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The kindness of strangers

Austin Diaz
Austin Diaz
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I’m not a jazz fanatic, but having a free ticket to the Genuine Jazz Festival this past weekend in Breckenridge, I decided to check it out. I enjoy live music in general. But I became spoiled after spending a semester in Nashville, Tenn., where about every major act comes through at one point.My expectations weren’t too terribly high for the Summit County music scene, but it was something to do.I’d just spent eight hours on my feet at work, I was hungry, tired and felt like spending money.

I went alone because, well, I’m a loser and didn’t know anyone who’d want to attend a jazz show with me. There’s a certain virtue in going out alone because it forces you to meet people. Unless of course you’re that guy who likes to relegate yourself to the corner and stare longingly into your beer. I struck up a conversation with an older couple who assumed I was 16 until the manager came over and checked my I.D. – practically announcing to the rest of the bar I am 21. During the course of my conversation with the older couple, I ordered an appetizer and an Irish coffee, quickly followed that with a dessert and another coffee, and then a coke. After racking up a substantial tab (OK $20, but that’s a lot for me) I decided to close out before I spent more money I didn’t have. But to my surprise, the waitress informed me the couple had picked up my tab and then bought me another drink.

A round of cheers ensued and a little more conversation before I decided to wander a little bit. The owner of Sherpa and Yeti’s invited me to the Duo show on Friday night after reading my column last week. He said I should build my nights out around music, and since I was already doing so, I figured I would drop by there. I’d been invited after all. I think I saw one girl, maybe two, but the music was good. I never knew an organ could sound like a Jimi Hendrix solo.

Throughout the rest of the weekend I checked out the various Jazz acts and a couple other bar bands. Overall I was quite impressed with the local music scene. However, the kindness of people I didn’t know made a greater impact. A bar owner who probably had every right to be angry with me after my last column instead invited me out, and a couple I’d just met paid for my meal. With all the turmoil in Iraq, the apparent deceptions of our government and people actually buying Bill Clinton’s memoir, I’d begun to lose hope for humanity.But after this weekend, I think perhaps we’ll be OK.


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