Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Turn on, tune in and cop out...

Something very irritating happened to me on Friday morning. After crawling out of bed I made myself pull on my joggers and head out with my iPod and water bottle.  Yes, I was going for a run.  I started off with a fast walk to warm up before putting in my headphones and pressing play.
The battery was dead.
I almost groaned out loud.  For a moment I contemplated turning back to grab my phone for entertainment instead, but knew that if I went back into my flat, the lure of my duvet might just win over my good intentions.  I made the decision to run sans music and kept going.
It turned out to be quite an enjoyable experience.  I headed to the park where autumn was in full swing.  The wind was rustling crisp leaves, birds were chattering away about their imminent departure to warmer climes (well, that’s what I like to think anyway) and children were laughing as they played in the last of the summer sun.  And, although it was not my longest run, being able to hear my own breathing was actually very helpful – and the order to “speed up” by a passing OAP mildly motivating.  So, as I headed home, I made a decision: for the next four days, I was going to go about my London life headphone-free. 
It was a revelation.
I shall start with the tube.  Notoriously overcrowded and renowned for moving millions of people from A to B every year, you would think it would be a good place to eaves drop.  Sadly not.  There’s something about the tube that makes everyone shut up.  I think this is down to two things.  One, the absence of mobile signal (it would appear Londoners are better at talking to people over the phone than in person), and two, the noise of the train roaring through tunnels being too much competition for even the gobbiest gossip.
The buses, however, were a completely different ballgame.  When on our mobiles, we Londoners don’t half talk shit – and we don’t mind who hears us either.  I spent a (mercilessly) short bus ride from Holloway to Highgate being subjected to one woman’s story about an argument she had just had with a neighbour over and over again as she called every number stored on her sim card.  And , later that day, I caught another bus at about 3.15 – just in time for the school kid rush.  This was not pleasant, and, without the anaesthetic powers of my music, reading became an impossible task.  By the time I got to Moorgate I was sorely missing my tunes.
So, do I recommend foregoing your iPod when you head out into the big bad world?  No.  But then, don’t plug in by default.  Listen to the world around you.  Who knows, you might hear something you like, something that makes you laugh, even think.  And, if you don’t?  Well, turn on, tune in and cop out...  

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