A spiritual guru named Byron Katie supposedly achieved enlightenment one day when a cockroach crawled across her foot as she lay in bed in a halfway house. The cockroach was probably unaware of its role in her enlightenment. Even though I primarily ride my bicycle while playing guitar to relieve my own pain from the sensory issues and social rejection I experience from my neurology (I have a form of autism), it gladdens me to see the reactions of others to what I do. Most of the time the reactions are positive. I imagine someone having a bad day and driving home in a bad mood when suddenly they see a bicycling guitarist. The shock of seeing something so bizarre, so out of the ordinary, brings a smile to their face involuntarily and lightens their mood.
I have thought this, or at least hoped this was the case, for years. Just last night two (count 'em, TWO) different people volunteered to tell me this is the case for them personally. I just got a new heavy duty rear rack on Saturday, and I wanted to ride all weekend but the weather threatened rain. I went out Sunday night at sunset when I saw a break in the clouds. A teenage male friend of my neighbor's daughter was leaving when I left, and he told me that more than once he had been having a bad day when he looked up and noticed me riding and playing. He told me it cheered him up and that what I do makes his life better.
I did not ride as far as I had intended to the Hansen Chevrolet parking lot at the corner of SE Oak Avenue and SE Pine Street because it looked like rain could happen soon. Instead I rode to the parking lot of The News-Review newspaper and circled around a couple times then headed home. I heard people talking as I passed by a house where a guy had called me over to play for him a few days ago. I stopped there and talked with him again and played some more tunes including one he requested. He told me I make people's lives better by what I do.
So this was bizarre. I went out for a short ride daring the weather, trying to generate some publicity to get more people to come to my shows, and in the space of a few minutes I talked with two different people several blocks apart who both told me the same thing. This is not an ordinary topic of conversation, and I swear I did not initiate it. Both people told me this out of the blue of their own free will. I guess I needed it.