I have to admit that I’ve had this random act of kindness planned for the entire month but the opportunities slipped through my fingers each time (mostly me forgetting and not noticing). The act was to give a dollar to a T-performer. Easily one of the best parts about riding the public transit system in Boston is all of the awesome performers who play on the T platforms. I was in Davis at about 6:30am going to work and ran into a guy decked out in America gear (read: Amurrrica) playing the national anthem on the flute.
I immediately dug into my wallet and threw a dollar into his flute case. Without missing a beat he said, “Thanks buddy, God bless America”. He then launched into ‘My Country Tis of Thee’ and played that until I got on the train. He was actually an incredible musician and the version of the National Anthem was beautifully done. It’s not often that you expect to hear incredible music at 6:30am on public transit. There’s another guy who used play blues guitar in this same spot on Monday mornings before work. I asked him why he plays blues in the T station so early on Monday mornings and he matter-of-factly responded, “It’s Monday morning and everyone’s going to work, everyone’s got the blues”.
I don’t typically give money to T performers. I’m not sure there’s any reason behind it but I just don’t. I really should start tipping them especially because my public transit is paid for by my work. Also, it’s really great to hear music playing in public spaces, I think live music really livens up the atmosphere and helps to create a positive attitude in everyone.
The City of Boston has an application for T-performers such that if you don’t have a permit, you can be fined for playing music in the T. However, from what I’ve read it looks like a pretty easy process to become a T-performer, all you need is access to the internet to download the form (30 day life experiment?!?!). Here’s the link to the application, looks pretty straight forward: no doing, selling, or carrying drugs, be neatly dressed, and don’t exceed 80db of noise. http://mbta.com/business_center/subway_performers/ sounds like a lot of fun, maybe I’ll look into it as a month-long challenge…