101 Days, 101 Strangers, 101 Stories: Day 29

This evening I attended a lovely music and meditation event at Granville Island hosted by a world music store called Gandharva Loka.

There, I was sitting beside a guy named Allan. I asked him if he played any instruments and he named about five, including the banjo, guitar, and piano. I later learned that he’s about to start working at the store. He is my stranger of the day.

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“I was drafted into playing piano when I was in Kindergarten or even before then”, he said.

“Drafted?!” I asked.

“Well, no one actually wants to play piano when they start”, he explained. “It wasn’t until about the eleventh grade that my perspective shifted.” He’s intrigued by the vibrations of music and how they move through us while bringing people together.

He studied at Simon Fraser University and he’s “fought the fight of being a musician.” He’s observed that much of the world defines success around how much money you make instead of how passionate you are about what you do. He’s excited about working at the music store because it’s an atmosphere that’s incredibly supportive of the pursuit of music. It’s a great place to play, practice, and learn. It’s truly a community that nurtures musical growth, he explained.

Allan loves climbing trees.

He recently read a quote that goes something like this: “If you’re going to travel 100 miles, consider 90 miles to be halfway.” The final steps are always the hardest, he said.

Allan learned a lot of life advice from the dog he had. “He’s the most academic dog I know”, he said with a smile. Here are three pieces of doggy wisdom as interpreted by Allan himself:

1. Your internal feelings needn’t waver or be affected by external events. Allan’s dog could walk around the same path hundreds of time without seeming bored or discontent. He would be in his own little world, captivated and intrigued by whatever was going on inside himself.

2. Sometimes the most intriguing discoveries cannot be found on the path most travelled. His dog would always wander off the trail and, in doing so, he would find the most beautiful, unusual things that were not visible from the usual paths. “He would look under thorn bushes and find amazing things”, Allan explained.

3. “Pee everywhere.”

I laughed and took that last one with a grain of salt. Allan managed to say it with a straight face. He has a great sense of humour.

I’m excited to check out the event next month.

P.S. While I was biking home tonight, I bumped into Hana — my stranger of the day (and stranger no more) from day 15. Once again, she gave me a muffin and it was delicious. It’s been really neat to see the connections this project is creating.

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