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 don't pay 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?
And astute commenter and sometimes Line Out contributor Travis Ritter commented:
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 [in] 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.
Well, in addition to the no-headphones-in-the grocery store, I've got two more recent ones:
1: I now always take them out if I'm crossing a busy or even busy-ish street because I'm becoming increasingly paranoid in my old age (56 years old on Friday!).
2: I take them out to say hi to and thank the bus driver. (I already take them out for any other human interaction (duh).)
I asked this back then, but maybe habits have changed. What are your headphone-wearing rules?