An ordinary person could probably tell me that Barbie with a 90210 zip code lives in Beverly Hills, California. But could they tell me that Barbara with a 54201 zip code lives in Algoma,Wisconsin? Or that Ken with a 30439 zip code lives in Metter, Georgia? The Zip Code Man could, but he’s no ordinary person.
This summer I was in Boulder, Colorado and if you’ve ever visited Boulder you might agree that it should have a fragrance named after it. Now stick with me here. Boulder, the fragrance, smells like a mix of mountain flowers, weed, and Burt’s Bees. When you get a whiff of Boulder you will definitely take notice and it will always make you smile. It’s a beautiful place; I hope to retire there once I become a 100% vegetarian, ride my bike everywhere, and recycle.
Anyways, on this particular night I was walking down a popular street mall, having dinner and window shopping. I almost made it to the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory when a man, standing on his tiptoes walked in front of us, shouting:
“hey everyone, I’m the Zip Code Man and the show’s about to start”!
I was instantly intrigued as I felt like I was going to miss out on something really cool if I didn’t stay and watch—and I surely would have! So I quickly found a bench and became a part of an ever-expanding crowd as this man began to guess where everyone in the crowd was from, based solely on their zip code. I sat there literally amazed…amazed–like I was in 6th grade watching the end of ‘The Sixth Sense’–amazed.
The Zip Code Man is a number guru or a geography savant. Google him, I’m sure others have written about his performances because it is one that I hope to never forget. Those five magic numbers tell him everything he needs to know. Not only could he name the city, he could tell you good restaurants in the neighborhood, what small town heroes existed, or how the city was named. His knowledge is not limited to the U.S. either. He could identify people from South Africa, Germany, and he even told a man from Israel a place to get good falafel. Amazing. Inspiring. I wish I could do that. So then The Wonder struck me.
What would I do if I earned the attention of a crowd? Would I fade back into the crowd, or would I embrace it? In all honesty my talents are definitely in a different league than the Zip Code Man. Stacking my fingers on top of each other, doing heel clicks, or writing with my left hand probably won’t draw much of a crowd. I don’t have a talent like that to fall back on. Somehow my childhood has failed me. So I’m stuck in this rut on the road of my daydreamed ambition to moonlight as a street performer.
How do street performers get started? Were they attention seekers as kids, you know the ones who were always doing ridiculous things to get the teachers to notice them? Or were they secret genius’ whose talent was never discovered and they suffered in silence until they finally just let it all out? Or were they artists who gave up on traditional notions of employment and took to the streets for freedom to work on their art?
For the sake of remaining mysterious, I won’t tell you my back story, but consider this blog my street performance. I hope you gather, I hope you stay, and I hope it brings you cheer. So without further ado…
Hey everyone, I’m Emily and the show’s about to start!