Plugged in and Tuned out

Almost everyone on Bart is plugged into some type of mobile device – phones  and tablets of every brand. I’ve seen gray-haired grandmothers, white wires sprouting from their ears, tediously pecking away at a tiny touchscreen. Headphones are also popular; large, padded, colorful ear muffs that provide good sound and attract attention, so outlandish they make me laugh sometimes. My favorite were the headphones designed to look like Micky Mouse – great for a kid, but a middle-aged man was sporting them. And bopping his head to the music!

Paying attention to the variety of devices on your daily Bart is as good as a trip to Best Buy! An up-close look at how the device looks, operates, and in some cases, sounds. NOTE TO SITTERS: Standers can easily read your emails and text, and can watch your videos and photos over your shoulder!

Sure, those headphones and earbuds pour music and video and sound effects into your ears, but at what expense? You’ve tuned into the virtual world, but tuned out from the physical Bart world. Personally, I want to hear what the conductor says on the loud speaker, what the person next to me is asking, what the precocious child two seats away is yelling. I want to be alert when the altercation occurs behind me, aware when someone is misbehaving. True, riding on Bart is LOUD so maybe some folks feel justified in plugging up their ears. I find it impossible to have a phone conversation, but each day I’m surround by folks on the phone, speaking loudly enough to be heard by everyone on the train. Very entertaining!

I don’t listen to anything on the train except the roaring wheels on the tracks, the screech of the occasional brake, the voices of my fellow passengers. I feel like I’d be missing so much if I didn’t.

Hang on to your device!

Anyone who’s ridden the train or Muni for very long has either seen a theft or heard about one. Those shiny new mobile devices are easy pickin’s for a thief with sticky fingers. Especially vulnerable are riders who sit near the door, enabling an easy getaway for the thief and his/her new toy! Think about it: You’re deep into your favorite author’s new novel on ibooks, holding your brand new iphone aloft in one hand as you flip through the pages. The train comes to a stop. Whoosh – the phone is suddenly gone, the earbuds ripped from your ears, and a blur is all you see of the scumbag who just ripped you off. The doors close. The train leaves. You start to scream.

I’ve seen it happen, three times now, right before my eyes, and so I’ve learned to keep a tight grip on my phone and keep it lowered in my lap, away from easy access. After all, what self-respecting burglar could resist such offerings?

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