Why the headphones?

I observe too many things I think.  Constantly looking around while I’m walking through the halls, down the street, riding my bike, driving, watching TV.  This way I pick out things that I may not have noticed, or find peculiar.  It also fills me full of questions.  Why the headphones?  Remember when the walkman was brand new?  Okay, if you remember what a walkman was, you reember when it was new.  I had the cheap version, it took four AA batteries, had one working gear (you could play or fast forward) and weighed approximately 25 pounds (slight exageration).  I was happy to listen to that on the bus heading to away basketball games, driving to grandma’s house, etc. when I was not in control of the radio or stereo.  AT some point, I started not liking headphones.  I think it was when I started playing in bands and my ears had a hard enough time putting up with that noise.  I never got an ipod.  That may seem strange since I do embrace technology, but I look at it like a tattoo or piercing.  If everyone has them, isn’t it sort of cool not to have one?  And you dudes who got your ear pierced and just don’t wear an earring any more don’t count.  That hole is still there like it or not.

Now, ipods are everywhere, and I don’t just mean ipods.  Really anything that can be connected to headphones.  I see headphones in the hallways, in the cafeteria, IN THE BATHROOM (which may be justified considering some of the sounds that you hear in public facilities…), on joggers, hikers, cyclists (and if I may, you are not the brightest bulbs especially when I see you with headphones and NO HELMET), and I keep waiting to see the weather guy on the TV take one ear bud out just in time for the camera to cut to them for the forecast before slipping it back in just as they are finished. 

I like music, my CD collection is enormous, I have mp3s on both PCs, and can even play a few instruments.  You know what else?  I like to hear other sounds.  I like hearing cars drive by, and birds chirping, and sticks snapping under my feet or tires when I’m on a trail.  It’s good to hear the wind, rain, conversations, thunder, laughter, even someone’s ring tone.  You may have the perfect mix on your ipod, but is it really necessary to have it going every time you get up from your desk to refill your water bottle?  Have I missed a rare disease that causes people to lose the ability to move without a soundtrack?  Maybe my brother was right, you need to look cool when you walk.  He told me to put a song in my head and stride to the beat.  Others must be taking it one step further.  Just remember, you don’t look all that cool when you’re singing as you close the stall door to do your business.

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