If you could know one thing about everyone you passed or encountered during your daily goings on, what would you wish to know? If one piece of information became available to you about everyone on the street, like an unintentional confession printed in mid-air above each person’s head, what truth would you be privileged to read? And what would you give up to acquire this knowledge?
My allowance would be specifically aimed at people with iPods – portable media players, smart phones, all those music-playing devices that people plug their heads into. I want to know what each person is listening to at any given moment. I want to know for the same reason that will probably disappoint me: where is all the expression? What isn’t provoking all of these people to laugh aloud, sob uncontrollably, and generally move their bodies in eccentric and pleasurable ways? Not all of these people – and really not even any but a few – can be listening to relentless ambient noise that petrifies their bodies into a mannequin-like physical condition. Perhaps they are moved to sturdiness! They are strong and unshakeable! I don’t believe that. What is really going on inside those ears?
What would I give for this information? What is it worth? Maybe an old stamp collection. No television for a month. Not much. I’m constantly curious, but I’m afraid I’d just find it sad. And really…if I want to know I should just ask.