Last night on my way home from work my headphones for my iPhone broke, which means I have been commuting without my music and that means I’m slowly losing my mind.

Trying to navigate your daily life in New York without your music is like going to see a Wayans brothers movie – if you care about your mental health at all, you just don’t do it.

Because I don’t have my music, I get to listen to The Sounds Of The City while on the train, and believe me the sounds are not pretty.

Anyone who doesn’t live in the city, imagine for just one minute that when you climbed into your car to go to and from work, it was jam packed with complete strangers, some of whom have less respect for deodorant than you do.  

That is what life in New York is like.  

Every second of my life I am surrounded by strangers, no matter where I am, no matter what I’m doing – there is always someone else right next to me.

That’s why I’m not friendly.  That’s why I don’t say “Hello Sam!” to Sam’s dumbass every time I see him. If I tried to be friendly to every single person I came in contact with I would end up killing myself.

And that’s why having music is so vital to making it through my day.

Just last night I had to listen to one guy tell his friend or coworker or whoever-the-fuck that he lived close to the 14th street stop on the L.  And oh my was his friend jealous!  In fact, would you like to know what he said???  I bet you do!  He told his friend, “That’s sweet man.  So it only takes you about ten minutes to get to the office?  That’s so much faster than me.”  Isn’t that just great???

So now because I don’t have my fucking headphones that cost more than I can admit without you looking at me with Judging Eyes, I know that this dude who lives near 14th street also lives close to his office.

Fucking fantastic!

Of course I don’t have time to get new headphones today, so I can’t wait to hear everyone else’s conversations on my way home tonight.  Maybe one of them will be about a crazy dream someone had last night!  Or better yet, someone can talk about how their kid did in school today.  Yes. That would be just great.

People make me so fucking happy!


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61 responses to “joy

  1. Yes but sometimes you get to hear awesome conversations that people have when they think no one else is listening. And that’s half the beauty of New York.

  2. You wouldn’t last 25 seconds at a playground. People there like to share their birth stories.

    Makes you want to kill yourself.

  3. Well, you know, at least you’re not as nasty as that guy who so blatantly and cruely made fun of his friend for having a short commute.

  4. I’m a hillbilly who lives in the woods. I think I would die anyway in NY. I couldn’t possibly for one minute wrap my mind around that many people standing so close to me. I get nervous going to the grocery store!

    I’d be the Loony Betty sitting there on the train dealy with my head stuck between my knees breathing in a paper bag, cussing and quickly going insane.

  5. wishmewell

    wait wait? the 14th street stop on the L? so, all of them?

    i was sans iPod for about 4 months about a year ago. it was literally the longest quarter year of my life.

  6. Do not hang out with my hubby. We will go on walks and he will ask strangers “How are you doing?”

    I have perfected my speed walking skills because of this.

    “How are yo-hey Rachel! Where are you going?!”

  7. Caketin

    It could be worse.
    Try riding a crowded bus twice a day packed with high school students and construction workers.
    Two groups of people who have apparently no ability to control their speaking volume and no shame about discussing anything and everything in public.

  8. You’re a cranky bitch and I love it.

  9. amie

    Thought it was interesting I read this ( ) right before I came here and read your post. Guess it shows the differences between the 2 cities.

  10. deutlich

    I’d go bananas w/out my headphones.

  11. grumpy perhaps – do you need a hug?

    *ducks, cause you may hit me*

    also your title made me think of ren and stimpy. happy happy joy joy.

  12. Matt

    just put your iphone on speaker and blast it for everyone to hear.

    I’m sure they will appreciate your selections.

  13. you could always read.

  14. Forgetting or losing your iPod is the new forgetting your cell phone: you feel naked without it.

    Unless you’re actually naked, then you fit right in.

  15. come on… white chicks was funny.

  16. GO BUY HEADPHONES NOW! You won’t survive long without them.

    You are a brave man.

  17. You should still wear them on the train, even though they aren’t producing tunes. At least peeps and their judging eyes will leave ya alone!! 🙂 Good Luck!

  18. Dane’s iPhone headphones broke this morning, too!

    The gays here really, really love him and love to talk to him.

    He’s kind of reveling in it, so he’s postponing buying new ones.

