Friday, June 01, 2007

Subway Thoughts

Dear ipod Users,

I'd like to make an observation. I don't have hard data to back up my claim, but I'm gonna come right out and say it anyway. I'm sure it comes as no surprise to anyone that if you're wearing earphones, your hearing is just a bit compromised. That's not the outrageous part though; I firmly believe that it also compromises your eyesight.

Stick with me here. I think specifically it affects your peripheral vision, not the full range per se. I don't know how to explain it; maybe those cords running beside your head apply mini-blinders to your vision? Maybe our peripheral eyesight is 50% auditory, and no one has done any research on it? Well, maybe someone has researched it, and posted their findings for public viewing, but I really can't be bothered. I know what I believe. So, my assertion: headphones compromise your hearing and your peripheral vision.

See, the thing is, you need both those senses when you're on the subway. Especially during rush hour. Add in all the people who deem it necessary to keep their sunglasses on whilst underground (you can't ALL be hiding from the paparazzi) then you have to realize a) your vision is definitely compromised and b) we don't know where the hell you're looking, or indeed, if you're even awake. Or maybe some of you startle real easy.
I know the unspoken rule among New Yorkers is never to touch a stranger unless you're ready for a beat-down, but if you're standing there in the middle of the car, with a gazillion people all around you, tapped into your mini-sensory deprivation tank, you can't get grumpy if someone taps you politely on the shoulder when he or she would like to get off. Honestly, lately I feel like I've been shoved into tight quarters with 8 million sweaty, surly Helen Kellers. Either chill the fuck out, or take off the damn earplugs and shades. Your choice.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.


Melissa said...

yes. point taken. ipodders need to chill out and maybe recognize that even though the purpose of the earphones is to protect them in the happy bubble of their own personal jukebox....that it doesn't mean that the population fading into the musical background might not try and get past them at some point...

Me myself, as an attempting to stay aware ipod user (and periodic sunglass wearer..."bright light..bright light!") I have noticed that my sense of what is around me fades and I actually have to apply some focus in order to be sure I'm not being "that guy".

I'm kinda wondering about that there study you were talking about....

Jeff Wills said...

Yeah, I blame car culture, and my weakness for it. I can't seem to help--but through the greatest of effort or rarest of circumstances--but to want to create a bubble around myself. But I try not to cast disparaging looks at thsoe trying to get past me.

And I only occasionally kick them in the head.

Moheggie said...

The best is when you're on the train and you hear this music, coming from somewhere. So you start looking around the train, finding who the bastard is that's blaring their tunes so loud that everyone to Brooklyn can here. Then a song you like comes on, and really it makes it ok.

A minute later, another song you like comes on, and you think it's weird. It's only then you realize your ear itches and as you go up to give it a good scratch, your damn ear phone is in the way. That stranger's music? Totally your own ipod, drunky.

Man does that wearing the shades thing inside piss me OFF. Unless you're Stevie Wonder, I'll trip you.

Patrick said...

Yes, I thought this might strike a bit close to home with some of my loyal readers, since I know you all have ipods. I don't imagine though that any of you hold it against people if they try to get past you on the train. I totally get the desire for a personal bubble around one. I have the same desire, just not the funds for an ipod. It's the surly folks I'm talking to, not the reasonable ones. For the record, I haven't experienced this problem, just witnessed it.
Meggie, you crack me up. Remind me to tell you my story sometime of the spider landing on my face when I was sleeping in a cabin in Maine. It has to be in person, it's pretty visual.