Tuesday, August 31, 2010


The term headphones came up today. I thought I might write a little bit on the subject.

Headphones have always been an item that keeps what is personal, personal. I always enjoy seeing joggers running with headphones, because most of the time they just like fitness people. I rarely see a runner that "looks like a rapper" or a jogger that "might be into pavement". I wonder, what kind of music they might be listening to. For some reason when I see a bigger guy with a crew cut, I envision him listening to Metallica. When I see a short blonde girl, I think she might be listening to Alannis Morissete. Regardless, there is absolutely no way of telling what they could possibly be listening to. I've never seen a jogger running with a cowboy hat, so that I can distinguish him as a guy who listens to Garth Brooks or Vicente Fernandez.

On the other hand, lately at least, music has become more of a defining characteristic of a person's immediate persona. They emit music through every pore in their body. Their choice of glasses, choice of head wear, choice of footwear, and even choice of friends seems to revolve around music. These people use headphones too, but sometimes you can all too plainly, hear the music at a decibel that clearly is not meant for personal headphone use. Even car stereos are louder now, making them much less of a personal use item, and more of a public commercial for a particular musician or genre.

Matching cars with musical taste is somewhat easy to do too. A beat up Volvo is probably indie or some other sort of mainstream rock. Might even be obscure garage punk. A Beetle is probably a stoner who listens to psychedelia, but the new Beetles might be just a college girl who like top 40 music. I used to drive a beat up 80's Mercedes Diesel. This shoved me right into the slacker 20 something who was still caught somewhere in that "not leaving home yet, but far from home" stage and working on it.

Bicyclists are just cool.

But when the radio in the car is loudly heard by everyone on the street, the guessing game becomes an erratic free-for all! Anything goes! A Mini-Cooper should be playing the Smiths at a loud volume, but if you see one bumping Sean Combs, you may take a second glance. There may be Teen Pop blaring for the speakers of a VW-Bus, and then you may have to believe that someone is driving their stoned out Soccer Mom's Van. Who knows! There is always the Gangster Rap emanating from the beat up Nissan Sentra, but that's just someone who is living the hood life while being a "slacker 20 something who was still caught somewhere in that 'not leaving home yet, but far from home' stage and working on it" guy.

Simply put, keep your music to yourself. Unless you have a party, or throw an event, or have some people just groveling at your feet waiting for your musical opinion because you are a self proclaimed aficionado on an entire genre or you work for a trendy music magazine. Wait, you might be playing in a band or singing, then you should share that too.. but for goodness sake, turn the speakers err headphones down!

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