Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The trouble with my iPod


Twice a week, usually, I get the bus into work instead of driving. And then I walk home; my gesture towards the environment and fitness. It’s a distance of about three miles and I vary my route so that I don’t get particularly bored (lots of people’s front windows to look into). However, sometimes I remember to bring along further entertainment in the form of my iPod. My taste in music is almost exclusively classical and I often listen to the piece my choir is currently learning, to fix it into my head. I try not to sing as I walk (mad old lady in trainers and with rucksack, carolling as she marches).

Our students are keen iPod wearers. Whenever I see a lone student in the lifts or making for the bus stop, he/she is invariably plugged in. The music isn’t precisely audible but there’s what Garrison Keillor describes as “the sound of distant chainsaws” emitting from their headphones. Luckily I won’t be around when this generation suffers from the deafness that I’m sure they’re inflicting on themselves - lots of old people going “You’re mumbling!” and fiddling with their hearing aids. (Then they’ll be sorry.)

And possibly I will too, especially as a result of listening to our choir’s current piece, “Carmina Burana”. I’m not a natural with technology, and find that walking, plugging in earphones (L in the left ear, R in the right) and getting the device to work - simultaneously - is a bit too much multi-tasking for me. But I’m always in a tearing hurry to get home – having stayed too long at work – so I set out briskly, fiddling with the controls as I forge through groups of ambling young people.

I don’t know if you know “Carmina Burana” but it starts VERY LOUDLY, with the words “OHHHH FORTUNAAAAAAAA!!!”. And no matter how much I think I’ve turned the volume down before it begins – it’s never down enough. I shoot into the air like a startled cat – AARRGGHH - and my ears fly off my head, landing in little pink shattered pieces on the grass. Or so it feels.

By the time I’ve adjusted the controls and my heart’s returned to a normal rate, I’ve reached the road. Now the traffic is roaring and the choir has moved on to a quiet bit, currently inaudible to me. I have my iPod on a string round my neck (which is probably not a cool look) so that I don’t drop it, so I stuff it inside my jacket to stop it swinging around as I walk. But this means that whenever I want to adjust the volume – which is all the time – I have to fish in an unladylike fashion down my front. The timing of this particular piece ensures that by the time the singing is forte again, I’ve reached the next quiet bit of my walk and have to readjust it once more. And so it continues.

Maybe this is the reason why today’s popular music – I use this vague term because I don’t know the differences between garage and rock and dance and so on – is all loud. Yes, it’s deafening. But at least it’s consistently deafening and you don’t have to feel in your clothing to adjust it.

24 comments:

Rattling On said...

For your volume problem check out something like this http://www.argos.co.uk/static/Product/partNumber/9004447.htm

I love Carmina Burana, by the way!!

fifi said...

That is very funny.
Biut I thought it was a church choir?
How I would love to be in a choir and sing Carmina Burana! Excellent.



I cannot even cope iwth an ipod at all. It would vex me to have my ears blocked so. I would hate it.

fifi said...

had no idea this was a religious piece. So now I am a very public idiot.... :-)

jkhenson said...

Always leaving me smiling. I enjoy my ipod, as well, and not loudly, but have the same volume issue while I am running! Not in my front, you see, but traffic sounds. :) Always good to read a post of yours. Hope all is well.

patty said...

one of my favorite pieces of music

dianne said...

you're so very brave - i burst into song when i'm walking down the aisle at the grocery store; i can't imagine what embarrassment i'd be capable of if i had on earbuds that were playing my own music

Molly said...

Make that "mad, daft and utterly hilarious, lady in trainers with rucksack, peeking in windows and carolling as she marches!" Laughed 'til I cried!

Molly said...

As for Camina Burana, I always thought it more "music to be seduced by" than church fare!

Kerri said...

