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  • Writer's pictureIsaac Estrada

Airport Music (Part 2)

You've been sitting on the edge of your seat for nearly five months now. You've heard the story of Airport Music in which I sang on top of my truck. But now, the wait lasts only until the end of this paragraph, for we have arrived at this story's long-awaited sequel.

After Aidan's brief stop in the Pacific Northwest, he journeyed out to Wyoming by car for a summer job. I joined him - just for the car ride - to scare off all predators. The deal was I would join him on the car ride out, and his parents would pay for my plane ticket back. We sang songs, wrote the beginnings of a song. read, and admired the beauty of the mountains. I fought off a mountain lion, a bear, and serial killer from Seattle all at once with nothing by a multitool I got for Christmas when I was seven while Aidan praised my protective abilities from a safe distance.

To return the favor for my Rambow-esque masculinity, Aidan dropped me off at Jackson Hole Airport in Wyoming. I sprinted through the empty airport and was cheered on by friendly central-American airport staff. I made it in the nick of time, just before the 30 minutes of waiting for the plane to move began.

A few hours later, I was in Salt Lake City waiting for my next flight to begin. I had plenty of time to waste - or to use wisely. The choice was mine, and I knew it. So, much to the chagrin of my nervous system, I planted myself alongside the wall, opened up my guitar case, and started singing songs accompanied by my Taylor GS Mini guitar. At first, I got no responses from the many people passing by. But after I got a little warmed up and comfortable with my shoelace acting as my guitar strap - which I left in Aidan's car - people started graciously dropping some cash into my guitar case. I had my business cards out for people to take if they wished, which some did. A few cell phone cameras were pointed at me as I sang Bob Dylan's Tangled Up in Blue. One man smiled at me and walked by as I was finishing one song. I smiled back, and jumped right into the next song:

"Well she was an American girl..."

As these lyrics resounded inside the airport, the man came back and fervently cast down a wad of cash into my guitar case with an expression of radiant excitement. I laughed and gave him a big "thank you" in between lyrics.

A young boy came up to me, an expression of admiration on his face, and took one of my cards. I smiled at him and thanked him. He kept looking at me. It was a very humbling moment, knowing that I am an adult man who has the power to influence younger people, and that this power, like all power, demands virtue.

Later on, a young lady came up to me, took a card, and said "You're so great!" What else could a guy want?

It was then time to board my plane...or at least, to be ready to board my plane. As I waited, I started picking out a new tune on my guitar. I was recording into my iPhone the new idea I was exploring when a few more people each handed me a wad of cash. It's amazing how generous people are.

I made $54 in 40 minutes. That's a pretty good hourly rate. As far as finances are concerned, all I need to do now is publish my own music and build a consistent audience so to play at full venues.

As far as purpose is concerned, the opportunity to influence the culture is one that continuously calls me forward and urges me to make beautiful art and share it joyfully, because it makes a very tangible difference in the people around me.

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