Friday, November 28, 2008

Bad choices with good results

This past Wednesday I did something unusual and probably ill advised: I sent my home address in an email to a complete stranger. The email specified when I would be home, and invited the recipient to send my address out to other people.

Don’t worry; the recipient of the email was a coordinator for a nation caroling tour. Julian Koster of The Music Tapes and Neutral Milk Hotel and a friend were touring the country, spending a day in each selected city, caroling at people’s homes. The opportunity came to me entirely by accident. Someone sent out the information to a listserv I’m on, and it happened to grab m attention. So I sent the email and waited. And waited and waited.

By Tuesday I figured they weren’t coming. But Wednesday on my way into work Mr. William Call encouraged me to check my email. He had also sent a carol request and had gotten a response that very morning.

Fast forward to Wednesday evening when I heard a knock on my door.

“Are you expecting carolers?”

What followed was more than I could have expected. He proceeded to play two songs on the saw, two on the banjo and one on a little plug-in organ for three of my friends and me.

“Caroling traditionally ends with a story.”

And this was no exception.

What was exceptional was how singular this performance felt. More than once a friend commented, “this will probably never happen again.” More than that, there was an undeniable feeling of community, though none of us had ever met this person before. We couldn’t take photos or even really applaud. It just didn’t feel right to separate ourselves from the “performer.”

While I probably wont make it a habit to send my address out to strangers, I can’t say I regret what it brought about this week.

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