Sunday, March 15, 2009

Free show

While this (last... past tense, dagnabit) week was my spring break, it is not my friend's, so I had to wait a few hours in the airport before catching the shuttle to her place. No problem; I putzed around on the internet and then finally settled down to some grading, which I brought with me, knowing it wouldn't grade itself in my absence.

Sometime between when I finally settled down to grading and when I looked up in need of a distraction, I noticed a young, shaggy-haired man, standing off by himself, juggling three pins intently. He wore a white sleeveless top, the better to show off well-tanned arms, kakhi shorts, and a black fedora with a feather over his right ear. Up went the blue and green pins, followed by the orange, which detoured behind his back before becoming airborne, followed in turn by the blue, and so on. They'd stay up a bit, then come clattering to the floor with hollow thuds. Then he juggled them all in front of him, until again, some would clatter to the floor.

I went back to my grading. When I looked up again, he had four pins: the green, the orange, and two blue pins. His companion, whom I hadn't noticed before, made an attempt at a backflip that ended with him sprawled on the floor. Having decided to give up on the acrobatics, he joined his juggling friend, a yellow pin somehow materializing in the process. They juggled pins back and forth after a couple false starts when they were negotiating how far apart to stand. I don't know if they were trying to provide entertainment for anybody else, or just themselves, but I enjoyed the show, and several people wandering by stopped to observe them. The second juggler finally wandered off, bored, leaving the original entertainer to goof around, less enthusiastically, with the yellow and blue pins.

I finally decided to grab paper to capture my impressions of the scene before me. When I glanced up after three paragraphs crammed onto the back of a half-page grading rubric, the juggler seemed to have vanished. I could see neither his shaggy, emo-haired head nor his jaunty feathered fedora. One last glimpse, and I was ready to assume he's gone, off to catch a flight or a shuttle, when I see what looks like a musical instrument case standing on end by a pillar. The juggler has one more trick up his sleeve--he pulled out a banjo and begins picking out what sounded like an improvised tune.

All told, I may not have gotten much grading done, but the grading will be there, waiting for me to pick it up again. When you've got an impromptu show in front of you, it seems a shame to squander the opportunity.

1 comment:

Tab Calhoun said...

Absolutely! Never squander an opportunity like that.