Matinee performances at the Kennedy Center usually draw a crowd of student groups as well as those in senior care, all showing up in busses, buzzing excitedly to their cohort before and after the performances.
I arrived early to a matinee recently and decided to sit on a bench near one of the entrances to the building. I was looking up pondering the art installation shown in the picture above – basically, men's old shirts hanging from the ceiling – and wondered what could the artist have meant to convey - when an older man with a cane sat down gingerly next to me.
"What is that?" he asked. He was looking up also.
"I think old shirts in flight! I haven't read the plate over there yet."
"I'm 92 years old and just got out of the hospital after several weeks but I didn't want to miss the concert over that. And it's nice to see this artwork as well."
I stopped looking at the installation and turned to him. "You are 92? Well, congratulations on that – and by the way, I would have stayed home after a hospital stay!"
He nodded and smiled. "See that woman over there in the white dress – the one talking to the woman in pants? That's Mary, my neighbor – we go to events like this frequently. We aren't in a relationship – but we are great friends with similar interests." He nodded again, still smiling.
And for the next ten minutes or so we talked pleasantly. Mary eventually came over to see if he was ready to go to their seats and he obliged, standing carefully using his cane. They both said good bye and walked slowly, heading to the check-in area. Instead of veering onto the accessible ramp, they took the stairs, holding onto the railing.
Inspiration has a way of appearing seemingly out of nowhere.