September 5, 2011

singing out loud

I've had an epiphany. A New York epiphany. It happened on one of my walks over the weekend with the dog. I almost never bring much with me on our walks beyond my keys and a poop bag. And maybe coffee. Mostly because I usually head out in, essentially, my pajamas. Yoga pants and a t-shirt. Or if it's hot, a t-shirt dress. And neither of these outfits has pockets, so what I can bring is slightly hampered. But while the kids were gone I got myself up extra early, got dressed and did some work before taking the dog out. So for once, I had pockets. And since I had pockets, I brought along my phone and plugged myself into some Pandora for my walks.
New Yorkers, young and old, walk around the city beheadphoned and ipoded up every day. The white earbuds are everywhere and there is also a strong giant-old-school-earphone contingent as well. I had always assumed that New Yorkers were just more musically inclined. I mean, everywhere else you go, you will see people plugged in and zoned out, but not like here. Here it's EVERYONE.

So there I am, walking along, listening to the Glee Cast radio (don't judge me. I love them) and suddenly, I realized why people here consider earphones an essential accessory in their daily attire. It's so you can ignore people. No, really. I know that sounds awful. But actually, it's kind of wonderful. For the first time ever, I could just walk by that weird guy who sits on his stoop and asks me everyday if my dog is a boy or a girl (if I had something more common, like a lab, I'd understand this, but in three months of daily walks, I've met two other springers, both owned by the same guy and definitely NOT living in the Columbia Student Housing vicinity). I could breeze past the Amnesty International/Planned Parenthood/Greenpeace/Charity of the week children who stalk the sidewalk and pounce on anyone who they can, launching into their spiel as your grocery bags start to leave permanent indentations in your fingers. I can even stand in my own elevator with the lady from the second floor who stares at me like I'm going to eat her children while her own little dog gnaws on my shoe and not feel that awkward silence.

It's brilliant.

But it also poses two problems for me.

First. I have young children. Most of my walking around in the city is with them in tow. And while I certainly have my share of smile and nod "um hum, that's interesting" moments (just kidding! I listen to EVERYTHING my children say. Promise. See. I'm listening now. Lego, Lego, Pillow Pets, Lego, Fort, Dragon, My Little Pony, Evie-pushed-me-Briton-wont-share, AHHH MY EARS ARE BURNING, GIVE ME MY EARPHONES!) Ahem. While I perhaps don't always listen to every word they say as we walk, pulling them along with earphones in might seem a bit...neglectful. So unfortunately, I have to resort to finding whatever my children are saying vastly interesting whenever I need to just not talk to someone who wants badly to convince me to sell my gold jewelry.

The second problem is that I have the burning desire to sing along.

I know. Pathetic.

But you see, for what is basically now a decade, I have been with my children all the time. During this era, the ipod has become as common as shoes, so people without children have learned how to comport themselves while listening to music out in public that only they can hear. I, however, never had an ipod. My iphone is really my first encounter with this. The closest thing I ever had was a Walkman, a few mix tapes and the recorded books version of Emma (I told you! Don't judge. Muuuummm, Mr. Knightly....)

This lack of practice combined with some lingering feelings about musical theatre from my high school days means that when I do, occasionally, wander out into public with music bopping along in my ears, I have to try really hard not to burst out into song. You can probably understand now why I love Glee so much. Them's my people.

A few weeks ago I saw a guy walking down the street singing at the top of his lungs. At first I though "weirdo" and then, when he yelled "Yep! I'm SINGING OUT LOUD!" I though "Run away, major weirdo!" But now, I totally get it. Sometimes the some is just too good not to sing out loud.

Am I alone here on this? Anyone else suffer from a "I really want to sing to this, no, no, must be normal" problem when they listen to their ipod?