The didgeridoo guy principle, or, Small details bring a place to life

“What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.” - Gabriel Garcia Marquez didgeridoo guy While in Scotland I met a guy who said he was from Oxford. Cool, I said, I spent three weeks there when I was 17. I thought about the Pitt Rivers (a legendary museum), and the grass in the quad you weren't supposed to walk on, ever, but those topics were both non-starters. And that was that; really boring, shutting that avenue down and forcing the conversation to restart from the beginning. What could I talk about? Later I was thinking about the didgeridoo guy. Every day I'd see him on Cornmarket Street outside the Tesco wearing dirty, loose-fitting clothes, and bare feet which were callused and caked with dirt. On one foot he had slipped on a sort of tambourine; the other foot had a pedal which beat a gong when pressed; between his legs was a drum, and of course he had a didgeridoo in his mouth. Every fifteen minutes or so he would play; just the didgeridoo at first, in long, slow bursts, luring in the crowd. Then he'd start with the gong and the tambourine, building up to the drums in a frenzied crescendo which could be heard for about three blocks in any direction. Any visitor or local would know exactly who the didgeridoo guy is. Here's video of him on the street. Here's his website (which I checked after recalling the previous paragraph from memory - I think the steel drums are new). So now when someone tells me they're from Oxford, going to Oxford or want to know what it's like, I'm gonna talk about the didgeridoo guy. So when you're trying to relate a great trip you had, a place you've been to, or just find some common ground, find specific good memories. They probably won't come to you right away unless you keep a journal or you're diligent about noticing them.

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