  19. Ooh, just think, if the stars are aligned with your chakras and you’ve been a good boy all year then perhaps somebody next to you will go into obscene details about their sex life! It could be worse, you could be in Texass.

  20. I’m in Texass – and it really is worse than having no headphones on the subway. Trust.
    I was in New York in August and I was completely irritated by EVERYONE that got on the subway and how I had to listen to them. I am deeply sorry for your situation! This is why you need to fork over the money asap for the sake of your sanity man!!

  21. Our conversations in Portland are like this:

    “Fluffy kitties”

    “Don’t forget to recycle”

    “Go vegan or DIE!”

    It’s fun.

  22. Damn! That sucks donkey balls. And now I’m curious what kind of headphones you use. They must be the shit! Do tell!

    I’ve ridden the NYC subway so I understand you well. I’ve also been mistaken for a drug dealer a few times in NY. Why is that?

  23. So here, I would wear the headphones just to keep people from trying to make eye contact. That’s one thing I love about New York. You can stare at the floor and for the most part, be left alone, and you can go ahead and ignore people if necessary. When I take the trolley in Portland, people feel free to talk to me, no matter how hard I stare at the ground. Assholes

  24. Oh geeze, I’ve been there. I usually start crying. I’d call in sick tomorrow if I were you.

  25. nancypearlwannabe

    You could always make your own music. You know, beat box or opera or whatever. Hell, just bring a harmonica with you- then you can make money AND keep the other weirdos at bay.

  26. Oh no!
    So I take it you don’t like to people watch.

  27. So what you’re basically saying is that all those rumors about New Yorkers being cranky was just a lie.

    I thought so.

  28. inna

    I had my headphones on the subway today, but it didn’t prevent me from having to smell the homeless man DOING LUNGES just across from me…. so just be thankful

  29. k8

    Talk to yourself. Loudly if you can. Then they will shut up and listen to you instead.

  30. jay grochalski

    you could take the 3 train home from work, like i do, and hear everyone’s Sidekick blasting music when all you want to do is read.

  31. in the meantime, i think you should definitely get a boombox and carry it around on your shoulder (or in a wagon trailing behind you, etiher one) playing full blast.

  32. Somebody get this man some headphones! We’ve got a whiner on our hands!

  33. I suggest you place a PayPal tip jar in your sidebar as a way to fund new headphones/earbuds.

    Alternatively, you could submit the gems you hear to this website:

  34. arielle – That’s true.

    kristen – I just made a note that when I have kids to stay away from there. Thanks.

    aine – I’m an angel.

    duhn – There’s lots of those here.

    wishme – Yes. All of them.

    inreallife – I would divorce now.

    caketin – Ugh, that would drive me insane.

    elle – Thanks for being supportive. I appreciate it.

    amie – But I’m from Pittsburgh, so what does that mean?

    deutlich – Hell yes.

    alexa – I actually would love a hug.

    matt – I do listen to some quality jams.

    gina – Which book is it that blocks out sound again?

    arjewtino – I’m going naked on my way home.

    maxie – No!

    marie – Thank you, I like to think so.

    ss – I think I might.

    kiala – Lucky guy.

    kurves – As long as they’re hot, yes.

    renee – Texas scares me.

    melissa – That’s exactly what I imagine Portland would be like.

    akilah – I can’t tell. It’s stupid how much I paid.

    megan – Hahaha – total fucking assholes.

    stealth – You’re a smart cookie, I might have to do that.

    nancy – And a hat to put all the money in!

    hbee – No, not at all. Unless you’re talking about Kim K, then I like to watch her. Butt.

    karen – Total lie!

    inna – Lunges? Nice!

    k8 – What should I talk about?

    jay – Oh man, fucking teens.

    beth – Done and done.

    hollywood – You sound like a real doctor.

    nico – Yeah I know about that site, but I am trying to forget all the stupid shit they say, you know?

  35. What I want to know is what kind of magic headphones you’re using that block out the smell.

    Do they also stop deaf people from putting little sign language cards on your lap?

  36. My adapter broke for my car. Now I have to drive to/from work with the….radio.


  37. Red

    Then there are the homeless, and the particular trains they frequent. When I lived on 148th St (long enough ago that it was still the 1/9), we had this guy who always sang “When I Need You.” The day he switched to “I Will Survive”, I was so happy he had switched that I gave him $1. At least he could carry a tune in a bucket, though he had some gravel in his throat.

