Tunnel Tuba Magic

Tunnel Tuba Magic

I was driving down Thompson Lane in Nashville the other day, completely absorbed by thoughts of being too early for my meeting and anxious about driving on unfamiliar roads.  Traffic was barely moving, leaving me free to take in my surroundings and let my mind wander through my mental checklist of everything I need to get done.  As I approached a bridge that supports a railroad overpass I could see that traffic was even worse up ahead.  I let out a deep sigh, lit a cigarette, and muttered a few choice cuss words, which in my opinion neatly summed up my feelings about sitting bumper to bumper during rush hour.  My fellow commuters and I inched along like tourists in line for a ride a Disney, little by little, toward our independent destinations.  I was just about to turn on my radio to break up the monotony, but before I could hit the button, the sound of tuba music filled the little underpass.  I looked around to see which car was jamming out to a little Michel Godard, and that’s when the magic happened.  Standing under the bridge was an older man with long gray hair, rocking a tie dye t-shirt and playing the hell out of a tuba.  He had a gallon jug with the top cut off taped to his instrument, and would stop playing and run over to a car should the offer of a donation present itself. Then he would go back up on the sidewalk and start wailing on the tuba once again.  He kind of jiggled while he played, dancing around as best he could with a 30 +/- pound instrument wrapped around his torso.  I’m not going to pretend that he sounded like a concert tuba player, but he sure as hell played better than I ever could.  He offered a little bit of absurdity and entertainment in an otherwise frustrating and mundane commute, which is awesome all by itself.  On top of that, I started noticing the look on people’s faces in neighboring cars.  Everywhere I looked people were smiling!  Smiling commuters during rush hour?  Hard to believe, right?  And as if that wasn’t enough, I was actually disappointed when the traffic starting moving again.  Now if that ain’t magic I don’t know what is.


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