At one point my ears pricked up and I could hear some good acoustic guitar. And so we followed the sound until we found him in a corner.
He was in his own little world and singing a song that I can't quite remember. He had his face painted and was just playing away by himself.
It is the festival of Fasnacht here at the moment. I don't quite understand the full meaning but it literally means 'fasting eve.' It falls before the beginning of Lent, I think, and they traditionally 'let their hair down before they have to put it up (for Lent), so to speak.
Anyway, there have been some pretty weird and wonderful costumes and processions and crazy music happening around Zurich. *Side note: today I was stuck following a yak (I think it was a yak) who was wearing a red coat and a pretty dress and he was walking with his wife (or lady friend) who was dressed normally. Awkward. And then awkward later on when the same yak wanted to use the train ticket machine at the same time as me and I was trying to translate German and I was slow and trying to work out money and just awkward.
I went into all that because I assumed the guitar man had his face painted for Fasnacht.
When I first found him I had tears come to my eyes because his music was so beautiful. I don't think he was particularly musically talented, but somehow it was so beautiful.
The acoustics of the narrow but high passageway were amazing.
I mentioned to my friend (the out-going au pair) that I found it hard to take him seriously - with his face paint and wig. It was beautiful but bizarre.
And then he began to sing Ruby Tuesday.
We listened in silence and then she said that maybe his disguise was the reason he could play. Maybe it gave him the courage to put himself out there like he was.
Or maybe he was Keith Richards, the Rolling Stone who wrote the song.
And I've had Ruby Tuesday in my head most of the day. And it's been good to be reminded not to take people at face value, to judge by appearance.
This is rather relevant to me at the moment - for a time and place when everybody I meet is new to me. It's overwhelming. But I still need and want to make an effort with each one. Perhaps to even use my disguise of anonymity to give me the courage to put myself out there. And to treat people like Jesus did, as Donald Miller mentions in his book Blue Like Jazz (favourite quote of last year :))
"Jesus - didn't just love me out of principle...
I think I realized that if I walked up to His campfire, He would ask me to sit down, and He would ask me my story...He would look me directly in the eye, and He would speak to me;
He would tell me the truth,
and I would sense in his voice
and in the lines on his face
So thanks Mr. Anon Guitar Man, or Keith Richards - whoever you were. And not just for some really great music.
----And I've almost eaten an entire block of Lindt chocolate whilst writing this. Living with Swiss benefits eh? -----