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Marking My Territory

Outcast Hikers


243 Earbuds 2010-06-18


Riding along the greenway at a moderate speed, I call out to two walkers, "on your left."

They don't seem to be listening and, in fact, they seem to be moving further to the left. Their heads are bobbing and they are swaying back and forth.

I repeat my passing signal, but they are oblivious.

I slow even more and try to pass without an accident.

The walker on the left JUMPS. Oops, I scared him. Sorry.

Everyone (at least in Nashville, it seems) owns a mp3 player. The small players and ear phones have revolutionized the music and other media content industries. The digital media is truly portable and personal.

In the gym, the players are king. The itunes store is filled with playlists of workout mixes enough to fit anyones tastes. Plug in the earbuds and the hours of workout boredom are almost bareable with motivating music.

Somehow, though, the music has left the gym and crept outdoors. Walkers wear earbuds. Cyclists wear earbuds. Runners wear earbuds. Hikers wear earbuds. Mount Everest climbers wear earbuds. Does everyone wear earbuds? Well, maybe not everyone... Because, I don't.

I can't.

I want to hear. I enjoy being part of my surroundings. In the city, I want to hear the birds chirping, the cars zooming, kids playing, and the dogs barking. I want to hear the bicycles before they pass me and the quickly moving cars as they approach the intersection. On the trail, I want to hear the creeks tumbling, the trees swaying, the small animals searching for food. I want to hear the bear from a distance and the sounds of the threatening storms fury.

It is not about ME, isolating myself in my own little world. Instead it is about me as I experience the big, big, WORLD. I want to increase my awareness of my surroundings not be separated from them.

So if you are a wearer, someone who has to have the earbuds while outside, then please keep the volume down. We will gladly welcome you back into the world.

Happy bud-less trails.


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