Monday, June 9, 2008

Music is the New Background Noise

- Lauren Silverman

On the train, in the park, at the gym, in English class – these are all places I’ve become accustomed to seeing people listening to music. But when I saw several people climbing up Half Dome, an 8,842 feet high mountain on which over 60 people have died, that’s when I knew music was the new background noise.

Today, men, women and children screw their ear buds in tight, nod their heads rhythmically to a muffled beat, and stare blankly ahead during just about every activity . Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against music, and drowning out street noise and chit chat with my favorite song or Youth Radio podcast is something I am definitely guilty of; however, I have my limits, and you should too. You won’t find me on a hike blasting Maroon Five’s newest hit, or taking in a breathtaking view of Yosemite Valley while drumming my fingers to 50 cent’s latest remix.

I know daily routines can get boring, but I feel like today people have absolutely no tolerance for silence. I mean, I get frustrated if I forget my I-pod on my way to work, and throw a mini tantrum if I have to talk to a friend’s house with no distraction. Heaven forbid I sit quietly on the subway, or stop and say hello to the person sitting next to me on the bus. I-pods may take the edge off the repetitiveness of every day activities, but they also take away people’s ability to be in the moment – even just for one moment.

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