About ten years ago I was in Coram’s Fields in the heart of London. It’s a seven-acre park with playgrounds suitable for every child between toddler and sixteen years. You are not allowed to enter without being accompanied by a child. They treat play very seriously.
My children at that time were of primary school age. While they played, I went over to the kiosk to buy some light refreshments. While trying to choose what to purchased, I hummed. I hummed a song I had sung all morning. I hummed quietly and to myself. It wasn’t a hum that flowed. It was patchy. Some of the higher notes I skirted round; I didn’t want to cross the border between entertaining myself and blighting others. I was in my world.
Until the lady in the kiosk decided to join in with my humming.
This wasn’t one of those musical contagion scenarios where we humans are just the mere carriers of a popular and excruciatingly annoying song that is fiercely seeking to penetrate and infect another host.
No, this lady had identified my ‘off the beaten track’ tune. I looked up, our eyes locked with delight. Her humming was like putting a couple more pieces together in a jigsaw puzzle; it just felt good.
In most event settings, however niche or not your chosen event is – concert, theatre, recital it is likely that your mindset is synced a little with your fellow audience. So it’s no surprise to hear someone singing that tune or reciting that poem that you adore. That show could be the flavour of the week, month or year. That show could be the talk everywhere, even in the most surprising places.
And of course, the buzz you share in the mutual admiration; the satisfaction and the connection felt with fellow patrons can go quite deep. You can wax lyrical all you want about how wonderful the experience, but there’s something else going on I feel: deep down your soul is being massaged, your DNA is being commemorated. We don’t have a clear picture of what our purpose in life is, but Soul and DNA have the wheel.
So when this lady and I connected – in such an out of context situation and without any reference points such as the ones mentioned – it really did feel as if a symphony of divine pleasure.
Suddenly we were both scat singing the melody in one of the most random moments in my life, making one of the shortest but most rewarding connections with an entire stranger I have ever made.
And the tune? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qMV3c56vnw
Such a long time ago now and I have never forgotten it.
Whenever I hear that song now I smile. From the inside out.