Nov 16, 2010

florence: street performers

matt and i happened upon some stellar street performers in florence, which were some of our favorite moments on the trip.
like watching this little boy imitate the instruments of the trio:

monkey see.

monkey do.

we also stumbled across ken mercer - a ringer for Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor, John Denver, The Beatles and U2. Imagine 150 foreigners sitting on an ancient amphitheater in Piazza Signoria (outside the Uffizi Gallery) belting the chorus to "The Boxer."
Lai lai lai....
it was magical.

and then heart breaking.
a few homeless men stopped to enjoy. they set their heavy bags on the ground and made themselves comfortable. their stench caused the crowd to scatter. (it was so bad) then, after tapping their feet and dancing along, one man took what change he had and gave it to the musician. who then went on to play perhaps the most depressing set a homeless man could hear:

Homeward Bound- Simon & Garfunkel
"Homeward Bound, I wish I was homeward. Home where my thought's escaping. Home, where my music's playing. Home where my love lies waiting silently for me."

Let it Be - The Beatles
"And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me. Speaking words of wisdom, let it be."

Country Road - John Denver
"Take me home, country roads, to the place I belong"

You Got A Friend - James Taylor
"When your down and troubled and you need a helping hand. And nothing, whoa nothing is going right. Close your eyes and think of me, and soon I will be there to brighten up even your darkest nights."

and that homeless man (who was more of a real young homeless man) took off his filthy hat, pushed back his filthy hair, put his face in his filthy hands and started to cry.

and then i wanted to cry.

cause this homeless man didn't have a mother mary. or a friend to call. or a home to be bound toward.
and i wanted ken mercer to make him feel better and sing tim mcgraw's
I've Got Friends That Do.

"This is for the nobody
The one in the crowd who's got a
Lost look on his face
This is for the down-trodden
The one that the worlds forgotten
Waitin' on a better day
Well I'm in no position to judge 'em
Heaven knows they're just like me
And I'm not alone
In knowing what it's like
To wonder where you're going in this crazy life
And I'm not alone, knowing how it feels
To pray to God and sometimes wonder if he's real
'Cause I got friends that do
Yeah I got friends that do."

but he didn't sing it.
poor homeless man. I wanted to ask him where his mother was and if I could call her and tell her that he's ok but a little sad, but I didn't. I wanted to give him 5 euros and thank him for being so generous with his, but I didn't. Cause I was embarrassed. And now I'm mad at myself that I didn't do SOMETHING to make that sad homeless man a little less sad.


rubi said...

aw :( i'm such a baby that this post made my eyes water. poor homeless man. that is SO sad so so sad.

auntie libby said...

it only takes a few strong moments of regret like this to give courage to act in the future. i have my own moment - 1989 and the fall of the berlin wall. a young boy, about 11 years old, had a cardboard box of pieces of the wall. his hands were cut and bloody from using chisel and hammer to break pieces of cement off the wall. i had already chipped my own pieces and was content. the young boy was trying to sell his pieces and probably needed the money. i could have bought the entire box for the equivalent of about $10.00, but i was in a hurry to get back to my business meetings and thought i had enough. $10.00!!!!! not given and those hands still haunt me.
i don't believe i have missed any other similar opportunities since and believe you will not miss them either.
thank you for sharing!