Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Meeting Of The Deaf And Blind

An incident happened on my bus this morning that just makes me want to get up on my soapbox for a bit. And it's my blog so I can do that.

I had maybe three passengers and was approaching a stop to pick up a fourth. The guy waiting for the bus is the only one we ever stop for at this particular location. The reason for this is that he's visually impaired—it's a safety and service thing. I've picked him up several times before. No big deal, right? Well, one passenger decided he'd take advantage of the open door closer to his apartment and step off the bus early. This too is not something I'm overly touchy about. The door's open—use it. But when I asked him to wait for the blind gentleman to board the bus, he completely ignored me. As I looked up and started to repeat myself, I realized he was deaf. And not in a physical way. He was socially deaf—ear buds in and volume cranked to 11. Of course, the blind guy starts climbing the steps, not expecting anyone else to be using this stop. Mr. Ipod stumbled aside into the very seat the other was heading for and they collided. Mr. Ipod didn't so much as excuse his rudeness, just pushed his way past and got off the bus.

Have we so anchored ourselves to our music that common courtesy, respect for other human beings, and even the art of conversation have gone the way of vinyl records and cassette tapes? I'm tired of looking back in my mirror and seeing blank stares flanked by white wires. People put those things in their heads and just zone out. The world could stop spinning and some of them wouldn't know it. I can't count how many podestrians I have to honk at in a single day just to get them to look up. Heaven forbid they look both ways before crossing a street like every schoolchild knows to do.

I have a personal sound system that I use on the bus. Several drivers have one and I affectionately refer to mine as a "wepod" because everyone can share in the musical enjoyment: it has its own external speakers. It also has a pause button. I use it every time a coworker wants to talk or a passenger has a question. Ever try talking to someone with music blaring through ear buds or phones? It usually requires two hands and some creative sign language to get them to acknowledge you (not advisable when operating a vehicle of any size).

I'm not wanting this to read like William Tell's arrow through Macintosh's corporate logo. The ipod is a technological marvel. There are other products that do essentially the same thing with personal soundtracks. Mine is not a complaint with the devices themselves. I'm fed up with the attitude that tends to go with them. However, I'm sure that if it wasn't mp3 players, it would be something else. By the way, what's with the renewed popularity of aviator and starlet sunglasses?

1 comment:

Gerald said...

I received an MP3 player for Christmas myself. Rarely listen to music, though. Instead, I download Christian radio programs or lectures from the Biblical Training Institute. I try to listen to those programs when I am alone and doing some 'mindless' task that lets me concentrate on what I'm learning. Even so, I agree with you completely. I've found that I've been rude to my wife and children while trying to listen to Alistair Begg when they wanted my attention. You think you should be able to hear over the smallish ear buds, but it takes a lot to get your attention. Anyway, I now use the MP3 player when I am alone in the car or somewhere else. Hopefully, I am not a road hazard while 'plugged in'.

Ravi Zecharias said a few years ago that the most effective way to influence someone's thinking would be to combine music with a visual media. I think he went on to say that Satan would surely use these means to influence our society away from God. Perhaps the new Ipods, etc, are just the thing Satan needs to separate us from more godly influences?