The old adage goes “Every head is a world” and looking at the people I commute with on the bus or on the train, whose senses are completely inundated by the flashy lights and sounds of their smart phones, this could not be truer.
Aside from not being able to appreciate the beauty and the refuse that a city like LA has to offer, being disconnected from the outside world also disconnects you from society in a way that leads to feelings of loneliness and detachment. You can’t stop technology, but you can shape the way you use it. Just because we have pocket computers faster than anything our parents had on their desks a decade ago, doesn’t mean we have to let them take over our lives.
To make matters worse, you add the now ubiquitous use of noise cancelling headphones made popular by DJs. I guess every day sounds like people talking to you or car horns warning you that a car is about to disembowel you if you don’t get out of the way are worth cancelling out in exchange for the sweet sounds of whatever cacophony you call music. The mere sight of these aural earmuffs conveys the message that the wearer would prefer not to be disturbed. All of a sudden, we have all adopted the 1950s newscaster look and all that’s missing is the microphone. However, since the users of this horrendous head-shrinking head gear are uninterested in what others have to say, the microphone would just be ridiculous.
Using leather upholstered Noise Isolating Over Ear headphones to listen to your acquaintance or loved one’s pointless drivel or music that fulfills only the bare minimum of what music should be, is like using a Shakespearean quill and inkwell instead of a ballpoint pen to write a grocery list on calfskin parchment when you can simply use a Post-it.
I do derive some form of pleasure from seeing people using headphones to take personal calls. Aside from looking and sounding like they’re completely deranged, talking to themselves and all, their attempt to “converse privately” is trumped by the noxious untempered volume of their voice, disruptive to everyone in the vicinity. I understand that the headphone fad will soon be a thing of the past, digested by society and time as we did with backward pants and mullets. My only concern is not to fall prey to it before or after it is defunct.