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Music Man

While I was home in Oregon for Christmas I made a much dreaded trip to Michael’s Arts and Crafts store. As I was walking out with my daughter Meredith, I made the statement that if anyone ever wanted to truly torture me, they should force me to work at Michael’s for a weekend.

It’s not that I’m not crafty. I went through an arts and craft phase. I have the scars from the hot glue gun that melted my fingertips together as I secured pine cones to a wire wreath to sell at a school auction to prove it. I can do crafts – I just choose not to.

No, it would be torture because of how disorganized the place is. Nothing seems to make sense in the way the store is laid out and whoever the buyer is should be fired. The service is terrible and the entire layout of the cash registers is inefficient and just wrong.

Making me work at Michael’s might be my worst nightmare.

That’s what I thought until I arrived back in Shanghai. Meredith came back with us and as we were out exploring we happened upon The Music Man.  A title I’ve given a man who sells CDs on the street corner. The most annoying man with perhaps the worst job in all of Shanghai.

I know, seems harmless enough but what you don’t understand is he “samples” the same 2 songs over and over on a very loud sound system, attached to his motor scooter. It’s a great sound system. You can hear the music from a block away.

For the four months that we’ve lived here, I have passed The Music Man everyday on my way home from work. As I approach I hear one song. A jazzy number done in Spanish. Not sure of the title but it’s a catchy little tune. Makes you want to stop and do a dance. I’m thinking of organizing a flash mob but no need to stand out more than I already do.

I captured it on a video for you to enjoy. Listen to it over and over and you too may find it annoying. Check it out.

So there’s that song and then it seems, every time I get closer to him, he reaches down and switches over to the theme song from the 1979 movie The Rose starring, Bette Midler. Just as I’m choreographing the flash mob in my head to the spanish number, he switches over, bringing the party down with The Rose. I now know every word and often find myself signing along. Take a look and listen.

So now I’m conflicted. What’s worse? Working at Michael’s Arts and Crafts store or standing on the street corner everyday for hours on end, being forced to listen to the same two songs over and over, rarely making a sale.

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