Jerald used to walk around the streets of New York with earbuds in his ears, listening to his favorite albums and the occasional podcast.

One day, he decided that he had enough of blocking out the sounds of the living city around him and so the earbuds came out.

On the first day he wore no earbuds, he walked for about four blocks with a business man behind him detailing loudly what his plans were for the day — he was using his mobile phone, naturally.

Half an hour later, he was taking the subway to his favorite restaurant when he heard a couple arguing about what kind of cupcakes were the best of the month and how to determine this.

He walked away and found a place to sit only to overhear a couple of girls telling each other their biggest secrets.

Jerald was horrified by everything he was hearing but there was nowhere he could escape without disobeying the stern warnings from the men on the train.

Relieved to get off the train, Jerald headed for a nearby coffee shop where he had to not only listen to the person behind him talking on his phone but the person ahead of him as well — it may as well have been a symphony of mobile phones and their users, making Jerald long for the days when he could go into a restaurant and not see a single soul using their phone in any capacity.

Whenever he had to take or make a phone call he made sure to excuse himself and found a secluded place, even if it meant ducking into an old phone booth to do it.

After hearing a couple of guys talking about herpes and where they would have possibly gotten it — the popular theory being that it came from a very friendly person at a party who believed that sharing was caring — Jerald realized that it was far better to listen to music and podcasts than to have to endure listening to the terrible noises that were coming from the outside world.

The earbuds went back into his ears and Jerald retreated to a wondrous world of music and education, where he would not have to endure the silliness of his fellow New Yorkers.


    1. Thanks, David. Have you noticed a change in the obnoxiousness of people in public, particularly those with mobile phones, in the last ten years?

  1. ……Hmmmm I reckon even plain old Ear Plugs could make ones Urban Survival way more tolerable! When I ride the bus to Seattle, I always bring a pair of ear plugs in case the person behind wants to talk on the tele the whole time… Speaking of…
    I can really relate with the obnoxiousness of mobile phone devices.(We had beepers when I was a youngster growing up in the 90’s. All the cool kids if you had a beeper) Cell phones: Its personally a love/hate relationship for me ( i’m a lover of Mobile texting , they are sure come in handy and convenient in times of need and or distress) Yet I truly believe that cell phones are Destroying the “Art” of Communication. Total Death to real life communication and the English Language as we know it. Not to mention It seems that every single person is so wrapped up in their little cellular phone lives and worlds, that they can’t go two minutes without checking text messages, on the internets and or talking on the phone that they neglect the real world around them. Its like everyone has mobile phone tunnel vision. We as a society are neglecting real face to face communication, neglecting to be courteous and kind to others that may be around in hearing range/site range (in the old days people would seek solitude to us the telephone) I don’t know, this new way of communication sorta scares me. I don’t really want to live in a world where people only communicate through technology. Yet have no other choice but to conform.

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