Grey day. Not cold, just damp, a case of Melbourne having weather instead of a climate. Striding along Collins Street to keep an appointment, I sight ahead of me in the gloom a lone figure sawing away at a violin. The sounds, initially thin, fill and broaden as I near the performer, a slender young woman. Closer now, and the sound is rich and spacious under the leaden canopy of wet cloud.
The violinist stands alone in her parallelogram of space as Melbourne’s skulkers scuttle to shelter.
I chuck a coin into her empty violin case, thanking her for beautifying this unbeautiful day.
Further down Collins Street, I stand in the drizzle awaiting my appointed meetee. A thin man approaches, veers towards me and slows: “Wanna buy a diamond ring?”
Sixty-eight year old ears don’t pick up such fine print.
Did he ask for money? He looks like he could go a feed.
My hand locates the ten dollar note in my pocket.
Uncertain, I ask: “What did you say?”
“Do you want to buy a diamond ring?”
The thin man flashes a thin silvery band before clenching his hand around the ring.
“What? No thanks. I don’t need a ring. Thank you.”
The man peers at me
He is shorter than I am. He sights my kippah.
“Are you a Jew?”
Credit: Gutenberg Images.
“That’s good”, he says. Reassuring me. “You wouldn’t have a spare dollar…?”
My ready hand finds the ready note and produces it. The man palms the note, opens and considers it, then says, “You wouldn’t have another ten, would you?”
“Piss off!” Smiling.
The man extends a skinny arm. His paw pats my shoulder –
“Thanks sir” – then slopes away up Collins Street.