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"Oh, you're talking to me?” I came to this realization after a man asked me for directions for the third time. I was ignoring him because he had wireless AirPods jutting from his ears. A stat, which I just made up, notes that 98.7% of people you encounter on NYC streets who are talking while wearing AirPods aren’t speaking to you.
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I remember a time when I was unnerved by how many people all over the city suddenly had AirPods. The wee, omnipresent devices seem like yet another sign that we are living in a dystopia. But now I’m up to speed: I cut the cord and purchased a pair for myself. (And over these crystal-clear beats, how could I hear my own inner misgivings?)
After a year as a bona fide pod person, I’ve learned that AirPods can be as stressful for the wearer as for those who encounter them in the wild. I now avoid walking over subway grates as if a jostle will dislodge a pod and they’ll tumble into the abyss like Game of Thrones’ Lysa through the moon door. I once used to run joyously over the metal bridges in East River Park, but now my fear forces me to remain along the concrete paths near the grass. AirPods have turned us all into women wearing heels—sticking to safe and solid ground.
This afternoon I had a tough decision to make: on the left of the sidewalk was a person with a clipboard, eager to get “just a few minutes” from me and, on the right, a subway grate. I chose the lefter of both evils and pretended I was on a phone call as I passed the causehead.