  38. Commute + no music = HELL IN A HANDBASKET.

    ‘Nuff said.

  39. Do New Yorkers hold doors open for other people to walk in right after them? Just wondering.

    Sorry your headphones broke. My ipod is broken, but at least I’m in the privacy of my own Vdubb on the way to work everyday.

  40. If my car had strangers in it I would light it on fire.

    Harsh? maybe.

  41. ML

    I understand your sentiments entirely, and I don’t even live in New York. I live in a city, but compared to NY it isn’t a city. However, public transportation without music is like you’re stuck in the middle of the ocean, don’t know how to swim, but for some reason you just. won’t. die.

  42. tia

    haha no headphones means chris has to interact with the public.

    and that’s scary.

  43. lol let’s get you some headphones…QUICK!

  44. Oh, come one…. EVERYONE has old headphones. Those that came with your walkman, or your CD player. EVERYONE.

  45. You should have told him how great that was! Talking to strangers is a great way to creep everyone else on the train out.

  46. You don’t need therapy– you have a blog!

    I like to listen to the funny/random things people say. And then blog about them! (OK, I haven’t done it recently, but I USED to!)

    Or you could just talk to people. Especially people that don’t want to talk to you, either. Be THAT guy!

    There. I helped.

  47. kez

    Oh my goodness. Public transport without your own music is like slow and painful death.
    You poor thing.

  48. LOL. I swear one of these days we’re going to makeout.

  49. But sometimes you hear crazy stuff right? And then it’s worth it. Come on it’s New York – you must hear some crazy talk!

  50. you should have asked for headphones for your birthday, all your problems could have been solved just like that, haha.

  51. That last line could be the title for this blog.

  52. Toe

    I have a big problem with breathing someone elses air. I know wierd but this is the perfect oportunity to be “that guy”. The one they give wide berth to on the train. You know, start responding to conversations that aren’t yours with “Wow that was facinating, tell me more” or “I had a wart once…….” just leave that one openended. Soon you’ll have plenty of space and can kick back in PSB. (Personal Space Bliss)

  53. Occasionally I pause my iPod when one of those crazy ranters gets on the train. Sometimes that’s really good shit.

  54. E.V

    wow! try not to go postal on the commute home. because you know, shrinks and cops and such other people tend to frown on that.

  55. And yet you read our blogs, a place where we talk about our musical tastes and latest home improvement projects. Maybe it’s easier because we aren’t sitting right there next to you. 😉

  56. Wow. I miss living in New York precisely because there were so many people! I think I stuck out like a sore thumb (and got hit on my zillions of creepsters and was always accosted by those people who are always selling you something) because I was the only one smiling with my head up walking down the street. But I like to think I would make grumpy-mc-grumpsters like you happier for the day.

    I was obviously so wrong.

  57. Good gravy I hope I don’t end up stuck next to you on the train. I like to eavesdrop to no end, but sometimes I do pop my headphones on when I just don’t want to be bothered – even if the thing isn’t even on.

    Because what’s worse than people who talk is people who want to talk to YOU.

  58. hahaha! i can relate to your rant in every way. i live just outside the city in queens, but i still have to take the subway everywhere everyday and i understand completely how it takes such a huge messy bite out of your day when you cant tune everyone out in the morning and on the way home. its even worse now, because its still. not. cold. and its fucking humid as i can only imagine the densest of jungles are in monsoon season, so body odor sticks to everything. including nose hair. it is so awful to be packed into an already full subway car only to be piled on top of other sweaty, sticky, stinky people just as pissed off as you are to be in this tiny inescapable capsule. who wants to go ANYWHERE like that?

    anyway, i’m not one to get angry unless someone gets angry at me first, so i try to mind my own business and just pretend nobody else is there. but music is the biggest help there is.

  59. It is so much more fun to eavesdrop on people’s conversations when they think you are listening to music than being forced to listen to their conversations.

  60. This blog falls into my category of “why cities are bad for society”. It’s true, as you say, you can’t be friendly to everyone because there are too damn many people. It’s easier to be apathetic. Southern hospitality is great when you only see the same 12 people every day but it breaks down when you see a different 100 people every day.

    It results in a general breakdown in people’s ability to give a crap about other people.

    That can’t be a good thing.

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