13. Incoherent strumming

Incoherent strumming. How else could one describe the musical ‘prowess’ of the guy? The Strummer of Parc I call him, for each morning on my way from the Parc subway station to my day job, there he is, in easy pose, banging the wooden chimes in front of him in the same tone-deaf 21-note melody.

In the two years I’ve known him, he has never strayed from his melodic path. One wonders if he doesn’t get sick of the incessant daily strumming himself. I know I do. The initial pity I had for Strummer has long been replaced by a disdain that eats away at my soul like an acidic ulcer.

So during my summer vacation I decided to teach the guy a lesson. For two weeks I took up residence on the spot in the walkway just across his usual hide-out, my saxophone in tow. At first Strummer was merely perplexed by my unusual tactics. But soon his eyes were shooting venomous darts as I played a selection of jazz standards and was rewarded amply for my versatility by the commuters.

This went on for a couple of days, during which neither of us uttered a word towards the other. Then he changed tactics. He started to jam. His 21-note repertory was expanded beyond my belief as his strumming complemented my sax and thrilled the passers-by. My disdain subsided and had almost completely disappeared by the time I traded in my saxophone for my day job again.

But as I walked by Strummer the following Monday he had resorted to his usual melody. All my efforts had been in vain it seemed. I thought about addressing the matter with him, but the only thought running through my head was ‘now there’s a summer vacation wasted’.

 

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