It was finally getting warmer and it was my first foray out at night during the week for a long time. I had just come from the Toastmasters meeting in which I was in the contest and for the second contest in a row didn’t even come in the money. Anyway I needed some cheering up. I had gotten my saxophone fixed from Mr Park at the Nagwon Center where there are over 200 music stores in one bit building. A difference in Korean and American philosophy. I certainly wouldn’t want my store to be in the same building with 199 others, but I guess they figured more people would be attracted in the end and everyone would make out. Anyway I now had my low C#, B and B flat notes. Thank God. A few missing notes can change everything. Instead of just playing, you are playing and thinking, “I can play that but not that etc. Before long, you are out of your rhythm.  

My plan was to play from 11-1 am but the time I actually got out there, it was 12, so now I was shooting for 12-2.am Since I hadn’t been there for awhile, I had to scope it out. Of course the best place was right on the corner because there I could get cross traffic in both directions, but that was usually pretty loud. So I walked down about 15 meters and found a place that was reasonably quiet although it was a bit close to the fortune teller, but he never complained. So I set up and started in. There were a couple of shills hanging around. These were people whose job it was to stop people in the street and try to get them to go to their clubs. They called them dating clubs. Very strange from our point of view. It works like this

                Women go to these clubs and expect to not pay anything. They sit together and wait around. The waiter then will come to them and say, “Hey there are some nice guys over there that want to buy you a drink.” The women look over and if they like the way they look, or just want a few drink, they accept. Then the men will ask them to dance. Then if they are lucky , they will join them, dance and have a great time, and it can go anywhere from there. So of course the shills want to get women who came out together to go there so they can also attract guys to go there. I hate these shills though. They are like little gangsters and they harass women walking by. They actually will grab them, hold on, push them up against walls and not let them go. The women for their part just go along with it. Some of them even seem to like it. It must be something about the culture.  Its not that the guys are good looking, usually they are not. Also they are rude and selfish. They don’t like me either. After play for about 15 minutes, I decided to move down about 20 meters because no one would stop and listen because the shills were there.

                So I moved down the way and it was better even though there was a bar that was playing loud music outside to attract customers, I was able to drown it out.  It was still the end of finals weeks so I didn’t get a lot of action. Still a few nice couples stopped and I got some very nice smiles and reactions. Its alwys hard to know how to react to someones smile. Should I say hello or just keep playing. Afterall they aren’t necessarily interested in me, maybe just the music. On the other hand maybe they are . Its important to get constant feedback from the outside world, but at the same time, you have to stay focused. So that is the challenge how to do both. And there is looking to see if people are reacting to the music and there is looking to share a feeling when the music evokes a feeling. I think that most people want that feeling and that is my primary job to create feeling and then if I do , I can look to share it with a listener. That is the most satisfying feeling possible.

                About that time I had 5 people really listening. I was playing well. It was interesting to note how each of them listened differently. There was a couple (I found out later it was only their 4th date) and the woman was smiling and moving in the most joyous manner, as if she were on a roller coaster. Her boyfriend was also listening, but to look at him he looked almost angry. Then there was another couple and they were also feeling the music a lot and that took the form of vigorously nodding their heads up and down. They both did the same thing. Then there was the shop owner who had just come down. She was smiling effusively also.

                The clothing store a few doors down. I was worried how she would react. She came out, and immediately I knew not only did she not mind the music but also that she liked it and maybe she even liked me. She was nothing special to look at, but she was smiling so effusively that I liked her. Also it was good to have support from the store owners. I thought, hmmmmm, she could be a possible conquest someday, and when she finally left around 130 am she put 10 dollars in my hat. I protested but luckily she insisted.

                I gave the couple my email address hoping the woman would break up with the guy and start dating me instead. But of course I didn’t let on that this my wish. Soon they all left and I was alone again. It was getting on to 230 am (I had overshot my goal) a few times some students would stop by and listen. Some even put some money in my hat. I figure that a student dollar is more valuable than a regular dollar because they don’t have much. I would watch the students deliberate with great care before coming up to drop a dollar in. It was so precious to them. Finally I decided to pack it in for the night. On the way home I stopped off at the Blue sky bar, Juli’s place but it was closed. Must have been a slow night for her. I got home at 3 am and ate a little something and went to bed. Tomorrow would be a big day.   22


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