Wednesday, April 02, 2008

iTuned In and Tuned Out

I love my iPod. I do. I really do.

Whenever I workout at the gym I have my iPod strapped to my waist with my favorite iTunes blasting in my ears. I consider gym-time my personal time to zone out and forget about everything around me. However, when I see someone I know I remove the earphones to enjoy face-to-face conversation and an intermission from pre-recorded music.When I’m hiking I never use my iPod, preferring the music of Mother Nature over the thump, thump, thump of the bass guitar. Hearing the wind whistling through the trees or birds chirping or the sounds of coyotes crawling through the bushes reminds me that I’m part of something much bigger than the world I tend to cocoon myself in.

It amazes me when I see two people hiking together and both have iPods on. Is this the new definition of quality time together?

Yesterday morning I was traveling Santa Monica Boulevard on my way to work when I pulled alongside a school bus. I glanced over and noticed many of the students were wearing earphones, lost in their own iTunes world. I also noticed that no one seemed to be talking. They looked sad, forlorn, and anti-social. It bothered me. I remember a time – and it wasn’t that long ago - when I’d be riding a school bus and the cacophony of voices was exciting, contagious, a reminder that even though we were teenagers we were still kids at heart.

If laughter is the best medicine (and I believe it is) then these kids were in desperate need of an overdose.

Sometimes I fear people are so immersed in their own small technological worlds that they’re missing out on one the most exciting experiences of life: social intercourse.

We need to interact with each other more.

1 comment:

Owen said...

I know what you mean - I love my iPod and carry it everywhere but never used it on the New York streets over the past week - I much preferred the sound of the city around me.

I also wonder at couples who have their mobile phones glued to their ears when they're together. Maybe they're shy and talking to each other? Who knows...?