A Void For Song

Today I ate lunch in the little plaza between the two office buildings in the complex where my office is. There are a handful of tables there as well as a number of large planters that make an excellent place to sit. The biggest problem there, and the reason I often end up in the car, is the wind, which can funnel between the building and blow lunch right off the table even when on the sidewalk a hundred yards away there’s barely a breeze.

But today was nice. I was busy as all get out all morning, so I didn’t get out until after 14:00. By that hour, I had the plaza to myself. Or, almost to myself.

After a few minutes I was surprised to singing coming from behind me, where one guy was sitting. No accompaniment, just an acapella tenor solo.

In a business (i.e., “normal”) situation, what are your first thoughts when this starts up behind you?

  • A busker, with his hat or guitar case open in front of him for donations
  • A homeless person (sorry, it’s LA, it’s not that hard to find them, even in Woodland Hills)
  • Someone listening on his headphones and singing along without realizing they’re using their outside voices
  • A person not totally on the same plane of existence as you and I (sorry, it’s LA, it’s not that hard to find them, even in Woodland Hills – and I am NOT implying a one-to-one relationship between being homeless and having a serious mental illness)

Notice that “someone just singing, because they like to and they don’t give a damn about idiotic social mores” doesn’t appear on the list. Although on closer examination, that appears to have been the case.

While wondering about why there’s such a social stigma against singing in public or at work (unless you work in a karaoke bar or make your living as a singer) I realized that almost the only place any of us (in my experience) ever sing is when we sing “Happy Birthday.” If your experiences are anything like mine, that might be the key reason that most of us never sing in public. We usually sound horrible at office birthday parties!

This guy, however, sounded pretty good. Maybe not “The Voice” good, but considerably better than average.

How do I get him to come to my next office birthday party?

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