Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Are I-Pod buds worth a trip to Harlem?

Another strange occurrence on the New York City subway system happened to me again. First of all, let me say I love my I-Pod. I listen to my I-Pod pretty much at all times when I am in transit. I bought my first one in 2003 and it is probably the best piece of electronic equipment I have ever purchased based on the amount I use it. Now when I am in a closed public space (say for instance the 6 train) I use the utmost in I-Pod etiquette. In other words, I do not want anyone around me to be able to hear what I am listening to.

Take for instance the guy next to me on the 6 train this morning, I could actually hear his I-Pod music over my I-Pod music which is actually quite amazing when you think about it. The main problem was that this makes other straphangers very angry and it was obvious they were all looking in "our" direction. All they could tell was loud music was coming from one of us, so I got the brunt of angry stares as well. To be honest, I think for as much as I want to be polite to my fellow commuters, I just dont feel the music I listen to is angry enough to warrant the high decibels the guy next to me had his set to. That is one constant, if the music is loud then it is an angry metel or rap song. What my fellow commuters did not know that if the culprit was me that they would have been treated to the rousing beat of Matthew Wilder's "Break My Stride".



Having said all that, I tried to make it clear I have other people in mind when I ride the subway or bus. Low volume level, I dont sing with the song (yes some people do this), and I keep the cord that leads from the I-Pod to the ear buds close and as snug with my body as possible. So I had a meeting near Columbus Circle for work and I am headed uptown riding the D train, I exit the D train at the 59th street Columbus Circle station. I was a good 15 feet off of the train when this woman, who looked like a cross between Estelle Costanza and Mrs. Poole from The Hogan Family comes flying down the stairs trying to make the D train. In her mission to make this train, arms flailing, she runs right in to me on her way in the door. I don't think much of it, it happens all the time, but something now was odd. I was looking at all the people around me, and I could hear what they were saying!!! What happened to "I Don't Like Monday's" by The Boomtown Rats???
So immediately I assume I was pickpocketed and actually my first reaction was 'well I was due'. But low and behold my I-Pod was still safe in my coat pocket. I turn around and see Estelle Costanza-Poole standing on the D train and my I-Pod buds were actually hanging around a button on the front of her coat. Her coat button snagged the cord and yanked the buds out of my ears, and out of the jack, when she ran in to me.

So I decide I just cant let this woman wear I-Pod buds as an accessory all day so I burst through the closing doors of the D train and quickly try to get my buds back before I am trapped. I reach for them, then I realize to her it would appear I was randomly reaching for her left breast so I change stratagies and mearly tap her on the shoulder and point. Her reaction at first was like I just pointed out a huge spider was on her, as she swatted my buds three times before they started to fall to the ground. Knowing they are worthless to me if they hit the floor of the subway I snatch them in mid fall, reverse field like I just intercepted a pass and head for the subway doors. But alas, it was to late as it shut locking me inside just as I reached the doors. Again, knowing I have a meeting in 15 minutes my heart sunk deeper as I knew what I would hear next. "Express D train, next stop 125th street". With an impending meeting, I am now stuck on the longest express route (66 blocks) in Manhattan going away from where I need to be, knowing I will have to turn around and take the same route back to where I was. At least I had music to listen to, right? Of course I was 20 minutes late for the meeting. This was not a "lose my job if late" kind of meeting but I still had to offer an ackward explanation. So what was the right call, should I have let my buds disappear forever in Harlem? As I type this I admit I am happy I do not have a trip to the Apple store ahead of me tonight.

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