The Other End of Sunset

Monday, October 17, 2005

Why does everyone wear headphones, but not phone headsets?

As usual these days, I have spent a lot of time in airports recently. Almost all have been in the United States, which is a change, and I enjoyed noting some differences.

For example, why do so many people wander around the airport with their headphones on? Is there some new rule that dictates introversion as a critical success factor for travel?

And it's not only teenagers, either. There are people of all shapes, sizes, genders, ages, and (judging by the smell of some folks in Oakland the other day) bathing habits. I got to listen vicariously to one guy's listening apparel (in line for the restroom if you must know) -- yes, indeed, it's ABBA, those hitmakers from the 70s! But dude was SO into it, you've got to love his passion!

Why do people do this? Is it my introversion joke, above? Or is it this weird culture of fear we have created, where we assume that folks around us want to hurt us, or steal from us, or are ...well, generally bad? I wonder, sometimes, what it does to us that we are always afraid -- we are afraid of terrorists, we are afraid of contaminated water, we are afraid to step on the cracks in the sidewalk. Do you think this is healthy? Do you think it's even needed....

And why aren't people consistent? I mean, the guy with his ABBA blasting was wandering around, a few minutes later, with his cell phone.

(Yes, I noticed him. It's a small airport. Really.)

Can you say "cell yell"? Dude was practically screaming -- about a sales call, no less. Too bad I'm not in the hardware business, I'm pretty sure I could take that sale away, my friend. Have you ever noticed that people talk more quietly when they are talking on a headphone, instead of screaming into the handset (with no sidetone)? Dude, you got earbuds for your iPod, why not get a headphone for your cell, and make all of us who must share your air happier?

And while you are at it, take a damn shower, using less cologne.

You were stinking up my taxi...