Last week while watching the new Google Glass gaming ad, I had a frightening premonition. I could see myself on a train sitting next to a person caught in a gaming trance: the state where your thumbs are pounding away on a keyboard and you’re swaying rapidly from side to side. The eyes are rapidly twitching, and they’re whispering excited words of encouragement to their avatar — except I can’t see this game. I’m denied the pleasure of watching you play, and guess what? Your avatar can’t hear you, but I can.
The increasing use of mobile devices has lead to the decrease in commuter courtesy. There have been many an occasion where I have been tempted to sing along with the guy sitting beside me because his ear buds are leaking, or even worse the girl in front of me is pretending to be Rihanna in the mirror behind me while trying to out-sing the performer down the aisle. I’ve even noticed commuters buried in their Nooks while pretending not to see the pregnant or disabled person who just entered the train, or being too absorbed to notice.
Most of those scenarios are all but lost causes at this point, but there is something you can do as a consumer of audio-based electronics. Purchase headphones, please. This may seem incredible obvious, but there are a lot of people using their devices without them. Maybe it’s those subway ads warning against ear damage, but it’s only a reminder to turn the volume down, not to stop using them completely. Here is something you can do: If you prefer ear buds, try pairing them with muffs, especially in winter. They’ll keep in the sound and keep your ears warm. I personally prefer over-the-ear headphones. Yes, they can be cumbersome, but they look cool; they’ll keep your ears warm; and you’ll never lose them in your bag.
Anna Gray is a TWICE editorial intern.