It’s Tuesday, August 13thh. Pavel told me to meet him at Wechslay Square. Its the best and busiest spot in town and I cant believe it will be free, but amazingly it is. Pavel is like that. Doing amazing magical things, calling someone, breaking down somewhere and then calling someone and arriving to the gig on time.
Before I play jazz down the way, in the middle of the street. The response is sparce as usual, but it gets through to some people, and a very few stop to listen. I’m concerned when a drunk bum staggers over and sits 10 meters in front of me where fans might stop. The bum is more like an animal than a human. There is food smeared across his face, and his too big clothes hearkens back to chaplains little tramp. he is tremendously drunk and is doing funny things like tipping over, curling up and sleeping, or hitching up his pants just he way chaplain would. Except this is not chaplain, its a man who has so dulled him mind with drungs and abuse that he has almost lost his humanity. He puts his head and starts to sleep but my music disturbs him and he thinks that is so rude that someone is making noise when he is trying to sleep. Maybe he imagines he is in his own bedroor. I cant help laughing at him. He is so funny. But at the same time people are afraid of him as he growls at the world randomly. Who is going to stop and listen with him sitting there. I try playing in a more irriating way. Maybe i can provoke him into extreme antisocial behavior, that would cause the police, who are nearby to deal with him. But he doesnt do anything just growl and sleep and ocassionaly turn around to my general direction and yell something. so I decide at least I can play for him. I think about playing a lovely lullably for him so he will have a sweet dream. As I play I think about him. yes he is a bum, and funny. but then it occurs to me, that this guy is such a sad case. I think how hard his life must be. Stumbling around, getting moved on all the time. People pointing at him, lauging. Who can give such a being love? Doesnt he also need love, or is Maslow’s hierarchy all over? I soften. How cold that is to call him a bum and laugh at him like he is a clown.
2 young czech women are sitting near me chatting. i interrupt them. “Do you think he is dangerous?” They look surprised that I would talk to them. They discuss and decide that he isnt too dangerous. I tell them he is bothering me and they can understand. They say they are about to leave. “Since you are leaving anyway, would you mind telling the bum that he should move to another place?” They laugh heartily at my suggestion. “No way””Ok I have another idea. You sexy young women walk nearby him in a sexy way. He will get up to follow you and he will be away from me.” “Laughing they say, no they cant do that as he will then follow them. “Dont worry he will fall down after the first minute, for sure. We all agree that would happen, but no they wont do it. I was just kidding anyway. I knew they wouldnt help me.
A Czech woman comes up and stands right in front of me, preening her hair and presenting perhaps what she believes is her best side. she doesnt say anything but seems to be intensly aware of my presence. She starts talking finally and then she starts talking about meeting later. She is quite unattractive and about a size 37 jammed into a much smaller size dress. She seems almost as ridiculous as the bum, but then I remember that I am feeling sympathy for him. I start feeling sympathy for her too. Poor deluded desperate woman. Trying to pick up a street musician, ok a handsome one but still a street musician. Is this the only way she can meet people. I really want her and the bum to go away but what to do? THen I have a good idea. I ask the woman to tell the policeman that the man is bothering people and they will tell him to move on , and the woman will be at least doing something useful. Not only for me but for the city of prague, because they dont need this guy lolling about in the middle of the most famous walkway in prague. She seems surprised at my request, but she does it. I watch her talking to the cop. They are all laughing about something, then looking over at me. Soon the cop, a tough looking weight lifter type, dressed in combat gear or at least ready to intercept some Al Khaida terrorists, tells him to move on. The bum argues for about 5 seconds then starts getting his things together. He knows better than to confront the police. the woman comes back. “Good job”. She goes on to get my information. I give her my fan facebook page. I play another 30 minutes in peace, without bums or bum fans. I have to keep working on my attitude.
I make my way a few minutes down to the center of the square and indeed Pavel and hanka have secured the area. Amazing. We have a great time playing for all the tourists. Theres a good crowd as pavel always puts on a good show. There are still a few street people sitting on the edge lf the large circle of people that surrounds us. Some of the street people are so nice. They seem almost like saints, being happy and positive in spite of difficult circumstances. In music we can all share some good common feelings. I look over at Pavel and Hanka. Also advanced spiritual beings I would say. “I just want to lead a peaceful life and play music for my living, “ Pavel says, but to him that means spreading good feelings, a positive message, good politics and acceptance and of course good music whereever he goes. Like a saint in his way, he is living an exemplary life. If I watch closely, he has many lessons to teach me. thanks for teachers along the way.