Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Playing xylophone with water glasses…

I wish i had some pictures to share, but I do have many stories to tell, this is one of them.  I was terribly saddened to just now find out about his passing.  Rest in peace John.

John is one of the most special people I have met in my entire life.  To put it in perspective, I don’t know how many people (who never met or knew of John) i’ve told the following story. In fact, i can think of a handle for John Pil stories which i’ve shared with others who never knew him regarding some wonderful memories when we were close friends in college.  We didn’t see each other after that except a few years back, we did a mini-reunion at late for the Train with Tony Quan.  At that time, I saw that John was still the same wonderful guy that I knew over ten years before: he made me laugh so much with his great sense of humor.

I digress. Here is one fond memory:

A bunch of us went out to Korean BBQ on Castro Street in Mountain View.  I don’t remember if it was for somebody’s birthday, but we had a fairly large group of maybe 10 people.  We had, as usual, a great time.  John was always one with the most incredible wit, yet he was also one of the most compassionate people you’d ever meet.

Anyway, as the meal was winding down, John started tapping his chopstick on a few water glasses to see what note he could get from them (I’m sorry if this isn’t clear, but i’m not a musician).  he would adjust the amount of liquid (either water or left over tea) by pouring different amounts in and/or out of the glass in order to get the right note he wanted.  After a while, it became sort of annoying and in fact some people from other tables started looking over at our table.


  i remember whispering to John something like “hey, i am not sure people are appreciating your little experiment here.”  He replied, “just a minute, just a minute.”  i probably frowned and just ignored him and not make eye contact with the adjacent tables who were every now and then looking at our direction annoyed.  anyway, this went on for a few minutes.  I was about to (as a good friend and courteous human being) grab a few of the glasses away from him to make him stop, when suddenly he started playing music with a series of several glasses.  it was as if he had made a xylophone from the glasses (for my lack of musical knowledge and vocabulary).  i don’t remember the song he played, but it was beautiful and after he was done, everyone at our table and the surrounding tables applauded.

that was one of many moments where i learned of John’s musical genius (among his many other talents which are sorely missed by the world).  I’m so sorry that such a gift of music, his wit, and human compassion are no longer with us.  I hadn’t spoken with him in probably four years, but still I miss him.

Posted by derek on 12/06 at 08:01 PM