I’ve written a couple of times about unconscious behaviour – actions done without thinking, especially without thinking about how our actions will affect other people – and I’d like to offer a tip for those who use iPods or other portable music systems.
If you’re like me and you take public transit, you’ll know how irritating it can be when someone nearby is listening to music at a high volume through headphones that leak sound (ear buds, especially). An example to illustrate: one time not long ago, I was riding a bus. A guy sat down beside me wearing old-style over-the-head headphones with speakers that sat outside his ears, BLARING what sounded like 80s metal. I asked him to please turn down the volume. Instead of turning it down, he got up, moved to a seat a couple of rows behind me and turned it up, an action equivalent to giving me the finger, I figured. (As you may guess, I did not take too kindly to that.)
Honestly, I like loud music as much as the next person (really, it’s true) but I’m very aware of how the sound escaping from my ear buds can irritate people around me. Because I’m aware of this, I turn down the volume when I’m in closed public spaces so that I don’t annoy anyone who might be trying to concentrate on a book or a newspaper, or someone just chilling in the quiet.
If this means anything to you, and I hope it does, here is a trick that I devised to check how loud my headphones are to other people:
Keeping the volume at the same level it would be if you were outside, take the headphones out and hold the little speakers in your fists (don’t squeeze too tight – we’re only trying to emulate buds that sit in your ears). Hold your arms out away from you – this is what everyone around you can hear. How loud is it? What do you think of this idea?
Remember that the music you’re playing on your portable device is for you and only you, so please do us all a favour and turn down the volume while you’re in an enclosed public space, then when you’re back outside, turn it back up and keep on grooving – an easy action that makes the world a better place for us all – thank you!