Monday, September 06, 2010

The Yanni Violinist

This post was begun on Friday while waiting to board a flight to Denver.

The Portland Airport has free wireless; the Newark Airport does not. The Portland Airport is a lot of wonderful things that the Newark Airport isn't. On principle, I will not fly out of this airport without first going online. I check my e-mail, update my Facebook status, and do whatever else time permits.

I also have a stash of blog post ideas, things I didn't get to blog about when they actually happened but still deserve to have their story told. The story of the Yanni Violinist at the Farmers' Market is appropriate to be told now, from the airport, because the Yanni Violinist is the Portland Airport. He is performing near our gate. I recognize his hair and his outfit.

MBF just interjected that the Yanni Violinist is pretty good, so I should add that in. He's right; that was something I didn't get to notice during my first encounter with him.

MBF also interjected that his mom would really like this music. So would mine.

Anyway. This story is usually an example of moments when Portland is too much for me, or I am too East Coast (or something) for Portland.

The farmers' market I frequently go to is super hippie-ish. For example, one of the regular vendors seems to specialize in wild-gathered foods (or farmed foods of species/varieties that usually grow wild). He has wild hair and a dazed expression. He's a story for another time. The market also has a performance area where local musicians play. Some days, I like this, especially when it's an unpretentious singer and acoustic guitarist whose songs blend into the background noise, complementing my shopping day.

On this particular market day, I was driven, perhaps in a hurry, with no goal other than buying my produce and being left alone. In the performance area was a violinist accompanied by amplified &mdash I'm not sure if it was actual musicians or recorded music on a stereo. (I keep, for some reason, wanting to type "tape deck" even though it is not the '80's.) Anyway, the violinist was clad in a long white tunic and white, baggy linen pants. He had ample, though neatly-groomed, facial hair, and matching his flowing clothing was long, flowing hair.

"Like your boyfriend!" someone once broke into this story. At that time, MBF did have long, flowing hair and ample facial hair, just like the violinist.

"Yeah," I'd grumble. "Or like Yanni," I'd add dismissively, and resume my story abruptly.

When I got to the market that day, the amplified music was turned up too loud, drowning out even the noise of farmers' marketers. I needed a few things at a nearby store and for some reason thought that maybe by the time I finished shopping at that store, the musician(s) would take a break. But when I came back to the market, it was not to be. Yanni Violinist was still playing, and that's not all. Too moved by the music for the stage-like square of sidewalk to confine him, he had left his post and was wandering around the market as he played. I hurried to the other side of the market, where I could shop in peace and observe as he zeroed in on individual shoppers. These chosen few he would follow closely behind and serenade as they shopped. Yanni Violinist seemed indifferent or oblivious to the harassed expressions and defensive postures that many of the shoppers adopted. As they walked faster, so would Yanni Violinist.

That's right, the violinist at the farmers' market was chasing people.

He was not chasing people at the Portland Airport. Fortunately. But he was there, occasionally wandering, without selecting travelers to play to/pursue, not straying out of sight from the CDs he was selling and the stereo that played backup music to his violin.

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