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I always listen to my iPod on my commute to work, this helps make the tube ride go faster and I genuinely believe it makes my day better because it puts me in a good mood.
Now when I say I listen to my iPod, what I really mean is that I do my best to hide my white headphones under layers of scarves while clutching the actual iPod very closely to my person as I fearfully skulk to the tube station.
There are, of course, a few more problems that I encounter though.
The first, is that I am both obsessive and neurotic, so I can never just listen to an entire playlist from start to finish. Yes! I am that annoying person who changes the song they’re listening to every 30 seconds.
My second issue is that I loathe those people who listen to their music so loud that I can also hear it. I do not want to hear anybody else’s music. All I want to do is get to work as quickly and quietly as possible and without incident, before I change my mind, turn around and go home.
Unfortunately those people (usually men with too much hair gel and big, unnecessary ear muff style headphones) who insist on pumping out their ministry of sound greatest-ear-busting-thump-anthems at a deafening volume are making my day… that little.. bit… harder.
Right, so you see my dilemma. I do want to listen to my music, but it’s hard to change the song every 30 seconds when you’re jammed into a tube carriage and I don’t want anyone to hear my music. So I gave up listening to music on my commute.
After going two weeks with no music, I decided to give it another shot. These last few weeks had been so dull, and I missed walking down Piccadilly, all dressed up for work while listening to my favourite songs, getting me ready for a working day.
So, one foggy morning, I wrapped my headphones under my scarf and down the inside of my coat and into the pocket that sits in line with my hip. I clicked the ‘play’ button and immediately started skipping through songs. My iPod playlist is embarrassing. Deeply embarrassing. There is anything on there from Ying Yang Twins and the Honey Soundtrack to Cody Simpson, Ja Rule and U2. Yes, I am cringing too. It’s not all bad though, I’m just too lazy to attend to the needs of my playlist and weed out the baddies.
Finally I settle on a song that I am happy with and feel confident that, should anyone overhear it I will look cool and worldly and not like an annoying wannabe-raver. I set the volume to a perfectly acceptable tube-friendly level and set off for work.
I make it to the underground station safely, with both my life and iPod still intact, and board the tube. Naturally I do not get a seat and am instead wedged between 15 strangers with someone’s arm pressed against my crotch and someone else’s crotch pressed against my butt. Lovely.
Not only do I not want to listen to this myself, I certainly do NOT want the whole tube to hear it. What’s worse, because it is a downloaded copy and not an itunes original, the sound quality is horrible and inexplicably ear-splittingly loud.
But my arms are pinned. I cannot move. I am flanked by a small Indian woman with 12 shopping bags pressing into my side and a very large older man. People are looking at me, heads are turning “Who IS that and WHAT are they listening to?” is the question going through everyone’s mind.
It is me and I am far too white to get away with listening to Busta Rhymes rap about his indiscretions with Mariah Carey first thing on a Tuesday morning. The shame. I endure what feels like an eternity between Stockwell and Vauxhall before enough people get off and I can scramble for my pocket and quickly click the iPod off.
My lesson learned, I resign myself to reading the Metro… in silence.