One day, a man sat down on a bench in the city next to a young woman. The woman had a set of iPod earphones in. When the man sat down, the woman turned and smiled at him kindly.
The man, being a man who enjoys music, spoke to the woman. "I hope you don't mind me asking," he said, "But what is it that you're listening to?"
"Oh, I'm listening to beautiful music," the woman replied.
The man wasn't satisfied by this answer. "Well, generally that's what people like to listen to. I meant more specifically. Is it by an artist I'm likely to know?"
"You may know the artist, but I doubt you've listened to this music. People rarely do," she answered.
Once again, the man wasn't entirely satisfied with her vague reply. "If you don't mind, may I listen to this song? I love to find out about new artists and music, especially if it's someone that isn't popular."
"Of course you can listen to it," the woman said happily.
"Well then, may I have one of your ear buds so I may hear this beautiful music?" The man asked, somewhat perplexed.
The girl smiled. "You don't need headphones to listen to the music I'm hearing. These aren't even plugged into anything." She held up the end of the cord, and sure enough, it wasn't attached to any sort of iPod or MP3 player.
The man was confused, and he was starting to wonder if this young woman he was sitting next to wasn't a bit insane. "I beg your pardon?"
"Listen," she ordered. "You can close your eyes if you'd like, I find it sometimes helps me focus on the music."
The man did as he was told. He closed his eyes, and he listened.
And he heard. He heard pigeons chirping and people talking on cell phones and taxis honking their horns and church bells ringing in the distance and so many other sounds. He opened his eyes after several minutes and turned towards the woman. "Thank you very much," he said earnestly. "Thank you for sharing your music with me. I'll listen to it every day."
The man smiled at the woman, stood up, and went on his way.