You have a natural ability to find humour in the ordinary everyday events of life, and then put it into words that bring a smile to our lips :) (see?).
I listen to the practice CD of our community choir's latest concert as I'm driving...mostly to work and back. Luckily there's only one traffic light and I try to remember to stop singing as I sit and wait for the light to change. We've just begun working on our Easter concert.
Thanks for the smiles :)
I'm glad you got some gardening done and I love your primroses and hyacinths. Spring will be here before too long, and yes those "poor" Australians will have to suffer through their mild, short winter. Ah, for an Aussie winter!

Kerri said...

P.S. Quite a lot of our NY summer is very similar to Aussie winter weather.

persiflage said...

...Velut luna, statu variabilis.
I have just done my bus trips sporting my iPod, with the Rossini my choir has just stsarted learning, which has two very difficult fugues (it says so on the CD notes). I put my iPod in a little leather bag which I hang around my neck, and have trouble disentangling the headphones from the cord around my neck.
I hope all those mad loud music lovers do go deaf, it would serve them right for having no taste or consideration for others, but then they will turn up their music even louder, so we will still all suffer.
I have always loved performing Carmina Burana. It is very secular, and a fabulous piece.

Rosemary Riveter said...

This very evening I was playing the same volume game with my car stereo, the CD starts very quiet, while I'm accelerating onto the freeway (loud vrooming), so I cranked up the volume, but as soon as I settled into a nice 70mph cruise, which quiets the engine, the song KICKS IN (this particular CD starts with a round, it suddenly goes from 2-3 rounds to everyone at once!), then when I get off the freeway and cruise it's back to a quiet bit.

You have given me an idea to get a CD of Handel's Messiah to listen as I drive, my family went to a Sing-a-long chorus performance in Los Angeles this past Christmas, and we all intend to do it again. I need to practice my soprano!

Jane said...

Daughter kindly gave me her old iPod when she was given a state of the art one with video -thus ensuring that the younger generation will be deaf from excess volume and blind from squinting at tiny screens. It was a kind thought as she imagined I could fill it with audio books to counter the fact that husband has classical music on all day, mostly Bach and earlier and especialy harpsichord, but the headphones drive me mad - I must have abnormally small openings to my ears as no headphones seem to fit. The alternative is to wear earcovering headphones. and go around the house looking like one of the cybermen.
Carmina Burana would be great to sing, have fun!

Thimbleanna said...

You're so funny Isabelle -- and I suppose you always have to go fishing down your front, just as you're passing a man???

Marcheline said...

If you notice your cat coming around every time you play that song, it's because he thinks she's saying

"OHHH, FOR TUNA!!!!"

Loth said...

Drat! Marcheline got there first!

Marcheline said...

Actually, I got here fifteenth... and was shocked that nobody said that before I did! 8-)

Isabelle said...

Well, I'd never thought of that so I laughed a lot!

Warty Mammal said...

You gave me a good chuckle.

I'm not too fond of the little earbuds which come with the iPods. Maybe if I found an alternative I could have my own out-of-body experience when volumes changed dramatically.

Puss-in-Boots said...

Hello Isabelle. Thank you very much for visiting and leaving a comment.

I did laugh at your post regarding iPods. However, you're more "switched on" than I am...I refuse to own an iPod. I have my stereo, the radio alarm clock and the car radio for the one hour drive to work and back, which I'm doing at the moment.

I bought a mobile very reluctantly, but I have been very glad to have had one the couple of times I had car trouble. Of course, there is also my computer which I've just updated. I feel I'm technologically advanced enough. iPods? No, I don't think so...too much 21st century for me. Lol!

Stomper Girl said...

That gave me an excellently good laugh. I could see you in my mind's eye jumping out of your skin!

elizabethm said...

Loved this! I am still holding off from having an ipod because I am hardly the world's most musical person. I just like some random stuff, a lot.
This would so clearly be me though.

Fairlie said...

I read an interesting piece this week about the necessity for silence in our lives...and how the 'younger' generation are lacking in that silent time, as they fill any silence with music on iPods. It will be interesting to see how/whether this affects them in future years.

It's a great mental image of you walking home!

Ali Honey said...

Exactly what is the cat's preferred listening?