On the middle of the subway platform there is a man playing a steel drum.
The song he plays is about 20 years old, an unhip piece of soft pop you might hear in a pharmacy.
I watch the man. And I watch the New Yorkers all around him with their New York tastes which, I’m sure, don’t include this music.
On the far side of the platform, there is one guy leaning against a signboard. He is probably as old as the song, dressed kind of tough and edgy in a thick green coat. And he has this mildly exasperated look on his face, like he’s thinking, “I can’t believe I have to listen to this stuff.”
Then the guy starts to walk down the subway platform. He’s walking to get past the music. And I just hurt for the steel drum player.
The guy’s got something in his hand. Phone? MetroCard? Energy bar? I can’t see. But he keeps walking down the platform, past the signboard, until he stops. And drops a dollar from his hand into the case at the foot of the steel drum.
He nods at the musician, a kind of “keep on keeping on” nod. The musician smiles. Then the guy in his thick green coat walks back to the signboard on the far side of the platform.
And I stand humbled and still, witness to the world’s reminder, “Don’t you go making assumptions about the human heart.”