The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

17 February 2007

Just back away slowly

Oh, that horrible iPod:

iPods invariably separate humanity and limit human interaction. And this is part of a common trend, for as we hide behind computer screens or cell phones in the guise of text messages, we are constraining ourselves to this wretched path. The course that the damnable iPod leads us on is one of isolation and loneliness. It is far too easy to walk around plugged into one of these devices and be free of any social necessity to greet a friend or wave back. It is far too simple to go about your own life without regard for the people around you and be freed from the burden of social interaction. iPods cause us to isolate ourselves in a music-induced cocoon and this restrains social interaction and personal relationships.

Not that there's anything wrong with that:

Why are people so obsessed with the "interactions" that we aren't having with each other? Frankly, before I had an iPod, I still didn't "interact" with other people on the subway. In fact, the last thing I want to do with anyone on the subway is chat, talk, or hear their opinion on global warming or the war in Iraq. Seriously. People make it sound like before iPods and other portable electronic devices were introduced, everyone loved each other and gathered 'round a campfire on a subway platform singing Kumbaya. People, get real.

Me, I don't own an iPod. I have, somewhere in a drawer, an old Walkman-type device, which seldom gets used. But if you believe I owe you social interaction because you're a carbon-based life form, you're delusional.

Posted at 9:39 AM to Dyssynergy


I think blaming the audio cocooning comes from justifying missed opportunities. When I step on a subway train and end up face-to-face with someone I want to talk to but can't due to one/both of us being iPodded, the instant regret gets assigned to the device. Even though we'd still keep our distance if unengaged.

Posted by: CT at 1:33 PM on 17 February 2007

As a means of discouraging interaction on mass transit, I've found that verbal self-interaction works, especially when punctuate by random non-rhythmic twitches.

Posted by: Brian J. at 8:55 PM on 17 February 2007

Uh, what about all the people we don't want interacting with us under any circumstances who, thank God, are safely ensconsed behind their iPods?

You missing all that warm & fuzzy human contact, fella? Lemme show you around Jersey City.

Posted by: Mister Snitch! at 10:26 PM on 17 February 2007

...they have campfires on the subway platforms?

Posted by: Mister Snitch! at 10:28 PM on 17 February 2007

CT: are those iPod earbuds permanently attached to your head? If you see someone you want to talk to, the normal thing to do is to: 1) make eye contact and a physical gesture, like a wave, to get the person's attention, and 2) remove the earbuds so you can talk to each other.

Of course, if the person is a stranger you've become "interested" in, the possiblity always exists that she/he is not similarly interested in you. The way to find out is to try the eye-contact thing. If she/he frowns or looks startled and then looks away, you know not to bother de-iPodding yourself.

Sheesh. I'm one of the most misanthropic people I know, and even I can figure this out.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at 9:00 AM on 19 February 2007