It was an ordinary Friday afternoon. A street musician (pengamen) came to the small café where I was reading a novel accompanied with a glass of ice Americano. The café was almost empty. I was the only customer they had at that moment. The street musician was an old man, bringing his old guitar. He greeted me and asked whether I wanted him to play a song. I do not usually like a company when I am having my me time but his politeness made me nodded and I let him play a song for me. He prepared himself and finally played an old song from my parents’ era. The song I usually listened to every time I drove my parents back to the hometown. There was nothing extraordinary from his performance but I enjoyed it while continued reading the novel. Once he finished, I handed him the money and he smiled at me before opening his mouth to ask me something.
“Is that a novel?” He asked.
I nodded. “Yes.”
“Do you like reading?”
I let out a light laugh. “Yes, I think it is obvious.”
He laughed along and smiled once more. “It’s good to know young people still love to read. Most people these days prefer playing with their phone.” He frowned for a while. “But, do not read in the dark, and do not read in sleeping position. It could damage your eyes.” He was wearing glasses and pointed his finger to his glasses. “Wearing glasses is inconvenient. You should keep your eyes healthy, young lady.”
I grinned at his statement. I didn’t wear my glasses at that time but the fact was, my eyes were not that healthy. “I am supposed to wear glasses but I left it at home.”
“Oh, poor you. But it’s okay.” He smiled once more. “Thanks for the money. Stay healthy, okay?”
I nodded and smile. “Thanks, Pak.”
He nodded in reply before turned his back and left the place.
I smiled on my own for a while after he left. It was rare to find someone who would love to spend time only to talk to strangers. This old man though, was different. Some people would have justification by saying that not all people in this world have time to stop and talk to mere strangers. But talking about time, who we are to compare with this old man? He was a street musician, instead of having a conversation with me, he would rather move to another café or restaurant, looking for more customers so he could get more money. But no, he decided to talk to me, even reminded me about my health. Something that you hardly find in this era, where people only concern about themselves.
Friday afternoon. It was supposed to be an ordinary day. It was maybe just another ordinary day for you. Friday afternoon. It might be just an ordinary day for that street musician who loves to talk to people and share a bit about what he knows. But that Friday afternoon was not ordinary for me. For once, I got a soft reminder not to be selfish, not to be ego-centric. Friday afternoon. Maybe, it’s time for me to care more about everything around me.