For a college advanced comp course, I once wrote a pretty scathing essay about people who are addicted to their ipods. I believe I created an extended metaphor about ipods as invaders from another planet, slipping their tentacles into people’s ears and slowly sucking out their brains, turning them into pod people. I may have even suggested that ipods are a health hazard, as more than once I nearly gave a roommate a heart attack by “sneaking” into our room before she saw or heard me, thanks to the music blaring in her ears, causing her to shriek upon suddenly seeing me. It was a pretty funny essay and it even got published in my college town’s paper. Ever since, I’ve tried to avoid becoming a pod person. Yes, I have and love a few-generations-old red ipod nano. But it mostly only saw use in my car and on long plane trips, as I dreaded becoming one of those people addicted to my own personal soundtrack, shutting out the world as I walk down the street or sit on the bus. I’d rather use my bus time to chat with people sitting around me, and walking down the street, I tend to get a little tree-hugger, listening to birds and stopping to inhale deeply any time I pass a jasmine vine.
Things changed today.
As I boarded my bus, I could already hear a man pontificating. I have no idea what compels the crazies to sit at the front of the bus and regale the poor drivers with their thoughts on life and politics and child rearing, but there’s always at least one, oblivious to the effect they are having on everyone else’s commute, conducting a running monologue all the way to wherever it is they’re going. This morning, it was a white-haired older man, who seemed to be speaking in fragments about how white men just don’t want to work hard (um, did he know what color HE was?), how dumb it is that people keep coming downtown and robbing college students because they don’t have any money (um, I WORK at the college, and let me tell you, plenty of these kids probably have plenty of money that they keep in the Range Rover mommy and daddy sent them off to college in), and how they should rob the tourists down on the battery instead. Seriously. He said, “Those white women have $12,000 diamond rings on their fingers, cut off a finger, you’ve got yourself a score!” He also went on about how he doesn’t drink or “use the cocaine” because “those are white women things. They love to drink those martinis with their pinkies in the air.” When (and I note that at this point we had made it about, oh, a mile from my house, so he really packed the info in) he launched into some sort of diatribe about sending his pennies to Obama so all the lazy black men could get jobs (at this point I decided he was just a misanthrope who hated everyone– white women, white men, black men, maybe the only ones he likes are black women like the bus driver he seemed to be trying to impress), I decided it was time to find the escape pod.
I fished around in my giant be-prepared-for-anything-that-could-happen-on-the-bus tote and found my trusty little ipod, Weasley. I slipped those little white “tentacles” into my ears, clicked on my “Summer Dance Party” playlist and slid my thumb around the dial, cranking up the volume. The lady sitting next to me, white tentacles also in her ears, nodded at me and smiled. A friend of mine across the aisle looked at me with jealousy, wishing she too could tune out the crazy sermonizer. When I couldn’t hear his insane rantings anymore, it was sort of funny to imagine his mouth moving to the lyrics of M.I.A. and MGMT. I couldn’t help but smile to myself as I tapped my foot to the beat.
Now, in order to avoid true pod-dom, I should probably have removed the “tentacles” as I hopped off the bus for my short walk to the office, but I fear their little feelers had already worked themselves into my mind– one of my favorite songs had come on and I walked to its beat all the way to my building. I sort of hope there isn’t a camera in the elevator because I may or may not have had a little dance party somewhere between the first and fourth floors… Guess it’s time to welcome my shiny red Apple overlord.