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What would you do in this situation?


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There was a fascinating story in the NY Times a few days ago about the writer's experience with other people's loud headphones on the subway. I would be interested to know what YOU would do if you were in the writer's situation. Would you confront the teenagers? Would it depend on how many people were in the car or where you were going?

 

Complaint Box: iPod Volume

By Ray Rivera

My wife and I were on a crowded 1 train last year when a young red-haired woman turned to the woman seated next to her, who was playing her iPod way too loud.

 

“Hey, mind if I listen?” the redhead said, and without waiting for a response, plucked the woman’s left earbud, placed it in her own ear, and began bobbing her head to the music. The iPod owner looked mortified. The car grew silent save for the blare. I looked at my wife, who had heard me rant about this so many times, she knew exactly what I was thinking: At last, someone was taking a stand.

 

Of all the daily discourtesies we endure as city dwellers, none to me is more irksome than headphone leak. You know, that treble-drenched drone emanating from iPods halfway down the subway car. What puzzles me is why people do not complain more often, why we don’t rise up in numbers and insist these people turn their music down, or else. Where is Howard Beale when we need him?

 

Finally here was this glimmer of hope, a young woman who in her own peculiar way was shouting, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore.”

 

Alas, the long-awaited revolt turned out to be nothing more than an incredibly awkward pass. We knew this when the redhead breathily announced, “We like exactly the same artists,” as she followed Ms. iPod off the subway.

 

I say all this by way of preface because, a few months later, I made my own stand.

 

It was late on a Thursday night after a long day of work. I got on an uptown A at 42nd Street, already annoyed because the train was running late.

 

I sat down in the first car, empty but for about half a dozen people, including, of course, two teenagers blasting iPods. Each was playing different music, and the overflow collided in a discordant shrill that flooded every cubic inch of the car like a swarm of angry mosquitoes.

 

I sat two seats away and pulled out my crossword puzzle for the half-hour ride to Inwood. But those mosquitoes. … I gave the boys a stern look to telegraph my annoyance. They ignored me. Finally, I said, “Excuse me,” tapped my index finger to my earlobe, pointed to their headphones, and pantomimed, “Can you turn it down, please?”

 

“Go sit somewhere else,” one of the boys said.

 

“You can hear it through the whole car,” I said. Nothing.

 

Normally a resolute coward when it comes to subway confrontations, I summoned my inner Howard Beale. I inched closer and began reading aloud from the newspaper. And I mean aloud.

 

“Voyage of a girl moored in Brooklyn,” I read. “For Berlin, a modern makeover,” I continued, sounding a bit, I thought, like John Houseman in “The Paper Chase,” only louder. The stories went on, past 125th Street, past 135th. At 145th, the boy farther from me exited the train, muttering something under his breath. The other stayed, and seemed to hunker down.

 

I kept on: “HBO apologizes for a ‘Big Love’ episode.” The train was nearing its final stop. My voice was growing raw. I glanced up to survey the other riders: Were they secretly with me, or did they think me just another subway crazy? 181st Street. Three stops left.

 

“Hold on, hold on,” the boy finally said. I paused and noticed that his music had gone quiet. Had I won? Had I struck a blow for the volume-conscious everywhere?

 

“It’s between songs,” the boy said. Waving his index finger like a baton, he cued me when the music resumed: “Please,” he said, “continue.”

 

Ray Rivera is a reporter at The Times. His iPod contains a mix of Hank Williams, Ella Fitzgerald, Digable Planets, AC/DC, early rap and classical.

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bunch of yuppie whiners, don't like it? well take a cab. While I don't cause this problem since I have in-ear canal headphones that go into my ear canals and block all outside noise, I would have told this guy to STFU.

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It really is annoying. I DON'T have canalphones, and if people blast their music and I can hear it it irks me, especially since it's only 6:30 in the morning on the way to school. But, what am I going to do? It's their ears that are going to blow out eventually, not mine.

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bunch of yuppie whiners, don't like it? well take a cab. While I don't cause this problem since I have in-ear canal headphones that go into my ear canals and block all outside noise, I would have told this guy to STFU.

 

Actually if the article writer had met a police officer onboard the Ipod listener would be holding a quality of life summons. The earphone ( headphone ) wearer is not supposed to produce any audible noise which can affect the other riders in a negative way. The threshold, according to the officers I've spoken to, is if others in the car can hear your music then it's too loud. There are others who let you go and laugh saying that they "hope you go deaf "soon however a passenger complaint will usually be taken care of. It's called an "easy" summons.

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Actually if the article writer had met a police officer onboard the Ipod listener would be holding a quality of life summons. The earphone ( headphone ) wearer is not supposed to produce any audible noise which can affect the other riders in a negative way. The threshold, according to the officers I've spoken to, is if others in the car can hear your music then it's too loud. There are others who let you go and laugh saying that they "hope you go deaf "soon however a passenger complaint will usually be taken care of. It's called an "easy" summons.

in the MTA rules & regulation book, it says a employee can eject a passenger for being annoying, would something like this fall into that category if an employee wished to do so? seems like that "annoying" part is open to interpretation.

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Reminds me of when I used to take the A train to Rockaway beach, all the hoodlum fools would be on the train blasting their cRAP music and not a cop to be seen telling them to turn it off. I take the Q53 for now on, its not as bad if you catch it at the right time.

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For all who complain about ipods, come on, seriously, grow up! It's the subway the train is waaaaayyyyy louder than the music. I have Sony Canal headphones that eliminate noise as well. never a complaint and I never have to play it that loud because the headphones give better sound at lower volume anyway. If Apple would give better headphones instead of those cheap ones that everyone can hear well, the noise wouldn't be the issue. However, I'm sure the whiny, crabby, wimps on the train that have nothing better to do than complain about minute things will still be around whining... Can't make everyone happy.

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