Friday, December 26, 2008

Curioser



In addition to the way I'm always trying to figure out what fellow passengers are reading on the subway, I find myself now also intensely curious about what they're listening to on their ipods. What kind of music? Podcast? Digital book?

Subway culture requires us to keep the most expressionless face possible. A look of mild ennui is the proper subway facial etiquette whether reading, listening to the ipod, or just standing there. Even so, sometimes people can't help but sway rhythmically or perhaps tap a foot in time to whatever they're listening to. The fact that they can't completely restrain themselves in spite of what they know about proper subway behavior tends to make me even more curious. Enthusiasm is definitely not OK on the Metro.

Naturally I'm not allowed to question my fellow passengers directly, nor is it polite to stare intensely or get too close so as to overhear a snatch of the music.

I love to imagine that "currently playing" forehead LED readouts were de rigeur for the most well mannered subway travelers, don't you?

15 comments:

Barry said...

And here I thought I was the only one with such curiosity.

I especially hate when people are reading books with cloth covers that hides the books identifiers.

Those should be banned. Enquiring minds want to know. Need to know!

Adrianne said...

I don't take the subway much, but when I do I definitely don't conform to "subway etiquette." I have sometimes found myself turning to other passengers and saying things like, "Hey, I just heard about that book. What do you think of it?" Ah well, I never was one to fit in.

Speaking of which, I thought that I was the only person left who began "enquire" with an e. Barry, I think we may be kindred spirits. I'll have to check out your blog. (: )

ArtSparker said...

...Whereas people alone in their cars will dance enthusiastically with the upper parts of their bodies when listening to favorites, I have observed.

deborah said...

this is when being journalist trained is enormously helpful

one says, 'excuse me, i'm thinking of putting together a little piece for the New Yorker, may i ask what you have on your ipod, mp3, etc.?

i've photographed a house this way once--so much access and curiosity resolved

sometimes i write little pieces and submit them just to keep these interactions kosher

love you so much

tut-tut said...

I love these photos; two wreaths look very pretty.

Washington Cube said...

I thought about posting every book I read this year. Wonder if I can get it together enough to do that?

Val said...

im with Adrianne - i tend to talk to strangers all the time - mostly it turns out well and ends with smiles. VERY occasionally a cold shoulder.... but who cares. its fun!
you could pass them a note asking what they are listening to as with ipod attached they may not hear you :-)

Steve said...

A forehead readout would be inconvenient when we're listening to those guilty pleasures, like, oh, Barry Manilow.

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martha said...

is that your bike??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Cheryl said...

Congrats on being a blog of note. Your photos are beautiful. Such interesting perspective.

Funny about subway etiquette that is true for all over the world. Anything lacking enthusiasm sucks, but I have to say there is something very nice about not having the pressure to engage. To be anonymous. And yes, what is everyone listening to ;)

Happy New Year!

emily and teddy said...

Wow, hi Reya,i am a blog person on this website,too. those pics were pretty!If you want to see my blog,its http://thelifeofcutiepie.blogspot.com

neha said...

Goodly Maintained your blog...good..

Butterfly said...

I found this on the Blogs of Notes..I enjoyed reading this one...

Just me said...

I am an eavesdropper. I am interested in what others are reading, I am interested in what music they are listening to, but if they are having a (loud) conversation on the subway and I'm sitting next to them... I totally listen and try to figure out the context of the conversation. The other night I almost gave a woman I overheard talking at dinner about facebook at tip on wall-writing.

I also know a moderate amount of sign language- I know its rude, but when people are signing in public I have a really hard time not watching them and testing out my vocabulary recall. :-/