When I passed through there as a pedestrian, I always thought the busker (there was always a busker) looked a bit forlorn as literally thousands of people passed by him. (It was always a him.)
So I hadn't attempted a Yonge & Bloor busking stint until today, when it appeared on my schedule.
Yonge & Bloor was mine--all mine--from twelve noon until six o'clock.
When I arrived, a woman was there. The first woman busker I'd chanced to meet on the system so far, she was playing instrumental music on an electric keyboard--and doing it very seriously and intently.
I noticed that she was playing "The Entertainer" over and over, making sure she played it when crowds got off the trains. I have never gotten the knack of this--not "The Entertainer" obviously, but synchronizing my music with crowd movement. I do understand why buskers do it, but it goes against my performance ethic, and it appears I don't think quite that fast. As a result, I always find myself arriving at my song's high point just in time for the train to roar through and obliterate it.
At first, the woman pianist was brusque with me when I let her know I was scheduled for the spot. But then she became more friendly when I suggested she play for another half hour. I went over to the Gateway Newsstand and bought a Toronto Life magazine, an orange juice and a chocolate chip cookie, and read and ate while she played. (She switched away from The Entertainer and played several more familiar melodies with admirable skill.)
Normally I would have hesitated to buy the magazine and the snack, because I'd view it as diminishing my take for the afternoon. But today I was planning to donate my proceeds to the tsunami relief efforts, so there was a clear separation in my mind regarding the funds.
Before I left the house, I typed up a small sign that said "Today I'm singing for UNICEF" which I taped to the inside of my case. I figured, why would anybody want to donate to me at this particular time, when our collective conscience is dominated by not one but many other worthy causes? I figured it was the right thing to do.