward the processed food sections. Everything in franchise stores is psychology. Deciphering retail ploys is how I amuse myself while doing chores.

I expected the tomatoes, bananas and berries. I did not expect the baby grand piano.

I’ve got a plastic basket on my arm and here’s this guy between the rows of fruit – in a tux – playing piano. Belting out opera with abandon.

Like I said, not my joint. Is this a regular thing? Is this what grocery shopping means now? Live entertainment? If I fill up my tank later does that include a show?

Head down, I move past him and get down to the business at hand.

Wife and I circulate. Divide and conquer our list.

When I join her again I shake my head and remark on the piano man. What a pitiful schlep. A grown man, obviously schooled in his craft, plunking and wailing away in a supermarket on a Sunday afternoon. An organ grinder’s monkey. Humiliated for our delight.

Teenagers working the deli counter comment all too loud that they wish he had a volume knob.

Only a pair of bluehairs stand by the piano. Watch and listen.

By the time I’m on the other end of the hangar, the piano man’s voice has all but faded away. It now mingles with the muzak playing on the PA. I’m looking for canned bamboo shoots when I realized what an idiot I am.

Who the hell am I to judge this guy? I’m out doing chores. On my weekend. The piano man’s playing music. And well. An enviable skill regardless of where or when he’s playing. He’s doing something he clearly loves doing– And hired to do so! The more I think about it, this pitiful schlep has it made!

How can you fault someone who’s found a way – any way – to do what they love?

If even for a minute. If even surrounded by ingrates like me.

Stupid supermarket with its stupid consumer psychology and stupid life lessons…

Good for you supermarket piano man! Play on!


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