Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Are We So Afraid of Our Own Company?

I hate iPods. They are a scourge upon the earth. There, I said it.

I love music. My CD collection is the invasive species in the biosphere of my studio. I stayed for the entirety of Ryan Adams' 2001 six-hour drunken monstrosity of a 9:30 Club performance. I have a well-documented musician fetish.

But I hate iPods. Why?

Because I think far too many people use them to shut out the world. Why simply commute when you can crank up your favorite tunes at the same time? Never mind that the music is annoying to those around you.

And then we have the people that can't even walk down the street without their iPods. Is ambient noise so terrible? Why not listen to the breeze, the traffic, or the crazy homeless dude ranting about the Bush administration? And as a safety tip, if you're walking home by yourself at night, especially after drinking, don't wear your earbuds. Muggers and other unsavories view that as an engraved invitation delivered by liveried footman. You should always be aware of your surroundings.

Worst of all, we have the people that attempt to have conversations with earbuds still in place. Even if the music is off, or even if you've taken one earbud out of its socket, it's very rude to give the impression that you aren't fully engaged in a conversation. (Oh, ESPECIALLY at work when your colleague is asking you a question. That's my biggest office pet peeve.)

You don't need a soundtrack for every moment of your life. Take out the earbuds every once in a while, and pay a little attention to the world around you. Your little plastic buddy will be there when you get back.


Anonymous said...

I've agreed with you so many times since finding your blog a few months back, but I can't on this one - not completely at least.

I wish I had a soundtrack for every moment of my life. And sometimes, when I'm walking down the street, buds in my ears, that perfect song comes on the fits the moment and mood in such away that it's almost unsettling. And I love it.

But, the drunken iPoding is stupid and I hate hate HATE when people keep the earbuds in during a conversation - so I talk quietly enough that they take them out. It's a fun game.

Hey Pretty said...

As long as they're not hurting themselves or anyone else, I see no problem with it. I for one, get tired of the same thoughts spinning around in my head all day. It's nice to have a little Bob Dylan/Madonna/Franz Ferdinand to break them up.

Nabeel said...

I think it's a DC phenomenon. Seriously, I moved to Houston last week and I hardly see anybody wearing ipods. and people here are more friendly, too

Anonymous said...

Houston also doesn't have the public transit that DC or New York or Boston or Chicago has. Go to any of these cities and it's the same. It's a commuting phenomenon.

Michael J. West said...

Some of us are also getting paid to listen to music and report back on it, and therefore devote as much time as possible to studying said music....

Shannon said...

I doubt that everyone who wanders the city in an iPod bubble is a paid music critic.

I find constant earbud-wearing antisocial and slightly hostile. Fine for when you're at your desk or commuting, but you don't need them every waking minute. Take 'em out once in a while, experience the outside world a little. Or, at least, don't wander into traffic or bump into people like I've seen so many iPod people do. Being aware of your surroundings is basic courtesy.

Hey Pretty said...

You can be aware of your surroundings while listening to your iPod. Just don't blare it. Or take one earbud out. I do this all the time. It signals to people "I love this song, but if you need to approach me for some reason, feel free." Besides, we live in a major city, how often do we really converse with strangers on the sidewalk? The only people who ever approach me on the streets are lost tourists and people begging for change. The presence of an iPod has never discouraged either from accosting me.