Saturday, January 15, 2011

It's the end of the world as we know it

I was on the Red Line yesterday, finishing up a very nice day spent walking into Washington DC from the Maryland suburbs and then visiting the museum of American Art and the American History Museum. Because it was a day ending in the letter "y," the trains were running painfully slowly, sharing tracks, etc. etc. ETC.

So after almost 15 minutes of waiting on a cold platform, the train shows up. It's crowded, but I've seen worse. I get aboard and I find a place to stand (I never sit on the train, ever. Maybe it's a phobia. Maybe it's because I think I'll fall asleep and miss my stop. Maybe I just like to burn calories when I can.)

A guy standing five feet from me is listening to an I-Pod, using those stupid earbuds which I think were created to make it easier for the people around you to detect your taste in music, and to enjoy it (or not) along with you. He might as well have been using no headphones at all. I walked to the other end of the car to get away from the "music," and instead spent the rest of the 12-minute ride listening to a 13-year old kid carry on a conversation with someone on his cell phone and trying to stuff the term "motherfucker" into each sentence as many times as possible. (Children are our future, but there are some glaringly obvious exceptions to the rule.)

Where am I going with all this? Oh yeah- this commercial. Please tell me what kind of OBNOXIOUS, SELFISH ASSHAT needs a phone with SURROUND SOUND?? Hey AT&T- despite your best efforts, some of us are STILL TRYING TO LIVE IN A SOCIETY HERE!!! I know that in all these "connectivity" commercials, headphones are a no-no, as you and your ilk attempt to create a world in which wall-to-wall noise is the norm (along with the complete banishing of the concept of privacy and personal space) but a CELL PHONE WITH SURROUND SOUND??

Why do you hate us so much, AT&T? Is this about that government-ordered breakup forty years ago? Because believe me, if it were possible, there are some of us who would gladly go back in time and warn the government to keep it's hands off of Ma Bell. After all, back in the evil days of the Phone Monopoly, all we had to deal with was huge, heavy, clunky, ugly phones and overpriced, poor service. These pale in comparison to the evils inflicted upon us by the Pandora's Box of Competition- video cameras, internet connectivity, and the creation of a generation of brain-dead half-wits who simply cannot function without their electronic best friends. But at least until now, the dwindling number of us people who are Just Trying To Have a Society Here could just shake our heads and ignore these dim bulbs (at least, when they weren't cutting us off in traffic or carrying on conversations everywhere and anywhere, "Ruling the Air," as it were.)

It's only a matter of time now before we have people and their competing Personal Stereo Systems blasting us out of trains, libraries, bookstores, parks, theaters, etc thanks to this amazing new breakthrough in Surround Sound Technology. Thanks a lot, AT&T, for making me nostalgic for the days of Annoying Ring Tones.

PS- you're going to burn in hell for this, you know. Hope the memory of having lots of money during that eyeblink you were on Earth makes the eternity of pain and suffering worth it.


  1. I was born deaf in one ear. I have never heard anything "in stereo" or in "surround sound".

    Sometimes, I think I'm missing out on something- I mean, why else would these ads shove the very concept down our collective throats?

    And then you point out the noise from those earbuds and I realize I am missing out on something and for once, I'm kinda glad I was born deaf in one ear.

    I don't have AT&T, but I eagerly await my next cell phone purchase to see if they offer me something with surround sound as a feature.

  2. There have been many times in my life when I wished I could not hear as well as I do. That longing for some peace and quiet has become stronger in recent years, as the ability of people to carry around noise has become almost a pandemic.