Say What? Noise Counseling for Your Commute

Remember the days of the Boombox? – NY Daily Photo

There was a time when I felt naked if I left my earphones and/or iPod at home on mistake. I loved having my theme music in the background as I walked the streets of New York.

Lately, thanks to the quiet cars on the train, I haven’t been listening to music that much while commuting (my iPod is collecting dust on my elliptical machine at home)–although I always keep my noise-cancelling earbuds in my bag just in case I want to hook it into my iPhone.

Over the weekend, I took the train to Hoboken to visit a friend and happened to sit down next to a man who was wearing huge DJ-booth earphones and blasting Indian music. Annoyed, I reached into my purse for my earphones, but they weren’t there–they were in my work bag at home. CRAP! I glanced at my soon-to-be-deaf seatmate who was quite content with his music selection and did not look like he was turning down the volume for anyone.

Luckily, I was quickly spared because I had to transfer, but on the way home, I experienced the loudest train ride on NJ Transit I’ve ever had. Maybe it was psychological–knowing that I couldn’t block out the noise made everything echo! The first spot where I sat was the “priority seating” one seater next to the exit door. The doors in-between the cars wouldn’t close so I heard the “clack!” sound of the train going over the tracks; a girl opposite me was yelling on her cell phone about a date gone wrong; and a rowdy family of five (three young boys, two very lackadaisical parental units) were behind me.

I couldn’t take it, so I moved about six rows back to an empty seat next to a female rider. It was still loud, but tolerable. I could hear the son wine to his mother, “Are we at our stop yet?” Yep, my thoughts exactly, kid. Get the hell off the train!

Ironically, the day before I had read an article about NYC Mayor Bloomberg launching a $250,000 campaign to educate youth the dangers of listening to music too loud on earphones so that they turn down the volume in public places like the subway. Good luck to him! The subway brims with loud kids, panhandlers, pushy straphangers, and musicians, which cause people to drown out everything around them with music–even if it means they will be trading earbuds for hearing aids a few years too early. Hmmm…I foresee a luxury company having a new opportunity here for fashionable earpieces…get on that Marc Jacobs!

4 responses to “Say What? Noise Counseling for Your Commute

  1. Wow so much freedom to do what one wants on the trains over there. Its much stricter here with total emphasis being on the comfort and consideration of fellow travellers. Basically all one can do here is sit for the duration of the transit ride!! I mean its a good thing! Oh you are permitted to read and listen to music (with earphones only) and yep you can converse with your fellow travellers. Haha, I made it sound like we were in chains!
    Your weekend is still arriving, mine is already here, so have a good one Nubia!

  2. It's amazing what you can get away with on the subways and IN the subway station, but try to jump a turnstile and not pay to enter and the police will get you! That's what makes NYC's public system so great I guess, but it can become tiresome after a while =)

    Cheers to the weekend!

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