Line Out Music & the City at Night

Monday, February 21, 2011

I Am Going to Get Myself Killed With These Goddamn Ear Buds*

Posted by on Mon, Feb 21, 2011 at 9:41 AM

Up until this year, I'd never owned an iPod, and it's been years since I lost my portable CD Player (which didn't get as frequent a use because it was cumbersome). I got an iPhone for Christmas, and now I've got those little white speakers in my ears all the dang time. I take care to look both ways twice before I cross the street, and try to be conscious at all times, but still, I think I am going to get myself killed with these goddamn ear buds. Two days ago I was walking around in the grocery store, grumbling to myself about oblivious people who walk too slow and not paying attention to their surroundings. Not thirty seconds after thinking these highly hypocritical thoughts, I turned around sharply and almost ran into someone. It was totally my fault. New rule: no more ear buds in the grocery store. Did you have to set rules for yourself when it comes to personal audio systems (or whatever they're called)? If so, what are they?

*The name "ear buds" is stupid


Comments (14) RSS

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Travis Ritter 1
I haven't listened to a portable device with headphones in over three years, when my last discman broke... Not while walking, and not even on the bus. I see that as my time to enjoy (and sometimes rather not enjoy) whatever sounds are going on, and to be able to engage with the world around me. Too many people in Seattle have those stupid white earbuds crammed into their head, creating more disconnect their world. It bugged me the most when they intently listened to their iPods WHILE SHOPPING IN A RECORD STORE, a place you go to hear music that isn't your own (yet).

Call me old fashioned. It's a real social plague.

I will, however, take my portable tape player with an external speaker, and jam the shit out of Black Sabbath while walking around.
Posted by Travis Ritter on February 21, 2011 at 10:07 AM · Report this
cosby 2
I always use on-ear headphones when walking. Earbuds (or "in-ear") headphones are exceedingly dangerous for pedestrians, bikers, and motorists (dude with the earbuds in because your car stereo system sucks - I see you). My favorite dude is the over-ear headphone guy who is either 1) the trench-coat mafia guy who grew up and hangs out at the board game store or 2) the "I'm going to get discovered" guy who is rapping obnoxiously loud to the music that no one else can here.
Posted by cosby on February 21, 2011 at 10:52 AM · Report this
very bad homo 3
I only use my ipod on vacations or long bus rides. I don't walk with it on, because I like to be aware of the world around me...but I'm weird that way.
Posted by very bad homo on February 21, 2011 at 11:02 AM · Report this
Josh Bis 4
I know that serious audio people hate the iPod earbuds because or some mix of quality and lack of noise isolation, but I like them because I can still hear what's happening outside of my music when I'm listening them.
Posted by Josh Bis on February 21, 2011 at 11:36 AM · Report this
Earbuds in the ears in the city say "please rob me."
Posted by POH on February 21, 2011 at 11:38 AM · Report this
Brian Geoghagan 6
I recommend ditching the white headphones immediately and buying something like the Etymotic HF2s or Kliptsch S4i. You're just asking to get mugged wearing the stock apple buds (and they sound like shit).
Posted by Brian Geoghagan on February 21, 2011 at 11:47 AM · Report this
You people act like Seattle is Detroit. When was the last time you (or someone you knew) got mugged?
Posted by Casual_Observer on February 21, 2011 at 11:59 AM · Report this
care bear 8
Yeah, I don't think you're gonna get mugged in this city. Everybody walks around with the white Apple headphones.

Anywho, when I go into a store I usually turn the music way down or pause it.
Posted by care bear on February 21, 2011 at 12:08 PM · Report this
Amnt 9
Not only do earbuds (or really any headphones) severely limit situational awareness, they also promote hearing damage. You can reduce the hearing damage by using ones that block out enough ambient noise that you don't need to turn your volume up loud to compensate, but then you further reduce situational awareness. It's nice to have music or other things to listen to, but I don't do it much anymore for those reasons, mainly when I'm in a quiet place and don't need to move around much.

Always kind of fun to listen to the Savage Lovecast in "inappropriate" places with headphones, though.
Posted by Amnt on February 21, 2011 at 1:29 PM · Report this
schmacky 10
I split equal time with and without. Some walks, like the ones on sunny days when birdsong nestles in the nooks and crannies, I leave them off. Other times, when I'm walking along a busy road or riding the bus or drowning out screeching children and/or bad background music in restaurants, I put 'em on. Regardless, I always am prepared to take them off when crossing roads, or dealing with humanity in some interactive way.
Posted by schmacky on February 21, 2011 at 4:33 PM · Report this
bunnypuncher 11
I only use over-the-ear headphones, but I've basically got them on at all times I'm in public. I generally keep the volume low enough that I can hear what's going on around me, unless I'm trying to drown out an annoying person on the bus (they're good headphone though, so I'm not bothering anyone around me with my noise).
Posted by bunnypuncher on February 21, 2011 at 4:52 PM · Report this
julie russell 12
@ Casual observer..last May.
I tend to only use my ipod at the gym ...when I am mtn biking it SO SUCKS to creep up on another rider w/ buds in. They can't hear "on your left" and always cuss me out for scaring them.
Posted by julie russell http:// on February 21, 2011 at 5:33 PM · Report this
@7: January 2009 for me.
Posted by POH on February 21, 2011 at 9:04 PM · Report this
More, I Say! 14
@7 not since at least 3 years...
Posted by More, I Say! on February 22, 2011 at 12:07 PM · Report this

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