This morning, on a crowded Q train, music began to play. I looked over and identified the source as a young man standing a few feet away. At first I thought it was his phone ringing, but when the music did not stop--and, in fact, got louder--it became clear that this was his version of an iPod. I mean, who needs headphones when you can share your bad, static-ridden reggae with the whole car?
This phenomenon--and it is a phenomenon--baffles me to the point of wanting to bang my head against something, hard. At least 5 times a year, I encounter this same thing. A man--and it is always a man--plays loud music from a handheld device, totally oblivious to the death stares being aimed at him by all of his fellow passengers. I don't mean to sound like an asshole--I mean, I love music--but I think what bothers me about this is that it is breaking a social code, a code that says "since we are sharing a small enclosed space and it is the New York City subway already which means inevitably the ride will be unpleasant, you will listen to your music using a set of headphones, which cost only $5 and which are readily available at pretty much any store anywhere." I know it's not that these men can't afford headphones, which means that they just don't think it's wrong. Furthermore, they have no shame. No sense of right and wrong + no shame = sociopath. Which is why no one will tell them to turn off their music.
If you have any input on this, I'd love to know. Why do you think they do this? Do they just not give a fuck? Do they think our mornings will be brightened by their generous gift? Did their mothers somehow mangle their lessons on sharing? If I wish them harm, is that like really bad karma? Do you think they would like my Petula Clark songs?