Thursday, November 4, 2010

Rant Against Earphones

This post may cost me a few friends, which, when you have as few as I do, is a serious issue, but it's something I believe in strongly. I hate it when people walk around listening to earphones. Bear with me.

Don't confuse my dislike of earphones with a dislike of music. I like music more than I like candy, even though it's more difficult to lure children into vans with music. I listen to and play music regularly. Music is not the issue. The issue is when people walk around using earphones, thus making me appear even more awkward than usual.
If you're asking "Brendan, how is that possible?" I'd probably reply "How is it it possible that I can appear more awkward than usual, or how do earphones make me appear more awkward than usual?" If you're asking the first question, just know that it's possible. But if you're asking the second question, then get ready for my rant (please imagine that I have accosted a stranger in earphones and proceed to scream the following at him, because this is how it goes in my head...).

So how far are you walking that you need to have music lest you get bored? Is this a casual-walking marathon that has just been poorly publicized? And do the rules specifically stipulate that you are not allowed to talk to fellow competitors or take any interest in your surroundings? Also, how many songs can you even listen to on what I imagine is your six minute walk? Are you just going to pause whatever song you're listening to midway when you arrive at your destination, or are you going to try to find a song that is exactly as long as your hike will take? Maybe you should just listen to something like Hey Jude by the Beatles and just stop when they're all singing "na na na na."

I could go on and on, but I suppose I should explain the roots of this antipathy against earphones. You see, a good portion of my social life relies on chance encounters* with friends. The idea is that either I see my friend, or my friend sees me, one of us somehow attracts the other's attention, and then we hang out. This works great when both of us are paying attention to our surroundings, as opposed to something like, say, Blink-182**.
*borderline ambushes
**In fairness, if you're listening to Blink-182, I probably don't want to talk to you anyway.

Trouble begins once earphones get involved. It normally goes down something like this: I see a friend. I shout the friend's name. My friend keeps walking, because my friend is listening to loud music only he or she can hear. I call my friend's name again. This continues until I realize that the person is listening to music, and I just didn't know about it. Now that I've shouted really loudly a couple of times, people start looking at me, wondering where the noise is coming from and why the source is outside of an asylum without at least a straight jacket.

At this point, I have a few options, none of which is too attractive.
a) I can continue to shout louder and louder, hoping each time my friend will hear. But seeing as my friend is walking away by now, this isn't likely.
b) I can chase down my friend, full speed, and tap him on the shoulder. That's great, because people didn't think I was desperate enough already.
c) Explain to anyone who looks at me funny that the Borg has taken over my friend, and that resistance is futile. That must be why he isn't replying to me.
d) Have a nervous breakdown, and hope that someone will comfort me.

Compare this to what the casual observer would think if everything had gone according to plan, and after hailing my friend once, he or she came over to talk to me. See what a difference that would make to me? This is exactly why I can't stand earphones.

There is, however, one time when wearing earphones is acceptable. There have been countless times when my dignity has been saved thanks to them. These often occur on public transportation. The situation is this: I'm busy working up the courage to try to go talk to a pretty girl on the same train. This is difficult, because not only do I need to work up the courage, but I also need to dismiss all of the logical arguments against it (e.g. You will probably make a fool of yourself. What if she's a man? She'll probably bite your head off, etc.). It's at the pivotal moment right before I'm about to try to make conversation when I notice that she is wearing earphones. "Oh well," I tell myself. "Can't go talk to her. She's wearing earphones. Next time."

But seriously. Don't wear earphones for those five minute walks you go on. You're ruining my social life and my reputation as potentially sane.


  1. Blink 182 is my favorite band of all time, don't speak ill of them please. Thank you.

  2. Oh wow, this post made my day (er, night). Haha! Thank you c: