Walking away is not an option... dialogue must prevail.

"A good listener tries to understand what the other person is saying. In the end he may disagree sharply, but because he disagrees, he wants to know exactly what it is he is disagreeing with."
- Kenneth A. Wells

"I do not want the peace that passeth understanding. I want the understanding which bringeth peace."
- Helen Keller

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I was thinking...

... not on purpose. It just happened.

Early Saturday morning, the sun is out, my pre-teen child is holed up in the basement playing Wii (when I was a kid it was Atari...), and I sat down with a cup of coffee to watch a movie I’ve wanted to watch for a while and never caught from the beginning: “Definitely, Maybe”…

The opening scene then got me to thinking. You see, in this scene, as the main character steps out of his office building to walk to his daughter’s school, he talks about finding just the right song for the moment, the day, the walk…

It’s not the song that got me thinking, or even the sentiment.

It’s the MP3 player he had in his hand, the buds in his ears.

While technology is cool, and it has made it possible for someone in the Szechuan province of China to control your house lights via the internet





While it brings a wolf from Washington State into my life and turns him into my bro… Technology can also isolate us. Cut us off from shared human experience.

Huh?

Well, in a way, the MP3 player cuts us off from the world.

You see, I’m a child of the 80s. I remember boom boxes. I remember walking down a street and discovering a new song because some cute guy was blaring it for all to hear. It started conversations, caused people to break out and dance, or at least tap their feet and bob their heads.

Without the boom box, Lloyd Dobler wouldn’t have had that magical moment… and Starrlight and I, along with millions of other girls and women wouldn’t have that sigh-worthy moment.

Don't get me wrong. I have an iPod and I love it. Easy access to music, random mixes that go from Van Morrison, to David Gray, to Led Zeppelin, to Peter Gabriel, to The Smiths, to Flogging Moly and so on...

But...

Do you miss walking down a city street and hearing an eclectic mix of music not of your design? Do you miss having someone walk by with a boom box blaring and feeling the bass line vibrate in your chest? Do you miss having a song stick in your head until the next boombox feeds you?

I do. The boom box... it was like getting a mix tape.

10 comments:

Desert Songbird said...

Well, I do and I don't miss boom boxes. I mean, cars today with kids blasting what they think passes for music is like a boom box on wheels, and most of the stuff that airs is not fit for public consumption. On the other hand, I miss the boom box itself. It was, as you said, a social tool. It was a social networking tool that we used to stir up an instant party. They were an essential part of a day at the beach or in the park. They were a must for a barbecue, they reigned supreme in our living rooms, especially if we didn't own a full blown stereo. They were what everyone needed and wanted.

I still have mine. Two of them, in fact. And you can't make me get rid of them. No way. I love my iPod touch, but my boxes are prized.

Brian o vretanos said...

I don't remember this particular trend - maybe it was a North American thing.

No doubt if they did that sort of thing today the music industry would be suing them for unlicensed public performance of copyrighted material...

It's quite nice when there are buskers in the town cetnre, but they don't seem to be out that often.

Charles Gramlich said...

Actually, no I don't think so. I don't often like other folks' taste in music so I'd rather have it be quiet!

MilesPerHour said...

I can't say that I do, other than being able to listen to the college football game while shooting baskets at the playground.

Anndi said...

Songbird, somehow I knew you'd feel the same way ;)

Brian, I do think it was a North American thing indeed. This copyright thing has gotten WAY out of control.
I too love buskers but we sadly only get them during the summer months in a very specific area.

Charles, not even some good old Metal?

MPH, most excellent use of the boom box. Did you ever bust a move on the courts?

Travis said...

The Wolf from Washington State thanks you for the shout and the sentiment.

I sorta miss boom boxes. What I don't miss is having to make all those mix tapes and spending a fortune in batteries.

Nice accidental think today!

Gary Rith Pottery Blog said...

no, I don't miss boom boxes, but I wish that people crossing streets etc with ear buds would still look both ways before walking in front of my car!

Akelamalu said...

I'd rather have a boom box than the tinny crackle you get from listening to someone else's ipod. :)

Stewart Sternberg said...

Interesting posting. I've been thinking a good deal about technology, mostly from an educational standpoint, and at times I am troubled. I think there are some effects that have not yet manifested themselves and some trends which will only be clear in a few years. However, as parents and as a society, we would do well to give some consideration to the downside of the internet, besides being crippled as a people by a hacker attack.

Anndi said...

Travis, I bet your mix tapes were killer.
And, thanks :)

Gary, that's trouble to be sure...

Akelamalu, that IS highly annoying.

Stewart, we have to be careful in cursing the tool because the ape can't use it properly.