08 February, 2008

Music Madness

I was, i confess, disgusted at work recently. Doesn't happen a lot; i'm usually pretty tolerant of the foibles and eccentricities of customers ~ and, trust me, some of them have foibles! This time, though, what i saw was a bit over the top.

There were two young mothers in the shop; i say young mothers, but if they hadn't been pushing prams i'd have called them girls: Neither of them can have been far into her twenties, if at all, both were dressed in typical “girl-clothes” rather than “mum-clothes”. The key point, however, the thing that so greatly surprised me, was that each of the girls had some kind of an MP3-player sitting near their babies, playing music, loudly enough to be heard from some feet away.

Now so far, you might think, this is just the story of two exceptionally rude youngsters, not terribly unusual i fear, who needed their music with no regard to politeness or thought for fellow customers (for they weren't alone in the shop). There is more, though, which makes the story, to my mind, just a bit stranger.

First, their music was particularly tinny sounding, evidently being played through a speaker that really wasn't designed for music, but probably for voice, while being held close to the ear ~ a mobile 'phone, in other words ~ and, as such, it wasn't doing the music any favours at all.

Second and, perhaps, even stranger, we have music playing at all times in the shop. Not Muzak; not classical stuff; not even old-time pop. GPHQ central office sends out CDs to be played, with relatively new, modern music, of a variety of popular genres. So, apparently, it was so important to these two girls that they keep hearing their own music that they were willing to put up with it in competition with two other music sources, and played in poor quality. Now, perhaps it is my age speaking, but i don't understand that, i confess.

Nor do i understand, and this is the part that i really found distasteful, the attitude that said that their own pleasure was so important that they were willing to subject everyone else in the shop ~ including each other, their friendship notwithstanding ~ to their ridiculous behaviour. I know that technology today is working quite hard at reducing us from people in relationship with our surroundings to individuals out of contact with all around, by mobile 'phones, by music players, by laptops, all of which say, “I am too involved in myself to have any relationship with you” ~ and say it far more effectively than a book or even a newspaper held up to the face can. I know it, i say, but i don't understand it, and nor do i, most assuredly, approve of it; we people only in relationships, denying them we lessen ourselves. Thus, though what they did was completely tasteless, in the end i am sorry for those two young mothers, because they are the sufferers for their own behaviour.

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