Submitting to cultural norms, I have taken recently to listening to an iPod while walking. Well, it's not really an iPod, per se, but more of an iAmLame. It's one of those cheap knockoffs that I think was purchased through an infomercial. RIP Billy Mays. I envied your beard. May it always be brown.
However, I don't think that I am doing it right. I would have thought that this was relatively straight forward: put little buds in my ears (which, sort of like losing your virginity [at least for a girl, I imagine] hurts like hell the first time and only feels good after practice and use. I have the horrifically invasive type of ear buds that basically rape my eardrums, and I swear I have unintentionally widened my ear canal. Growing excited with the possiblity of improving my hearing from the dilated ear canal, I realized that it has been offset by my affinity for listening to music at a supersonic decibel level), walk with a swagger in time to music, and drown out the noise of the world around you.
I was wrong.
I don't know what most people are doing, but they are completely willing and capable of carrying on conversations, reading, detecting oncoming traffic, forming intricate exegeses, and generally commanding complete spatial awareness while wearing their ear buds. I, on the other hand, might as well be blind with them in. When wearing my iLame, I space out more than Stephan Hawking at a Laser Floyd show and have nearly been killed on numerous occasions.
Listening to music at such a volume as I do, it sort of sucks the smarts out of me. I find it tough to focus. My time is spent concentrating on not strutting too much (oh man, strutting to a beat is biological; I can't help it), and consequently I lose all touch with reality. Cars honk their horns, slam on their brakes and hurl venomous insults at me, all the while, I am holding back my struts and thinking about if I should sing "Open Arms" or "Faithfully" at my next karaoke session.
And why is it that now, since I wear my iLame, does the entire fucking population of New York City want to talk to me? Never before have more people stopped me in the street to chat or ask for money. And I feel like an idiot, because I don't hear their calls until somebody physically taps me on the shoulder to get my attention, or as one woman felt comfortable doing, grabbing my gym bag and shaking it (apparently one of my zippers on the bag was open and she didn't want me to get pickpocketed. I pulled the buds out of my ears [it hurt like hell] and after she repeated her good Samartian observation, I informed her that I don't keep my wallet in my gym bag and would be mildly amused if somebody reached into that cavern of cadaverous cosas). However, I have casually chatted with individuals with their buds in, and they were totally capable of interacting. What's the point! What whispers are they listening to? [Note: the number 1 song at the time of my birth was "Careless Whisper" by George Michael. I'm not too proud of that, but thought you should know.]
My only remedy would be to lower the volume, but that, truly, would be admitting defeat. I think it was the sagely Ted Nugent who once said "If it's too loud, you're too old." So I choose not to lower the volume, thankyouverymuch. Embrace the Noise! Cum on Feel it! If I were killed by an 18 wheeler because I was listening to the Guess Who's Greatest Hits, there are worse ways to go. I think I would earn some street cred... if it was 1968. Fuck. Fine. I'll turn down the volume-- but only to 10. Mine went to 11.