I have a story from walking earphone-less today. It became such a norm to my life to have earphones on probably since high school. When I came out of the office today, I found myself in a just-so-pleasant world. The air was cool and dry, with some gloomy looking sky with half opened to the sun in the west. Noticeably the days are shorter these days, so I was glad that I came out before it got dark. So instead of putting my earphone on and immerse myself in my music world, I just started walking toward the Capitol without really thinking about means to go home.
At a metro stop, I heard the sound of cello (because I did not have my earphones on!). It stopped to me and made me just hang out around there for about 20 minutes. The man who was playing the cello was one of those performers on the streets. This is afterthought, but I think I stopped because the sound and the world I was experiencing perfectly matched, and thus I wanted to enjoy more. It may sound very normal, but it is not to me. I would not wander unnecessarily around a metro stop, let alone where people gather, being big crowd averse.
I also watched people being sucked into and showing up from the metro stop escalators. People would double take, smile, and search their bags and pockets, and fetch a dollar or coins, then put them in a cap in front of the cello man. Some, past the cello, and came back to put the money in.
This world watching reminded me of the metro in Rome. There were many on-the-train performers in Rome, often with pre-made music and some instruments played along with it by the performer. After the performance, the person would walk around the coach to get some coins. Sometimes music are good, other times not so much. I would have to always prepared with small coins in my bag where I could easily access to. Friday metro around the city center can get very competitive. The rush hour performers perform really well (on the crowded train!). And people would just be eager to drop coins.
It was interesting to see different style of performance while the audience react more or less in the same way. Music that attracts people does that anywhere. I had a good luck being earphone-less.